Let’s get down to brass tacks here.
Most everyone I talk to who is gearing up for the apocalypse is thinking 1 month to 10 years down the road.
While this kind of thinking isn’t bad, it can be a bit farsighted considering most casualties in a crisis occur within the first few minutes of a crisis.
That’s why I had someone I trust write on the topic first steps for crisis survival today.
Take a look and see what he’s got to say.
The First Things You Should Be Doing When SHTF
When something bad happens, people typically have a wide variety of reactions, when faced with utter chaos. Things like:
- running around and yelling
- sitting there in a state of shock, not being able to move
- taking pictures and videos of the disaster
- even getting closer to it to take a better look
As you might imagine, these are all wrong. When witnessing an emergency of any kind, the last thing you want to do is get closer to it. Sure, you’re getting an adrenaline rush and first row view to it, but at what cost?
These reactions are nothing more than signs that the general population is not trained to deal with emergencies.
In what follows, I want to give you a quick list of the first things to do when SHTF hits and you’re in its proximity. They are in order and they apply to all disasters, though you’re likely to change the order of some of them based on the actual situation.
#1. Take Immediate Cover
Survival and preparedness are not about being a hero. Not in the classic sense, at least. They’re about keeping you and your loved ones alive. Sure, if you’re a doctor or a soldier, you’d be doing a lot of good by helping others who got hurt or are about to, but even you need to think about your life first and foremost.
So the first thing you should do when you see or hear that a disaster has hit or is seconds or minutes away from doing that.
Now, there’s a curious thing happening when we’re facing chaos, and that’s something even trained officers experience: tunnel vision. What this means is, you’ll only be able to focus on the disaster itself and nothing else.
You might think this is good, and it was, thousands of years ago when all you had to do was run away from the wild animal that was chasing you… but not in today’s world. Tunnel vision could mean you:
- can’t find your car keys
- can’t see that (another) attacker is sneaking up on you from the side (even though you’ll easily notice him under normal conditions)
- can’t use your key to open the door because all you’re seeing and hearing is the thing that’s about to kill you
So, when taking cover or running away from something, you need to be aware of your surroundings. You need to know what the best place to keep you safe is, and you need to figure out which way is the fastest and safest to get away from immediate danger. Easier said than done, right?
#2. Calm Down
This one is easier said than done. You should:
- take deep breaths
- tell the people next to you to do the same (this will help you calm down as well because you’re verbalizing)
- and tell yourself that you can do this, that you’re prepped to handle emergencies (even out loud if it helps, nobody will care, anyway)
- take a few sips of water if any is available
#3. Make Sure You and Your Loved Ones Are Not Hurt
After the initial impact of the disaster, you’ll want to see if you’re physically ok. This one guy even got shot in the head but didn’t “notice” because he was drunk!
Some of the thing you can do to assess someone’s medical condition include checking the pulse, checking pupil dilation, checking signs of blood loss, broken limbs, facial skin color discoloration and so on. Since I am not a doctor, you highly recommend you take a first aid course to learn all of these things. You should also ask how to assess your own physical condition, they should be able to give you further advice.
#4. Figure Out How to Get to Permanent Safety
Once you’ve calmed yourself down, the next thing should be to put as much distance as possible between you and the disaster. This could mean:
- getting out of the house in case of the earthquake (careful, there may be aftershocks and, if you need to evacuate a tall building, you don’t want to be caught on the stairs, they could easily collapse)
- running away from a riot or from street thugs using one of your get home routes
- getting to your car and then driving off
- hiding in your safe room or your basement
- and so on
This 3rd step might be problematic to some folks because, even when they’ve calmed themselves down, they still won’t be able to think. There’s no easy way to practice this, you’ll just have to watch videos of disasters and imagine yourself taking part in the events, or, even better, you can do drills with your family.
#5. Get In Contact With Your Loved Ones and Meet Them
Things you should talk about include asking them if they need medical care, whether or not they can cope with the situation, their location and, of course, figuring out where and when to meet them.
If we’re talking about small children, you might have to be the one who needs to pick them up.
If you can’t get a hold of them, you should either go home (if it is safe) or to a rally point that you previously established.
This is where something like a “get home bag” is going to be of huge help… a bottle of water, a band-aid, some change… you never know which item is going to be the one that saves your life.
#6. Figure Out Whether to Bug In or Out
In case you’re not familiar with the terms, bugging in refers to hunkering down inside your home to survive a disaster, while bugging out means evacuating, possibly for a very long time. This is a critical decision, yet it needs to be taken really quickly because, if you flee at the wrong time, it could kill you.
Don’t forget that disasters bring with them other disasters. Many looters and thugs will be roaming the streets following a catastrophe, and you could be one of their victims. This is why it’s important to first make sure that you evacuation routes are safe, before actually using them. You do this by:
- listening to the news
- checking social media (if the internet is available)
- contacting others who might know
All common sense right? One last tip I want to give you is that, if you have no choice but to bug out, you should try to do it at around 3 or 4 AM, when most people are sleeping. The odds of getting away are higher, particularly in case of riot or social unrest.