– While we may not live in the Dark Ages any longer or have to worry about the Black Plague or pillaging bandits, that doesn’t mean we aren’t confronted with dangers every day. And as the Boy Scout motto reminds us, it’s good to always be prepared. So in this video, we count down 10 tips for surviving present-day situations. – Amazing. – Number 10, falling elevator. There is a special corner of our collective neurosis for the fear of being trapped in a falling elevator. The irony is that there has only ever been one recorded incident of a runaway elevator in 1945, when a B-52 ran into the Empire State Building, and one of its engines severed the cables, causing the elevator carriage to plummet 75 floors. Short of freak plane accidents, the chances of this happening are virtually impossible because of all the safety features incorporated in the modern-day elevators. But that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from capitalizing on the nightmare scenario.
But, hypothetically speaking, what would you do if your little box began to plummet down a vertical shaft? Some physicists and engineers have suggested that your best option is, in fact, to lie down flat and spread-eagled on the elevator floor. This still presents dangers, which includes the fact that the deceleration of impact would cause significant damage to your soft organs, and that the floor of the elevator could rupture and impale you instantly. Additionally, because you’re in a free fall, it would be very difficult to pull yourself flush with the floor anyway.
But if there’s even the remotest chance of getting out alive, it’s worth keeping in mind. Or you could just throw the dice and hope to be as lucky as Betty Lou Oliver, the elevator operator of that 1945 Empire State accident, who currently holds the Guinness World Record for longest survived elevator fall. Number nine, heat escape lessening posture. When it comes to survival, one of the big factors outside of food, water and shelter is warmth. Exposure to the elements can change circumstances in an instant, turning a viable situation into a life or death struggle, and especially being stranded in the water, hypothermia can kick in in as little as three minutes. That’s why many countries, including Australia and Ireland actually include HELP, or the heat escape lessening position as a mandatory part of any boating or lifesaving training. This position takes into account the fact that someone is wearing a personal flotation device and involves wrapping your arms around your torso and pulling your knees as far up to your chest as possible.
Hypothermia, in effect, shuts down the body’s systems, and the HELP position is designed to trap as much body warmth near the vital organs like the heart in order to maintain core temperature until rescue arrives. Additionally, if you’re in a group, do your best to cluster together and form a huddle, which will not only decrease heat loss, but also increase your visibility to possible boats and rescuers. Number eight, avoid the bystander effect. Have you ever seen footage of accidents or emergencies that happen in crowded places? Chances are, there are a huge number of people simply standing around doing nothing to help. And this psychological phenomenon has interested researchers ever since the 1968 murder of Kitty Genovese, in which 38 witnesses saw her stabbed in front of her building but didn’t do anything. The more bystanders there are, the less likely any of them will be to step forward to help.
And this has been attributed to a number of factors, including a diffusion of responsibility, for everyone expects someone else to step forward. This could be particularly dangerous in events where time is of the essence, such as someone drowning. So what’s the best way to avoid the bystander effect? One study found that public self-awareness actually reversed the effect, and a good way to achieve this is to visualize different emergencies and how you’d react in each. And while being aware of your state as a bystander may not save your own life, the more that the general public is aware of this phenomenon, the better chance there is of someone stepping in to help you if you ever find yourself in trouble.
A little psychological quid pro quo. Number seven, how to survive a riptide. Riptides are common natural occurrences along shorelines, and generally involve an intake or stream of water that flows away from the beach and out toward the sea or ocean. These can be caused when there is a difference in wave heights that converge, or near sandbars where there is a difference in pressure that creates a narrow funnel, but are often notoriously difficult to spot. When a swimmer is sucked into a riptide, it can force them out into open water and may even be strong enough to pull them under. In this case, conventional wisdom suggests that a swimmer should try to avoid swimming back the way they’ve come, since this will be against the current, and instead to focus on swimming parallel to the shoreline, where they can escape the riptide.
However, one study out of the Naval Postgraduate School by Jamie MacMahan actually discovered that upwards of 90% of riptides are actually circular, meaning that there’s a 50 50 chance that even if you swim parallel to the shore, you’ll end up paddling against the current. His suggestion? Allow the riptide to complete its cycle, a time period that’s roughly in the range of three minutes, and it will return you to the shore all on its own. However, there are often a lot of other factors to take into consideration, including the fact that some riptides can pull swimmers out past breakers. And even the U.S. Lifesaving Association has neglected to incorporate this new information into their lifesaving training until more research can be done. So for now, swimming parallel is the official line. Number six, wild animals. For outdoor enthusiasts, being safe around wildlife is one of the most basic skills. And yet every year, many people are injured and even killed in dangerous confrontations. When dealing with bears, aversion is often the best strategy. This means avoiding a confrontation in the first place, and includes storing your food away from your camp site, making loud noises as you hike, and avoid bear cubs at all costs.
However, if an encounter does lead to an attack, it’s important to differentiate between a grizzly or a common black bear. If a grizzly attacks defensively, most wildlife organizations suggest the cannonball position tucked into the fetal position with your hands and arms covering your neck, and to play dead. Grizzlies are comparably larger and more territorial, but will relent and wander off if they don’t think you’re a threat. On the other hand, if it’s a black bear, and especially one that has acclimated to human activity, this method won’t deter them, and it’s best to stand your ground or try to retreat. If you think a bear is attacking offensively, then attacking back or using a deterrent like a weapon or pepper spray is best. This is also the same approach that they recommend for cougar attacks, which are far more likely to occur as a result of being stalked. Number five, escaping a flooding car. We’re all familiar with iconic stories of people sliding off a road into a river or a creek and getting stuck in their vehicle.
And according to National Highway and Transportation Administration, nearly 400 people die every year as a result of becoming trapped because the water pressure makes it practically impossible to open the door. Experts suggest that, on average, you have less than a minute in which to escape. And in this space of time, there are several key things you can do to increase your chances of survival. First, unbuckle yourself as quickly as possible. Next, avoid opening your door and instead roll your windows down. If you can’t get the window open, your only other option is to wait for the car to fill up with water or to break the glass. Letting the car fill up will equalize the pressure inside and outside the car and let you open the door. But this requires holding one’s breath, and is extremely dangerous. Breaking the window is much easier, and there are a number of devices on the market. But if you’re stuck in a pinch, you can also take off the detachable headrest of your seat and use the two metal prongs to knock out the glass.
This involves jamming one of the pegs down in the slit where the window retracts, and then prying the headrest back toward you. This creates a lateral stress on the frame that will, at least in theory, fracture the safety glass. Most windows are designed to withstand a perpendicular force, but will break if they are stressed along their edge. Of course automobile manufacturers are quick to point out that this is not the primary function of headrests, so this is definitely a case of necessity being the mother of invention. Number four, don’t turn your back. If you ever found yourself faced with an armed opponent, or had a gun to your head, most of us would like to think we’d have the frame of mind to act coolly and stay calm.
But if you’re anything like me, chances are you’d lose control of your bladder, and that’d be the highlight. Nevertheless, in such a scenario, one of the most important things you can do is to face your adversary and use psychology to your favor. Forcing eye contact establishes a human connection, and will make it that much more difficult for someone to pull the trigger. Depending on the situation, be it a hostage-taker, a bank robbery, or a kidnapping, chances are they don’t want to shoot you, or they already would have.
Aside from remaining calm, many police officers suggest telegraphing every movement by indicating out loud what you’re going to do before you do it, and to keep them talking as much as possible. Number three, universal edibility test. Stuck in the wilderness with dwindling food supplies? Don’t know which plants are good to eat? This is where the universal edibility test comes into play. The basic premise involves first, sorting out a plant’s parts according to stem, flower, rhizome, and to focus on one piece at at time. If it smells bad, or if exposure to the skin produces irritation, it may be toxic. If it passes, the next step is to boil it, take a small bite, and wait 15 minutes to see if any symptoms appear. Although this method of trial and error has been touted as a reliable measure by many survival skills experts, and even the U.S.
Military, many point out that even the smallest exposure to deadly plants like water hemlock can result in serious injury or death. So this is definitely a last resort skill. Number two, gas attack. Strictly speaking, if there ever was an attack containing biological agents, unless you had a functioning gas mask, your chances of surviving are slim. That said, if you found yourself without a mask, and if you knew precisely what gas was being used, there is the infinitesimal chance of scraping by if you were lucky enough and savvy enough to know what to do.
In the event of a chlorine gas attack, you could do what soldiers in World War I did. Urinate onto a handkerchief or other piece of absorbent fabric and breathe through the moist membrane. The nature of chlorine, when exposed to the ammoniac compounds in urine crystallizes the gas, but the overall effectiveness of this technique is debatable since chlorine is highly reactive to ammonia, and can further produce toxic fumes. Another deadly gas is sarin, and was famously used on Japanese commuter trains in 1995 by religious radicals. The chemical affects the degradation of acetylcholine in the body, and can lead to asphyxia. The treatment for exposure to sarin is the administering of atropine, and thankfully many plants contain trace amounts of atropine compounds, including deadly nightshade, henbane, datura, jimson weed, and cannabis.
The irony of countering a poison gas attack by smoking up is real. Number one, how to break out of a ziptie. In the unlikely event that you ever find yourself in a kidnapping or a hostage situation, knowing how to get out of your bonds can be the matter between life and death. More and more police and military organizations have turned to zipties, which are easier to carry and lighter than handcuffs or cord. However, like duct tape, zipties have an innate weakness, and that’s where the connectors are. The general method is to flatten your palms together, position the connectors in between your wrists, where the break will occur. Raise your arms high above your head, and then with a sharp jerk, bring them down in front of you like you’re chopping firewood. It’s very important to keep your arms straight, so that you don’t hit your hip bones with your elbows. But another method is to bring your knee up, again, as if you’re trying to snap a stick in half. You might end up with chafed wrists, but in a dangerous situation with a captor, it can be a lot better than the alternative.
I hope you’ll never find yourself in a situation that requires any of these tips. But when it comes down to life or death decisions, the best thing you can do is be prepared and have the wherewithal to look at your situation logically and calmly. Can you think of any other survival tips we might have missed, or anything you’d add to the ones we’ve covered? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you enjoyed this video, make sure to leave it a like and subscribe, clicking that bell icon to stay updated. Thanks for watching. .