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What is important in extreme situations!
The accident of the Costa Concordia shows again that each of us can get into an extreme situation in which it is a matter of life and death from one second to the other. And you don’t have to go on a cruise to do that.
But what is important? Are there general survival rules that increase the likelihood of surviving an extreme situation?
Let’s start looking for the answers to these questions with Ben Sherwood – an American author whose book “Whoever Survives: Why Some People Survive in Borderline Situations, Others Don’t” reveals very interesting survival tips and tricks.
Sherwood analyzed people in extreme situations such as plane crashes, survival in ice, fires and other disasters.
In brief, the following success factors result:
- Analyze hazards in advance
- In an emergency, avoid panic and do not remain in a state of shock
- Think about it, act quickly and don’t persist
Now these success factors can be dismissed as truisms, but that’s just the way it is.
Let’s take a closer look at these factors:
Analyze hazards in advance
Those who prepare for dangers in advance and perhaps even prepare have better chances of survival in an emergency.
An example: Whoever enters a shopping center and can always pay attention to the escape doors – that says the logic – react faster in the worst case.
Even little things like remembering where the nearest fire extinguisher is in the office could prove to be effective preparation in the event of a fire.
And one last example – wouldn’t it make sense to check the nearest escape routes when checking into a hotel room (or a cabin on a cruise ship)?
And there are no excuses, because the escape routes are presented either in the hotel room or in the corridors.
If that really isn’t the case, I would ask the hotel management about it.
Anyone who thinks that this is all too time-consuming – yes, it may be, but in an emergency, preparation makes the difference!
In an emergency, avoid panic and do not remain in a state of shock
Shock – as this condition is commonly called – is a common response to extreme situations. Doctors call this an acute stress reaction. The definition is interesting:
The acute stress reaction is the result of extreme psychological stress for which the person concerned does not have a suitable coping strategy. (Source: Wikipedia)
Oh yes – a burden for which the person concerned has no coping strategy. Too good German for which the person concerned is not prepared. Which brings us back to point 1.
But well, you can’t always prepare mentally or practically. But experience shows that hesitating too long through panic or shock can make the difference between surviving and dying.
An example that I experienced myself: My wife and I are sitting in the crowded cinema. (Of course I booked a place near the emergency exit). The fire alarm goes off in the middle of the film. The loud screeching of the alarm even drowned out the very loud sound of the film.
I grab my wife by the arm and leave the room after 5 seconds of alarm. What do you think the other viewers did?
Nothing – absolutely nothing. Nobody but us left the cinema even though the alarm had lasted a whopping 4 minutes.
Thank goodness it didn’t really burn, but what if it did? Who would have been more likely to survive?
This true story leads us to the next factor …
Think about it, act quickly and don’t persist
It is vital to make quick decisions and act. If a fire breaks out, you have to consider where a good escape route is – then quickly decide to flee, because staying there can have fatal consequences!
I don’t think there’s anything to add to that. It’s logical – actually. Unfortunately, in practice, it’s harder than you think.
Exception to this rule – if you get lost. Then forget the words “quick”, “quick” and “urgent”. Sit down and think carefully about your situation. But that’s another scenario as well.
Luck as a survival factor?
Yes, of course, luck is the survival factor, even if you can guide luck a little in your own favor – keyword preparation.
But of course better mental and practical preparation does not help if, for example, you are surprised by an earthquake in your sleep and the house collapses over you.
Or the example of the big gas explosion in Wilhelmsburg in Lower Austria in 1999, in which a defective gas pipe blew up a house with a floor to the air. Only one girl survived by accident.
Even if we don’t want it to be true, fate, luck, providence or whatever you want to say also plays a role.
When the time comes, there is no way around it – period.
Let us close the topic and the answer to the rules of conduct or survival factors with a quote from Henry Ford:
There are more people who capitulate than those who fail.
If you are interested in survival and want to find out more about survival, you should watch this video!