Monday, November 15, 2021

Dealing with emergencies: These are the most important priorities.

By Tim Gamble

Emergency situations are tense and chaotic. You will likely experience anxiety, worry, fear, anger and other emotions. You may be dealing with dangerous situations and bad people. And you will almost certainly not have very much time in which to calmly access the situation and react rationally. Many folks facing emergencies panic, have anxiety attacks, or simply "freeze up" being unable to quickly process their intense emotions amid the chaos.

The way to avoid these mental downfalls during an emergency is to decide ahead of how you are going to deal with an emergency. One of the best ways to do this is to learn - even memorize - what the important priorities are in any emergency. Then work your way down the checklist when the emergency hits. 

DON'T print off a copy of this checklist to put in your bug-out bag, desk drawer, or glove compartment. It won't do you any good there because you won't have time to get it and read it in an emergency. In fact, you probably won't even remember you have it until after the crisis passes. Instead, LEARN it. Memorize it. That way, when you need it, it will be in your head.   

These are the priorities in any emergency:

1) Safety. Quickly remove yourself and others out of the path of immediate danger. If your house is on fire, your first priority is to get yourself and your family out of the house. If a riot or civil unrest is happening, get out of the area. Safety may also mean "bugging out" to a safer/better location during a time of political or economic turmoil.

2) Address any serious medical concerns. Here is the basic order of concern for most injuries:

  1. Make sure the person can breathe.
  2. Stop any major bleeding.
  3. Immobilize the neck/back if there is any possibility of injury to those regions.
  4. Treat shock, hypothermia, hyperthermia, and/or heart attack. 
  5. Treat dehydration.
  6. Treat broken bones (immobilize/splint).
  7. Treat lesser injuries.

*****Please take a good first aid & CPR course before an emergency hits!***** 

 3) Shelter from the elements. This may mean a formal shelter, a tent or other temporary shelter, or it may mean just warm clothes, rain gear, and/or blanket.

4) Water. Clean water is a must in any situation, emergency or not.

5) Food. Last on the list, and likely unimportant in the short run, is food. You can go longer without food than anything else on this list.

But what if I am still panicking or having anxiety attack?  If you are starting to panic, try the Box Breathing technique of the Navy Seals. If it works for them in extremely chaotic and dangerous situations, it should work for you too.

You should practice Box Breathing often under normal conditions so you'll be able to remember the technique under pressure, which won't be as easy as you may think. 

Instructions for Box Breathing: 
  1. Inhale deeply for 4 seconds 
  2. Hold your breath (lungs full) for 4 seconds 
  3. Exhale for 4 seconds 
  4. Hold your breath (lungs empty) for 4 seconds
  5. Repeat as needed
This technique is more than just a psychological trick. There is actual medical science behind Box Breathing.  It increases the nitric oxide levels in your blood, increases your blood flow, and reduces your blood pressure. These are physical changes that will help you regain or remain in control of your emotions.

Important: Plan ahead and practice what to do in various scenarios. The more you practice, the more ingrained your responses will be. This practice will help you remain focused on what you need to do during an emergency. This is why schools hold fire drills, basketball players shoot free throws in practice, and nations hold war games.


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------------------ First Aid Manual, 5th Edition - Everyone, prepper or not, should learn first aid. This first aid manual of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is much more up-to-date (2014) than the American Red Cross manual, which hasn't been updated since 1992.

326-Piece First Aid Kit for Home or Office - This is an affordable and fairly complete first aid kit that meets OSHA and ANSI guidelines. Compartmentalized and very well-organized so you don't waste much time hunting for what you need. 

1 comment:

  1. This breathing technique works. I've used it for years. I often used it prior to doing SWAT operations and shooting competitions. I've also used the technique while hooked up to an EKG monitor and observed the changes in real time. Scares the crap out of nurses when the alarm goes off on the monitors because your heart rate and BP drops below the alarm threshold. Evil, I know. :-)


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