The world we currently live in is very unstable. No matter where you go, the threat of a terrorist attack hangs over your head like a dark cloud. While you might not be able to stop an attack, you can learn and develop the skills needed to improve your chance of survival if you’re ever in one. One of the things you should learn is how to survive if you’re caught building collapse. It’s a skill that will help keep you alive during mudslides, tornadoes, gas explosions, soil collapses, structural failure, and earthquakes.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
If you’re caught inside of a collapsed building, the key to your survival is having some important supplies on hand. Create a survival kit. You should keep one in your home and in your workspace, as well as anywhere else that you spend a significant amount of time. Items that need to be in your survival kit include:
• At least 1 gallon of water
• Healthy, non-perishable food
• Cell phone
• Spare batteries
• Radio for communication in case the cell phone doesn’t work
• A first aid kit
• Emergency blanket
• A safety whistle, the louder the better
• Swiss Army knife
• Waterproof matches
• Work gloves
• Emergency poncho
• Light sticks
• Fire extinguisher
• Water purification tablets
• Emergency blankets
• Hand sanitizer
• Hygiene supplies
• Camp stove
• Spare, heavy socks
• Duct tape
• Medication that you need to take on a regular basis
If you have pets, you’ll need to create a kit for them as well which should include:
• Dry food
• Extra water
• Collar and leash
• Medications they require
When stocking your emergency kit, make sure the food and medical stuff has an expiration date that’s at least 5 years away.
Pack enough in your work space emergency kit to get you through 72 hours.
Your Personal Survival Kit
Anyone who lives in an area where natural disasters are a common occurrence, you know that they can destroy an entire city, making the odds you being found by an emergency crew minimal. Surviving the disaster will be up to you which is why you not only need a large disaster emergency survival kit, but also a personal one. This is a small kit that can be kept on your person while you commute or are visiting, or doing any of the other hundred errands that might have you in the middle of town when a disaster strikes.
Items you should keep in your personal survival kit include
• Fingernail clippers
• A Swiss Army Knife
• A compass
• LED flashlight
• Extra battery for your cell phone
• A small, tube tent you can use for shelter
• A Magnesium fire starter
• A signal mirror
• Char cloth
• A small set of screwdrivers
What To Do When the Building your in Starts Crumbling
Don’t expect to get a great deal of advanced warning that the building your in is about to collapse. It’s likely that one moment things will seem fine, and the next everything falls apart. The second you realize there’s a problem, you need to quickly head towards the nearest exit.
The most important thing to remember in this case is to avoid the elevator. Getting into one is the most dangerous things you can do when in a collapsing building. Not only is there the danger of something happening to the cable, causing the elevator to crash to the elevator pit, there’s also the danger that the electricity will go out and you’ll be stuck inside while the elevator shaft crumbles around you. Many feel more people would have survived the attack on the World Trade Center if they’d taken the stair case rather than try to make it down in the elevator.
When Escape Isn’t Possible
If the worse happens and you’re unable to free yourself from the collapsing building, you need to take a deep breath and act quickly.
Don’t lose your cool over the fact you can’t escape. Yes, it’s a terrifying situation, but panicking won’t help you or anyone else right now. Staying calm will. As quickly as possible, take in your surroundings and analyze the situation. Identify the location of the stairwell and get over to it as quickly as possible. You might still have time to make it to safety.
The other reason you shouldn’t panic is that you don’t know how long it will take rescue crews to locate you so you need to conserve as much of your energy as possible. Staying calm keeps your heart rate low, means you use less oxygen which might be in short supply, and will decrease the amount of toxins you inhale.
Look For Cover
One of the biggest dangers of being in a building as it collapses is falling debris. Look for something that’s really sturdy, and curl up beside it. Being beside the furniture allows it to deflect some of the falling debris, eliminates the chances of you getting pinned beneath the furniture if it crumbles beneath a wall. Rescuers refer to the space beside good furniture as the triangle of life. Make yourself as small as possible.
In Case of a Fire
Fire in a collapsing building is a huge problem. Not only does it spread quickly, but there’s also the danger of smoke inhalation. Even if you don’t sense a fire, place a wet cloth over your mouth and nose and try to avoid locations where there are a great deal of plastic moldings or metal which create toxic fumes.
Before Opening a Door
You don’t want the fire to spread, nor do you want to be responsible for spreading an inferno. Before opening a door check to see if it’s warm. If it is, don’t open it. Look for another way out.
Be Careful on Stairwells
If the fire is burning, navigating stairwells can be tricky. Before moving towards the next exit, check to see if there is any smoke coming towards you. The good news is that most modern buildings have been designed so that the stairwell is fireproof and will provide you with safe passage.
Pinned by Fallen Debris
If you get caught beneath debris, your first priority is catching the attention of rescue crews. The best way to do this is intermittently making noise or using your flashlight as a signal beam. Just be careful you don’t get to exuberant and use up all your energy.
If you use noise to attract attention, be cautious. Some alarms have been known to upset the debris so it started falling again.
If you live somewhere where the odds of your being caught in a collapsing building are high, you’ll want to make sure you’re always prepared and that your practice drills once every six months. The purpose of the drills is to familiarize yourself with the best exits and to make sure you’re as ready as you can possibly for a building to crumble around you.