Three Common Emergency Situations and How to Handle Them

Lee Flynn submits the following for your consideration.


Not every emergency situation is life threatening. For every city-shaking earthquake and coast-sweeping tsunami, there are thousands of smaller common annoyances that disrupt power, create messes, and just generally inconvenience those of us who would like to be able to stick to our daily routine without having to put up with Mother Nature’s nonsense. Here are three common emergency\disaster scenarios, and a few tips on how to deal with them.


1. Fire

Those of us who’ve ever tried to get a campfire going with only a few matches have to wonder why a dry log will sometimes resist an open flame as though it were a gentle breeze, but a house will go up like gunpowder at the first hint of a spark. Whatever the case, the fact is that in 2011, home fires caused an estimated $6.9 billion in damages. If a fire breaks out in your home, the first thing you should do is try to get an idea of how big/extensive it is.

The first thing you need to do is get your family out of the house. Planning and practicing fire escape routes will help things go more smoothly. Don’t bother scrambling for valuables or belongings; they’re not worth your life. If you can see the flame and know that it hasn’t already spread through walls or to other nearby combustibles, and if it looks small enough, you may want to try to smother or douse the flame. Be careful, however, as fires can spread quickly, and you don’t want to become trapped inside.

If putting out the fire seems too risky, quickly leave the house, closing all doors behind you as you go. Doing so will limit the amount of oxygen the fire can consume, and also delay the spread of smoke. Call the fire department from a mobile phone or neighbor’s house, and don’t go back inside until you’ve been told by a fire officer that it’s safe to do so.


2. Flood

It doesn’t seem like floods should be as damaging as they are. After all, it’s just water. If anything, a flood should make everything cleaner when it passes through. Except that water is the universal solvent, and that means that when it starts to flow out of control, it carries with it all of the muck, grime, and filth that it passes over.

If flooding begins to occur in your area, turn off your main power and gas, and evacuate immediately. Avoid any roads or paths that have standing water on them, and head for higher ground. Try to avoid coming in contact with flood water, as it can carry disease and bacteria (thoroughly wash with soap and disinfected water any body parts that touch flood water).

If you are unable to evacuate your home before the flood closes in, retreat to upper floors or even the roof. Be sure to bring some survival food and warm blankets with you, because you might be up there for a little while.


3. Blizzard

Sort of like a flood, except much colder, a blizzard can strike without warning and leave behind a world covered in a smothering blanket of pure white (which would be pretty, if it weren’t so dangerous). If you’re outside when a blizzard hits, try to find shelter quickly. If none is available, consider digging a snow cave; it might seem counterintuitive, but snow retains heat really well and can protect you from the sub zero temperatures outside.

Stay hydrated, but avoid eating snow. Melt it first by placing some in a container and keeping it in your jacket (but not against your skin). If you’re at home, gather the entire family together in a single room to conserve heat. If the power goes out, try to avoid using a fireplace unless you absolutely have to, as snow can block up your chimney and force smoke back down into the home. If your windows are clear, allow sunlight to enter and heat the house during the day, but block them off to conserve warmth at night.

Make sure to eat regularly, and always stay hydrated. Use an emergency survival food supply so that you don’t have to get creative about how to prepare what you have in your fridge without the use of electricity. If you don’t have access to liquid water, try collecting some snow and bringing it inside so that it can melt; just be careful not to let out all your heat while you’re trying to get something to drink. You can also drain your hot-water heater or get water from ice melting in your freezer if the power is out.


As with any disaster, it’s important to be prepared. Having a plan, safety measures, and 72 hour kits and survival food that might just save your family’s life if something unexpected should happen. Don’t let Mother Nature’s hissy-fit put you in a bad situation; be prepared and you won’t have to worry about anything at all (except maybe how to go to the number 2 without any running water. Hint: It involves containers with lids).


Lee Flynn is an authority on emergency preparedness, food storage, survival kits, survivalism, and sustainability.

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While surviving a blizzard might not be high on your radar as weather gets warmer, it’s not uncommon for those who travel and camp in the mountains to encounter such storms. Beware.

I’d love to know what you’re thinking about what you’ve just read. Feel free to leave a comment below.


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