Coping With Emergencies – What Not to Do

Disasters, calamities, accidents, and natural disasters strike without warning. They typically result in loss of life and property as most people are thrown into panic by their suddenness and severity. Being unprepared mentally and lacking proper emergency response training exacerbates an already traumatic crisis. Averting errors in judgment and following some basic preparedness measures can help save lives when every minute counts. There is some key don’ts you must be aware of when encountering an emergency.

Panicking And Losing Control of Emotions

In an emergency, you may feel afraid or anxious. However, panicking doesn’t help and can make matters worse. Panicking leads to clouded thinking, poor decision-making, and irrational behavior. For instance, you may forget crucial emergency procedures or training. Your mind goes blank despite having prepared for such scenarios.

Additionally, panic spreads quickly to others nearby. Seeing someone lose control during a crisis can stir up fear and uncertainty in the whole group. Mass panic leads groups to act chaotically instead of responding calmly. For example, a panicked crowd may trample people in a rushed evacuation when an orderly exit is feasible.

Furthermore, panic warps your perception and judgment abilities. A panicked mind exaggerates the threats and underestimates your ability to cope or seek solutions. You may act out irrational impulses rather than show level-headed poise under stress. Reacting to danger based on panic and hysteria leads to worse outcomes than mindful analysis and action.

During emergencies, panicking gives no advantage and prevents clear thinking. While feeling some fear in a crisis is reasonable, staying centered leads to wiser choices. Keeping emotions under control allows you to respond to the situation rationally for the best possible result. Level heads always prevail over panic and chaos.

Not Calling for Help and Assistance

Call for help as soon as an emergency occurs. Don’t downplay the severity of the situation or try to handle it yourself, as this is often far from the truth. Emergencies require intervention from professionals like emergency services, medical personnel, fire departments, rescue crews, and other relevant authorities. Not alerting them immediately means valuable time is lost during which the situation could escalate. It also deprives you of access to equipment, skills, and resources needed to contain the emergency. Calling for backup must be done as soon as an emergency strikes.

Evacuating Without a Plan

Evacuating without an exit strategy or plan increases risks to health and safety. For instance, in fires, people often leave via the same entry route instead of checking alternate escape paths. They may focus selfishly on their escape instead of ensuring the safe passage of the injured, elderly, children, and pets. Having an evacuation plan about using alternative exits, maintaining group unity, and carrying emergency supplies can help streamline a hurried exit and avoid fatalities. It is also important to have a designated meeting point where you and your loved ones can congregate post-evacuation for headcounts.

Re-Entering An Unsafe Area

Entering an unsafe area even once puts you in harm’s way, but deciding to reenter multiplies the risks. Areas are deemed unsafe for good reasons. They pose threats that make injury, illness, or even death much more likely. These dangers do not disappear or lessen when you enter initially and survive. The threats remain just as present for subsequent entries, but each additional exposure stacks the odds increasingly against you.

Each unsafe area should be treated as life-threatening on every occasion. Structural weaknesses in a burning building do not repair themselves if you go back inside. Toxic chemicals permeating the air in a contaminated zone do not dissipate or become harmless to breathe over time. Floodwaters rising or flowing powerfully continue to pose equal drowning and crushing risks no matter how many times you tempt fate, and perpetrators inflicting violence show no restraint or mercy depending on past outcomes.

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Once you have exited any unsafe scene where hazards persist, do not reenter under any circumstances. Your survival on prior entries was more luck than predestination. The risks do not change, and each spin of the wheel carries tremendous downside versus little potential upside. Save yourself and do not willingly go back into dangerous situations where the threats still exist. The smartest and safest choice is always to remove yourself fully and permanently once identified.

Not Having an Emergency Preparedness Kit

Being caught without crucial supplies during an emergency can seriously hamper response efforts. Emergency preparedness kits for homes and vehicles should be stocked with items like first aid, medicines, a Full Face Gas Mask, tools, torches, batteries, food rations, and water sufficient for up to 72 hours. These will provide sustenance and allow safer navigation until professional help arrives. Those dependent on medications must have at least a week’s supply in their kit. Not having these basics on hand will leave you scrambling during situations where roads get blocked and utilities fail. Lack of self-sufficiency for three to seven days could prove life-threatening in major disasters, so emergency preparedness kits are vital to emergency response.

Ignoring Safety Advisories and Warnings

Authorities often issue safety advisories and warnings about imminent threats like storms, terrorist attacks, and disease outbreaks. However, many people dismiss these as overreactions and continue with normal activities. This is extremely risky since expert teams analyze hundreds of data points before sounding such alerts. Ignoring evacuation orders, not sheltering indoors during curfews, refusing to wear safety gear, or consuming banned items due to complacency has led to completely avoidable loss of life in many historic emergencies. Following competent safety instructions is imperative, even if temporarily inconvenient. Your survival may depend wholly on adhering to expert safety directions.

Not Securing Exits and Utilities

An emergency may call for hurried evacuation from indoor spaces like homes, offices, and malls. Having exits and passageways blocked with clutter could severely hamper escape and rescue efforts. Similarly, failure to shut off electrical, gas, and fuel lines before evacuating leads to accidents like electrocutions, fires, and explosions which further endanger lives. Developing the habit of keeping exits obstruction-free and learning to deactivate utilities can buy precious minutes while exiting. It also reduces risks to those attempting entry for rescue operations. Such preparedness steps seem trivial in daily life but assume great significance in averting the escalation of an emergency.

Failing To Document and Report

Documenting and reporting information about emergency response can aid authorities in further handling the situation. Simple details about the sequence of events, location, number of those affected or injured, property damage, and actions taken convey a lot even if brief. Photos and videos also help build a more complete picture for emergency management personnel. This improves rescue efficiency, helps gauge resource needs accurately, and provides records for insurance claims. Those recovering from the trauma may also need such documentation later to fill in mental gaps. Failing to capture this could inadvertently hamper the recovery process, so documentation must become second nature when emergencies strike.

Not Learning Emergency Response Skills

Few people put in the effort to acquire the skills needed to handle emergencies like fires, first aid administration, and evacuations. However, having some basic life-saving know-how can help buy crucial minutes before professional help arrives. Courses offered by civil defense bodies, volunteers, and fitness instructors teach skills to handle situations like choking, bleeding, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and bandaging. These bridge critical delays and boost chances of survival. Undergoing such an education equips you to assist yourself and others better in the initial stages of an emergency instead of being a helpless bystander. These skills truly empower you to take charge until expert backup arrives.

Failing To Have an Emergency Support Network

Emergencies affecting families often paralyze decision-making about aspects like medical care for the injured, arrangements for pets, and continuity of businesses. Having a support network of trusted friends or relatives who can step in provides big relief through such crises. This network of helpers should be aware of critical details like locations of emergency supplies in the home, insurance information, and medical history of family members. Their familiarity enables quicker action on priority tasks till normalcy returns. Neglecting this aspect leaves loved ones scrambling directionless in the initial days post-emergency. Every household must have nominated emergency support contacts whose assistance can be relied on if adversity strikes.

Spreading Rumors and Unverified Information

The chaos during emergencies sometimes leads to the spreading of rumors which exacerbate panic and disorder. These could be about anything ranging from exaggerated casualty figures, conspiracy theories, unsubstantiated threats, and communal messaging. Despite best intentions, passing unverified information usually hinders the ability of authorities to manage the situation on the ground. It also needlessly terrifies others and diverts the attention of the public and resources. What you should do instead is stay calm, refrain from speculation, and follow only official advice. Authorities typically provide periodical updates and these are the only credible information sources during calamities. Rumor-mongering does no good to anyone.

While emergencies demand quick thinking, self-preservation instincts, and readiness to adapt, keeping your composure is equally vital. Avoiding irrational actions, cooperating with experts, following safety protocols, and looking out for fellow citizens optimizes outcomes when every minute counts. The responsibility for spreading awareness also lies with schools, companies, and local communities who must actively coach citizens about emergency preparedness through regular training. Learn more today so you are better prepared for any situation.