Your building or area has been hit.
It may have been by a car or truck bomb. Possibly a dirty bomb. Or maybe by one of nature's forces. In any case, pandemonium and panic are the rule of the day.
We have all seen disaster type movies where a small group has survived the initial attack and are trying to get out. There is usually a hero who leads a group, possibly some romantic interests and conflict among group members as they have other situations thrown at them.
And this is just what the name says it is-a Movie. It's not real life. And if you are going to take that extra 15 minutes to have sex in the stairwell you may just not get out with your life and live to have sex again under some much better conditions and with one you truly love.
Rule #1-Time is of the essence.
Always remember that it is much better to be at a distance on the outside looking in rather than on the inside looking out. When you are in a life-threatening situation many times you will have a choice that will remove you from this situation if you make it. So if your area has been hit make the choice to survive and get out at all costs.
Don't give up on life and don't start making excuses about why you might not get out. If you can breathe you can do it. Think of the people you love the most and say to yourself that you are going to see them again. Think of your favorite thing to do in the whole world and say you are going to do it again as soon as you get out, get cleaned up and get some rest.
You may or may not get out, but at least you will have died knowing you gave it your all.
As soon as you realize that something has happened you need to take just a moment to think. You don't have to know exactly What happened (though it will help you planning if you did). Just realize that things are bad and you need to get out. There may be the dead and injured all around. There may be people screaming and crying. You will probably be in a state of shock. You may not be able to see at all due to dust or smoke. It may be hard to breathe. There may be a raging fire.
Think and take stock of the situation (this doesn't mean you can't do it on the run).
Say to yourself that you WILL make it out no matter what and think about your loved ones and favorite thing in the world. Check if you can move or if you are hurt. If you are bleeding, see if you can stop it. Yell for help or use a whistle if possible. If you are trapped see if you can free yourself and yell for help (if there is dust, gas or smoke though you may want to attract attention in a different way).
If you can move look for any immediate dangers. Is there structural damage to your building? Will the roof collapse in seconds? Can you smell gas? Sparking electric lines? Broken glass? Is a fire coming right towards you? Bad guys in the area? Can you see? Can you breathe? Remove yourself and others, if possible, from any immediate threats. Don't just sit there-precious seconds are being wasted. Just try not to go into an area that is worse than the one you are in.
Think about any evacuation routes you can take. Most public workplaces have evacuation plans in place. Remember back to your drills and pick the very best way to get out now. Decide on at least one alternate way to get out in case the first path is blocked. See if you can carefully look out the windows and what the situation is below, above and around (watch for broken glass and don't get blown or fall out). Think about and plan your methods of exit anytime you enter a public place. Always know your exits, whether in business or in buildings.
If the place has an organized or temporary leader, defer authority to them and follow their instructions quickly and calmly. Quickly check on the other people in your immediate location. If they need help, try and help them. If they are trapped, try and free them. If they are bleeding, try and stop it with direct pressure. If they aren't breathing but still have a pulse, give them CPR. If they can move, make them ready for travel. If they can't, make them as comfortable as you can. Try not to move them at all if they have back or neck injuries. If they are obviously dead, you may be able to take them or something the survivors can use to ID later. A ring, watch, wallet, etc.
Situations like this will depend upon many variables; your level of training, experience and the conditions at the time. But do your best to make the correct decision and live with it. It's all you can do. But the important thing to do is to make that DECISION and ACT NOW!
Before anything like this happens, it may be a good idea to prepare a small Bug-out or emergency bag before hand that you can take to work with you. Especially if you work in a high-risk area in a big city high-rise. Even if it's some items you just throw in your briefcase or better yet in a small pack. A lot better to be alive later than to be embarrassed now.
Some possible items might include . . .
- A small Transistor radio
- Bottled water
- A painters mask (or other type)
- A first-aid kit
- Cell phone
- FRS Radio
- Emergency Radio scanner
- Extra batteries
- Duct Tape
- Multi-tool knife
- Leather gloves
- Plastic raincoat or poncho
- Safety glasses
And if you do choose to work or live in a high-risk area, now might be a good time to clarify your thinking on that point also. Granted, anyplace is a risk, but it is pretty obvious that some places are higher-risk than others. Are you passionate about going into work every day and do you love it? Is this the best place to raise my family? I make so much money here and have such great benefits, I'd be a fool to leave. I am on the fast-track to promotion and have way too much invested to do anything else. I'm too old and can't do anything else-I only have 2 years before retirement. My whole family is here and I never have lived anyplace else.
It's a personal choice each must make.
But I can guarantee you that many people are trapped by the illusion of money, status and a job. Think of what we, as humans really need to live. Air to breathe, Water to drink, Food to eat and Protection from the elements. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Love, Money, Fulfillment. Gratification of your desires.
In what ways can these basic needs best be met? Can we achieve a higher quality of these basic needs, than what we have right now? Do we need a job to do so? Will a higher quality of these needs make me and those I love happier? Did I take this job because I applied all around and this is what I ended up with? If I don't have this job we will lose everything we have ever worked for, starve, become homeless and die.
Truly, Real Wealth is a whole different subject, but this will give you some ideas to think about.
Rule #2-Get out by the quickest, easiest and safest means available.
Outside means safety and freedom-Inside could mean certain death (unless it is some sort of Hazmat situation, in which case you should stay inside (see saferoom articles on this site).
You have chosen the best exit and you and your group are making your way as quickly as possible out of the area. You are moving at a quick, but steady pace and are avoiding running. Just as in our survival movie, you may be presented with all sorts of obstacles you will have to overcome before you can get out (hopefully you aren't allowing romantic situations or personal conflicts to interfere at such a time :)
Here are some common-sense things to watch out for . . .
- Elevators-avoid them like the plague and take the stairs
- Sparks of any sort; no smoking, no lighters, don't turn on the light switches (use your battery powered flashlight)
- Go down and not up, if possible. The lower you get, the better your chances of rescue are; if you must go up do it only as a detour; if no other options, then reach the roof and move away from any smoke or hazards
- Smoke or dust filled areas; if you find yourself in these areas, put on your mask and stay low to the floor
- Areas where you hear arguing or shooting
- Fires; check doors and knobs for heat; open doors slowly and be ready to shut them again; close all doors behind you
- Water and loose electric lines; they just don't mix
- Flooded areas
- Look for signs which say exit
- Grab a fire extinguisher if you see one and make sure you are trained previously in its use
- Keep away from the windows
- Avoid having your group bunch together; walk single file
- Try and establish outside communications or monitoring
- Follow the instructions of any emergency personnel you meet or others giving directions
- Examine the structure of the building; if it is drywall you may be able break through into another area
- Join forces with other evacuating groups; if your party is moving slowly get out of the way of faster moving groups
- Be alert for any outside fire escapes
- Watch for stragglers
- If you believe nuclear material was released, try and brush off your clothes and wear your mask; don't panic; depending upon the amount of material released, you can still be exposed to radiation for short periods of time and live-even if the bomb was dirty, the major damage is more than likely going to come from the blast itself and the terror it creates
If you are trapped . . .
- Try and establish outside communications or get someone's attention; use material as a signal flag
- Close all doors and try and seal door cracks with wet material, clothing, or tape
- Stay close to the window for fresher air during fires; open it if possible, but don't break it-smoke from below may come in and you may need to shut it
- If buried, try and attract attention by tapping on a pipe, wall or material around you
- If you have a bathtub or sink, fill it with water before water pressure drops
Should you jump as a last resort???
It depends upon how high up you are. Some falls can be survived; anything more than 4 or 5 stories and death is almost a certainty. If you do jump, jump far enough out to miss any obstacles on the building. In all cases save it for a last resort when the only other choice you have is certain death. A personal choice, but if you do jump remember that you also may fall on someone else and kill them and if a terrorist event, this will cause more terror, helping them to achieve their ends.
Once you are safely free of the building, report to a designated area if you have one, so a head count can be completed (get yourself completely out of the immediate danger zone). Seek medical attention for yourself and others. Keep travel areas clear for emergency personnel.
Do not return to the building :)