if you find yourself involved in an active disaster? your first duty isn’t to whip out the phone

Let’s face it; disaster could strike at any moment. Airplane crash, train derailment, blimp attack, mountain avalanche, unicorn stampede, earthquake, and so on. Any of these could occur before today ends. But whatever happens, please, please, at the moment of decision, don’t take out the damn phone.

Ah, that future YouTube clip or Instagram picture of your flaming adventure is so awesome. All of humanity can share in your horrifying experience. Just ask that Kraut who took the avalanche video on Everest. Yeah, yeah, I admit it, I watched it.

Pretty cool stuff, eh? But also very dangerous to yourself and others. You’ll need both hands to stay alive; and to help other folks.

And you also have people who Tweet in the middle of insanity. Try this one on for size, from the BBC, from last night’s Philadelphia train wreck:

“Patrick Murphy, a former US congressman, tweeted that he was on the train when it crashed.

‘Im on @Amtrak train that just crashed. Im ok. Helping others. Pray for those injured,’ he wrote.”


Ah, excuse me, Mister former US congressman, if you’re Tweeting, then you’re not “Helping others”. You’re Tweeting. You’re just dead weight.

If you find yourself involved in an active disaster? Your first duty isn’t to whip out your phone. Your first duty is to help.

Ten seconds lost while you Tweet or snap photos can be the difference between somebody’s life and death.

And trust me; somebody else is going to call for help with their phone. You don’t need to worry about that. When in doubt, just shout something like, “Is anybody calling 911?” while you render aid to others. Studies show 911 gets called by like 40 people. They’ve got that part. You need to take care of the immediate first aid part.

After the initial incident / shock, this is what you need to do:

1) Establish your personal surroundings; chiefly, determine which way is up

2) Check yourself from head to toe for injury; realize that you or part of your body might be in shock; so for the areas of your body you cannot directly see, like the back of your head, touch them and then check your hands to see if blood’s on them; if in darkness, yes, sorry, take out your phone and use it as a light source to see if your hands are bloody; if you think you’re fucked up, see if somebody is around to help you and/or render first aid to yourself

3) If you check yourself and it seems you’re okay; immediately perform the same check on those closest to you; be polite, “Sir / Ma’am, I’m going to check you for injury; I’m going to put my hands on you to make sure you’re okay.”

4) Once you’ve done this, transition to aid those in your general vicinity. Keep doing this nonstop until the emergency responders arrive. Once they’re with you; obey their exact instructions.

This isn’t rocket science, you don’t need to be a doctor or nurse to save somebody’s life. You should always know these basic first aid techniques:

a) Determine if somebody is effectively breathing; and what to do if they’re not

b) Check a person for bleeding; and how to stop it

c) Keep a dude from going into shock

The emergency first responders aren’t going to be there for at least five to ten minutes, minimum. In that timeframe, it’s on you. You’re the only hope a lot of people have. Trust me, very few other people are going to do anything. Studies show like 90% of people involved in a major disaster just mentally lock up. They sit there staring into space. Maybe you’ll be one of them. Maybe not. Who knows how any of us will react in any situation?

But when you have a spare second or two, you can shout out for folks to help. Try and break them out of that mental lock. Or even better, if you see somebody who is otherwise uninjured, directly point at them and be like, “I need your help.” Or whatever, just try and get them engaged. Studies show that when a locked mind sees somebody taking action; they’re naturally inclined to pull their head out of the muck and help. A simple task like holding pressure on a bleeding wound can be done by anybody. And then that frees folks up to help others.

Also to prepare, think of how you’ll respond in the event of a major nightmare. What initial actions will you take? Where are you on the train / blimp / airplane? Where’s the nearest hospital? Who are the young and old around you who might need the most help?

This is not paranoia, it’s proper planning. It’s constant assessment of your surroundings and the risks you’re currently undergoing. Your caveman self used to do this all the time just to survive. You’ve got it in your genetics; so make it happen.

And take a class; make that happen too. Find one in your local jurisdiction; bring your friends; and you all go together. It’ll be fun. It’ll be rather pleasant to know that in the event you suffer horrible injury, that your guys and gals will know how to save you.


And after you’re done you can all go out and get fucked up at the bar together to celebrate your newfound lifesaving knowledge. Who knows, before the night is over, maybe you’ll need to employ those new skills depending on how good the bar is?

Quick, seven people just got hit with bar stools. Injuries abound! Go to work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s