7 Things You Can Do to Survive a Crisis

MegStewart

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Disasters and emergencies are unpredictable. The fact we often have little to no warning is one of the things that makes a crisis so devastating.

Within hours and sometimes minutes or seconds, your life can be turned upside down, sometimes in life-altering ways.

When you’re caught up in the midst of a crisis, part of the panic and trauma comes from not knowing what to do.

This is especially true for those who haven’t done any preparation or planning for disasters and emergencies.

Preparation won’t always stop an event or disaster or protect you from all its consequences, but it can often help you think more clearly, make better decisions, and sometimes even save lives.

But experts seem to agree on these 7 things to do in a disaster or crisis.

#1. Stay Calm

It seems like a simple thing. But one of the biggest things that can make a crisis worse is panic.

It’s completely natural to panic, because it’s an instinctual reaction, that flight or fight feeling is biological. With practice, you can learn to temper the flight or fight reaction and stay calm.

Explore techniques now to help you keep a clear head. Your time to react when something goes wrong could mean minutes or seconds.

That initial window of time immediately after something occurs that can give you the advantage and often change the outcome of the situation.

One of the biggest things that can contribute to your ability to stay calm is to prepare for the unexpected.

If you know you are prepared, if you’ve practiced what to do in an emergency, you will have less fear and will be able to stave off the panic that can be so harmful during a disaster or emergency.

#2. Take the Situation Seriously

When something out of the ordinary occurs, take the situation seriously.

A natural reaction for many people upon hearing news announcements or weather reports that warn of danger, is to wait and see what happens next.

The tendency to “wait and see” when alerted to weather related disasters is a big factor for people who decide to stay put when others are evacuating in the face of potential danger.

Don’t underestimate the danger. Resist the urge to tell yourself “it’s not that bad yet”.

Weather related disasters and emergencies often come with a prediction or alert.

It also places emergency personnel in unnecessary danger if they have to come in to rescue you in the midst of a hurricane, flood, or other disaster.

Be prepared to respond and do so quickly. It’s better to be a bit inconvenienced and be safe than to be sorry.

#3. Call for Medical Help, Don't Move Injured Person

If you’re in the aftermath of an emergency or disaster, your first instinct may be to get the injured person to help.

But many experts agree, the best course of action is to call for trained professionals before moving an injured person.

The only exception to this is if leaving them in place will certainly mean additional injury.

In a car accident, for example, leave the injured person in their car, call for help, and stay with them until it arrives.

However, if the car is on fire or filling with water, moving the person quickly may be necessary to prevent further harm.

#4. Call for Help When Someone is Drowning

No matter how well you swim or how confident you are that you can reach someone who is drowning, experts agree, the best course of action is to call for help.

Our first instinct, especially for parents, will be to swim out to save our child or loved one who is in trouble.

But drowning people go into survival mode.

Without rescue training to combat their movements, a drowning person can knock you unconscious or push you under the water during their panic.

Definitely throw a life preserver, rope, or other object to them to hang onto until help arrives.

Resist the urge to swim out to them and chances of survival increase for both of you.

#5. Take Immediate Action

When you find yourself in a dangerous situation, such as a break-in or attack, a natural instinct for many people is to freeze up.

Many animals have this same instinct when threatened.

This is especially true if you don’t have knowledge of what to do.

The fear and panic that courses through the human body in a crisis can cause muscles to tighten and even signal your brain to stay still in hope of not being seen by an intruder or assailant.

Train yourself to push quickly past that initial fear response so you can take immediate action.

The ability to know what to do and respond quickly and appropriately can save lives.

#6. Know Safety Procedures for Common Disasters

If you aren’t already familiar with safety procedures for disasters that are common for your local area, it’s time to prepare and practice.

It’s important to know ahead of time how you will protect yourself in the face of common dangers.

Keep in mind you may not always be home when disaster strikes.

This means you need to know evacuation routes and other safety procedures for work, school, and other locations you frequent.

Pay attention to the location of exits and safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

When you visit a mall or other location, take a moment to locate exits and identify an emergency meeting location with other members of your group if you are unexpectedly separated.

#7. Carry Emergency Cash

One of the best things you can do to prepare in advance for a disaster or emergency is to carry some emergency cash at all times.

Traditional banking methods may not be accessible in the midst of or immediate aftermath of a disaster.

Cash on hand could mean you have the ability to buy necessary supplies to make things easier. During large scale emergencies, lots of people will need help simultaneously.

Good Samaritans can be torn over who to help first.

The capacity to purchase water, food, gasoline, or even transport to safety can mean you and your loved ones are safe while others are still trying to figure things out.

With a little know-how, some preparation, and practice, you can better protect yourself and your loved ones in an emergency or disaster.

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With fifteen years of freelance experience, Meg founded Freelance Filter in 2019 to help writers and small business owners learn the technology needed to do business better online. She currently offers private coaching to writers and small business owners. Her favorite nonfiction writing projects deal with marketing, SEO, freelancing, productivity, and technology for writers and small business owners. She's currently working on an SEO guide for beginners and a series of short stories. She's a mother of four and "Grammi" of ten.

Madison, OH
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