Surviving a natural disaster can be a combination of luck, being in the right place at the right time, having emergency personnel find you quick enough, and having some of the most basic survival strategies in mind before the event hits. When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, millions of people were affected, nearly 2,000 killed, and still, five years later, the area is grappling with the ravages of that day. Yet, one thing that is often rarely discussed in the media for one reason or another is that the reason that so many people died and others were injured was not necessarily to hurricane itself but that these people weren’t prepared for it.
Say what you will about that (yes, there were days of warnings that it was coming and that it would likely cause the level of damage seen and few people did anything to prepare for it, such as leaving the area), survival strategies will work for any natural disaster. Once you read through these, you will be ready at the basic level for what nature might –and likely will- throw your way.
This can’t be emphasized enough. If you don’t remain calm in a stressful situation, then you are ten times more likely to be injured or killed by the circumstances. That’s not an opinion, mind you. That’s a fact. Back in the nineteen fifties and early sixties, many schools around the country used to run bombing drills. These were in response to the Soviet Union having nuclear capabilities, and when we look back on those drills where children climbed under their desks, it seems absurd today (you are not going to survive a nuclear blast by hiding under your desk).
Still, the lesson was to be prepared. If you imagine different natural disasters, from floods to earthquakes to tornadoes, then you increase your chances of remaining calm if and when the actual situation arises. When you are calm, then you can think and process information much more clearly.
Imagine being in a region that gets hit by a major flood. A dam breaks under the pressure of days of rain and an entire reservoir washes out towns and floods many more. There will be millions of people likely affected by this. Millions of people who will be panicking and waiting for emergency personnel to find them and rescue them.
Work through the situation from every plausible angle. Can you craft a floating device? Can you build a fire? Will you survive the night without shelter? Once you think through the situation, you will be able to devise a plan to get through it.
Have a way to signal for help
Perhaps you have a cell phone, but in the event of a flood or some other natural disaster, it might not work. Electricity could be out and may be out for weeks, or months. How would you signal for help? If you’re on the rooftop of a home that is surrounded by flood waters, then the obvious option would be to wave your arms at any aircraft flying by.
Will this work? Think about how many people are also waving their arms. You might want to arrange the roof tiles in such a way to create lettering. You can send a message to those flying overhead that someone in your party –maybe yourself if you’re alone- is a diabetic and slipping into shock. Any medical emergency other than being elderly or stuck on a roof will get the attention of emergency personnel flying overhead.
Is it wrong? You tell me. If you survive to tell your tale, and wouldn’t if you played fair, then is it survival? Okay, moral dilemma should be saved for another time.
If you are faced with a natural disaster, you will likely be surrounded by many frightened as well as opportunistic people. There will be people who would see this as a time to steal whatever they wanted. You need to be able to protect yourself. Do you own a gun? How about large knives? Do you know any martial arts? These are important survival skills that you should think about long before a natural disaster strikes.
Make a note that this section does not –in any way- condone the use of violence as a means of surviving or moving beyond someone. In other words, you can’t just go out and shoot people who are not causing you any injury or pose no threat to you. Having the right tools at your disposal to protect yourself or your family may come in handy, though.
Establish a contact location with family and friends
Make a location known to family and friends that, should there ever be a natural disaster and you are cut off from them (meaning no phones, etc), that they should make their way to this one place. You can meet up with them then and determine your next course of action.
The world can be a dark place. When you have some survival strategies in place, you will increase your chances of making it through the horrible event.