How to Avoid becoming a Victim when Facing Disaster
When facing disaster, it is easy to let yourself go, to collapse and be consumed in self-pity. But it is no use giving up or burying your head in the sand and hoping that this is a bad dream that will soon pass. It won’t and with that kind of attitude it will rapidly become much worse. Only positive action can save you.
A healthy, well-nourished person can physically tolerate a great deal, provided that he or she has self-confidence. Even if sick or injured, a determined person can win through and recover from seemingly impossible situations. To do so there are many stresses that must be overcome.
The survival situation will put you under pressure both physical and mental. You will have to overcome some, if not all the following stresses:
Fear and Anxiety
Pain, Illness and Injury
Cold and Heat
Thirst, Hunger and Fatigue
Loneliness and Isolation
THE QUESTION IS NOT CAN YOU COPE?…….THE FACT IS YOU HAVE TO!
Self-confidence is a product of good training and sound knowledge. These must be acquired before you have to face up to a survival situation. The fact that you are on this website is an indication that you have the seeds of determination to equip yourself and that is the real staring point. Confidence will enable you to overcome fear, boredom, isolation and loneliness.
Physical fitness plays an important part. The fitter you are the better you will survive. Initially you may have to go without sleep to ensure that you are in a safe location, or make a long march in dangerous conditions. Do not wait until you are forced to go without sleep to see whether you are capable of doing so. Prove it to yourself now by getting into training. Develop the resources to cope with fatigue and loss of sleep.
You will be working hard to procure food and water. They will relieve hunger and thirst. But finding them will tire you and you will need an adequate shelter to enable you to rest and recover from your efforts. Don’t overdo it. Rest frequently and assess the situation. Pain and fever are warning signals that call attention to an injury or physical condition. They are not in themselves dangerous, however distressing and discomforting. Pain can be controlled and overcome. Its biological function is to protect an injured part, to prevent you using it, but this warning may have to be ignored to avoid the risk of further injury or death.
Injured people with multiple fractures, who would certainly have died if they had just lain where they were, hoping for help, have been known to crawl long distances from isolated regions to reach assistance.
Concentration and intense effort can actually stop and reduce feelings of pain for a time, though it is important to treat any injury as soon as possible. Remember that ignoring even a small sore or blister could lead to serious problems later.
The main elements required for survival are
Their order of importance will depend on where you happen to be. In the desert, WATER will be first on the list; in polar regions, SHELTER and FIRE will be the main concerns. Ordering your priorities is one of the first steps to survival.
It takes a healthy person quite a long time to die of starvation, for the body can use up its stored resources, but exposure to wind, rain and cold can be fatal even in temperate climates and death comes in only minutes in the icy waters of the poles. FOOD is rarely the first priority. Even in those places where it is difficult to find there are usually other problems to face first. Shelter will often be the prime necessity in extremes of climate or temperature – not just in frozen polar regions or the baking hot deserts, but for walkers trapped by mist on a hillside. The need for fire is closely linked.
Water is something that most people in the modern world take for granted. They are so used to turning on a tap that until an extreme drought causes water rationing they scarcely think about it. Yet the survivor at sea, or after a flood, though surrounded by water, may be desperate for drinkable water – and there are many places where, unless it rains, no obvious water is available. The other survival necessities are dealt with later, but water is universally important.