At any moment and in any situation, disaster can strike. Life-threatening events happen to people every day, and nobody is immune to them. However, these emergencies don’t have to spell imminent doom. Here are five life-threatening scenarios and how to survive them.
Lost In The Wilderness
More than 2,000 hikers get lost in the wilderness every year, a situation that can quickly turn deadly for those who aren’t prepared. When you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere without shelter, you’re open to harm from animals and the elements. Any time you venture into the great outdoors, make sure you’re well-stocked for unforeseen emergencies. Bring a map, compass, food and water, waterproof fire source, first aid kit, spare clothing, some basic tools and a survival blanket. Combined with basic knowledge of building a shelter and tending injuries, these essentials can keep you alive until help arrives.
According to the CDC, one out of five individuals are bitten by dogs every year, resulting in roughly 368,000 emergency room visits. Although dog bites rarely cause fatalities, they can still cause disfigurement, disability, infection and nerve damage. If you’re ever faced with an attacking dog, do whatever you can to keep its teeth away from your neck and head, such as curling into a ball and being still and quiet. If playing possum doesn’t discourage the dog, try standing still and loudly commanding the dog to “stay” or “back away”. This may intimidate the dog to the point where it abandons the attack. If nothing else works, yell for help and prepare to fight the dog—running away when this happens will often encourage the dog to pursue and attack.
Shark attacks only occur at a rate of about 75 per year worldwide, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for one. When you’re swimming at a beach where there are known to be dangerous sharks, follow the beach’s guidelines to minimize your risk. This means staying inside of any perimeters and not entering the water with open wounds. In the unlikely event that you encounter a shark, watch it at all times. If it becomes aggressive, knowing its location is your best chance of defending yourself. Don’t make any sudden motions as they may trigger the shark to attack. Instead, move slowly back toward shore. However, if it does attack, try to aim for its eyes and gills.
More than 360,000 house fires occur in the US each year, causing approximately 2,500 deaths. The vast majority occur from cooking accidents. If making dinner ever turns into a nightmare scenario and you’re stuck in the middle of it, the first thing you should do is remain calm, get on the ground to avoid smoke and call 911. If fire is standing between you and safety, grab the nearest towel, blanket or clothing and drench it in water. Cover head and body and run through the fire as fast as you can.
Tire blowouts are responsible for over 78,000 accidents, 10,000 injuries and 400 deaths each year due to loss of vehicular control. Should you ever experience a tire blowout, your best bet is to follow these steps. Immediately get a firm grasp on the wheel and apply the brakes slowly to avoid spinning out. Once the vehicle is in control, pull over and turn on your emergency flashers.
Life-threatening situations can happen to anyone at any time, so it’s important to be ready. Understanding what to do in these events can help you not only reduce your risk of serious injury but may ultimately save your life.
Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.