Whether a small-scale accident or a mammoth disaster, both may bring about a life-or death situation. The same disciplines and quick thinking are needed. To show the way in which basic survival strategies are applied to every kind of situation, a few scenarios of individual small scale vehicle incident procedures are outlined. The same approaches can be seen on a far wider scale in the handling of a major air crash. In these circumstances the survivor is more likely to find himself in unfamiliar territory and involved with a greater number of people for a longer period.
But you cannot anticipate everything!
You must be ready to respond rapidly to the unexpected danger and to deal with potential disaster rationally and realistically. You must overcome the tendency to panic which such conditions so easily engender and take the action appropriate to the situation. Sometimes a collision or other accident occurs with no warning of any kind, but in most instances there is a moment of realisation that something is going to happen and it is in that moment that instinctive reactions can save lives. In many situations there is a considerable time in which an awareness of potential disaster can develop and that is when the panic reaction is probably most dangerous.
As mist closes in on a hillside, reducing visibility to almost nothing and making it easy to lose any sense of direction, most people would begin to panic at the thought that they going to be trapped. They begin to do foolish things and increase their danger whereas they should already be assessing the possibilities and looking for some suitable shelter in which to wait until conditions become safe to continue. Keeping calm, in the knowledge that you have the ability to handle the situation, will not only enable you to see it through but also to see other solutions that may present themselves.
Some situations are predictable and knowledge of the techniques for handling them will minimise the risks. Learn them, they may save your life. They may take considerable nerve – like waiting for the right moment to escape from a car that is sinking under water – but they are based on experience and sound principles. The answer to more general survival problems, however, will often lie in inspired improvisation drawing on those skills appropriate to the situation.
Disaster may involve you in a contained situation which you must handle alone, or you may find yourself one of the hundreds of people in a large-scale disaster over which there can be no control at all.
There is an enormous difference between coping with motoring accidents and dealing with an air disaster.
As those extremes will show, whatever the scale the same resourcefulness and ability to call on a variety of knowledge and skills will apply. BOTH are matters of life and death, however many people they involve.