Follow the STOP plan: Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.
Stop. Don't panic. Stay calm. Don't get overly emotional. Take a few deep breathes. Maybe even sit down if you need to. What happened, happened.
Think. Take a moment or two to consider your situation. Are you in immediate danger (your house is own fire)? Or, are you in a more drawn-out sort of danger (the economy just collapsed)? You need to make rational, well-thought out, decisions at this point.
Observe. Look around. What is your situation. What are your immeadate threats? Near-term threats? Long-term threats? Take stock of what resources you have available (knowledge, skills, supplies, tools, people, money, etc.).
Plan. Decide how you are going to deal with the crisis. Make a plan, share your plan with others with you, and stick to the plan, making changes only in relation to changing circumstances. (Making unneeded or frequent changes only adds confusion and ensures that your group are NOT all on the same page.)
Depending on the circumstances, you may have only seconds to do the above. Or you may have hours, days, or even longer. Do the best you can do in the time you have. Thinking through possible scenarios ahead of time helps.
What are the priorities in any emergency?
1) Safety. Quickly remove yourself and others out of the path of immediate danger. If your house is on fire, your first priority is to get yourself and your family out of the house.
2) Address any serious medical concerns. Here is the basic order of concern for most injuries:
- Stop any major bleeding.
- Immobilize the neck/back if there is any possibility of injury to those regions.
- Treat shock, hypothermia, hyperthermia, and/or heart attack.
- Treat dehydration.
- Treat broken bones (immobilize/splint).
- Treat lesser injuries.
3) Shelter from the elements. This may mean a formal shelter, a tent or other temporary shelter, or just warm clothes, rain gear, and/or blanket.
4) Water. Clean water is a must in any situation, emergency or not.
5) Food. Last on the list, and likely unimportant in the short run. You can go longer without food than anything else on this list.
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