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How to Handle Escaping an Emergency Situation Safely

We often talk about bugging out. Whether it’s what gear to pack or where to run off to, it’s normally about escaping. Yet there’s one kind of escaping we haven’t covered: emergencies. Let’s say there’s a fire, an earthquake, natural disaster or something that puts you in immediate danger. You don’t need a three-day survival bag for that. So what do you do?

Well, that depends on the situation. All buildings are required to be up to a certain safety standard when it comes to safety. Fire alarms and escape routes are a few easy examples. In the event of a fire, following building procedure is usually the best thing to do. But then there are outliers. What if the structure collapses to a degree or a fire spreads over a path, limiting your exit?

Keep Calm

I’ll be frank, I hate those “keep calm and ____” memes you see online. The original message was intended to actually be a helpful message to those in intimidating situations, not to express a love of chocolate frappes. But I digress. You SHOULD keep calm. Panic is the number one danger in most emergencies. People act strangely when they freak out. They can become unpredictable and sometimes just dangerous. If you stay calm, you can act with the best intention and the least mistakes. Try and remember this when faced with stressful situations.

Know The Plan

No, I don’t mean your own mental plan. Familiarize yourself with what the building regulations are. They’re required to display emergency exit routes. As you move throughout an unfamiliar building, make note of the fire extinguishers, the emergency doors, and escape routes. If you already know them, you won’t need to rush to find them when you need them. This includes remembering alternate exits should the main one be inaccessible.

Do What You Can, Nothing More

This is a weird combination of “don’t be a hero” and “take charge.” While you shouldn’t endanger your own life, your knowledge of an area or situation may be what the panicked people around you need. Commanding others to head to the correct exit when they look lost could be the guidance they need. So help out, but don’t die doing it.

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