5 Rules That Will Help You Keep Your Cool In An Emergency 

Emergencies, disasters, chaos, tragedy, accidents… these are terrible scenarios that nobody wants to spend much time thinking about. Instead, we simply hope they never happen to us, although the chances are strong that we’ll be faced with some difficult days in our lifetime. What’s important is how we respond to these calamities when they occur, and that we have the ability to keep our cool in an emergency.

Rule #1 - Feel Your Emotions Briefly… And Then Ignore Them

Feel Your Emotions Briefly… And Then Ignore Them

The first and most important rule of handling an emergency situation is to stay calm. Yes, that’s easier said than done, especially when you may be exposed to trauma, violent images, or events that threaten to put you into a state of shock.

We’re not saying that you can’t be strongly impacted by the events that are unfolding: after all, you’re human, and you’re bound to have a human response to negative stimuli. However, we’re suggesting that you briefly allow yourself to feel those emotions -- and then push them aside. In an emergency setting, it can only make things worse to break down, dwell on the devastation, and begin to spiral. Instead, take a minute to compose yourself to deal with the remaining problems at hand, and leave the reflection for later once the dust has cleared.

Rule #2 - Think Logistically

Think Logistically

Once you’ve calmed yourself down to the point where you can start to think about rescuing yourself and/or your family (or continuing to put yourself in the safest possible position), it’s time to start thinking logistically. That means looking for resources, tools, escape routes, and options. It means weighing several different scenarios that might occur (such as aftershocks, flash floods, etc) and figuring out how to guard against the danger those scenarios present.

By thinking logistically, you focus on problem solving instead of simply giving into the adrenaline and intense emotions that are coursing through your body during an emergency. And by problem solving, you improve the potential outcome of the situation for yourself and everyone involved.

Rule #3 - Stay Prepared

Stay Prepared

When an emergency strikes, you’ll be glad that you spent two or three minutes to order those emergency kits online. You don’t want to be kicking yourself and wishing you had access to blankets, flashlights, batteries, extra food and water, or shelter. Give your future self the gift of preparation, and cut way down on the danger and discomfort that can come with a disaster situation.

Additionally, consider staying up-to-date and certified on first aid, CPR, and survival tips and knowledge offered by resources and blogs like this one.

Rule #4 - Seek Professional Rescue

Seek Professional Rescue

First responders are some of the bravest and most capable people in the entire world. And most importantly, they spend their lives training for and responding to emergency situations. That means that when disaster strikes, it’s their show. Never try to disagree or argue with a first responder. Always follow their instructions to ensure a smooth rescue or triage process

Meanwhile, in the event of a major disaster, one of your first priorities should be to find and establish communication with first responders. They’ll have the resources, knowledge, and medical training that you don’t. Let the experts do their job, and get to a first responder as quickly as safely possible.

Rule #5 - Fill The Leadership Vacuum

Fill The Leadership Vacuum

In an emergency, it’s the tendency of many (if not most) people to crumble under the pressure. In particular, children and adults who are not used to difficult or scary situations may become nearly hysterical during an unfolding disaster.

If you are in a group setting in an emergency, consider filling the leadership position and begin organizing your rescue effort. When panicking people are given jobs and told what to do, it can calm them down and help them focus on one thing at a time instead of trying to digest what’s happening to them. If you feel able, take on that leadership role and help direct everyone to safety until a first responder arrives.

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