Posted By OmniSwami on October 2, 2012
I think that it’s important to have clearly defined priorities in advance of any potential emergency situation. One of the foundational steps required for survival preparedness is to know what you must do first is an emergency situation. So, today, I’d like to start a discussion on the hierarchy of priorities in survival situations.
To make things simple, I’ve defined three key survival priority categories, they are: Security, Essentials, and Comfort. In any emergency situation you may encounter, these are three key areas you will need to address. It does not matter what the type of emergency is. It does not matter the duration of the emergency. These prioritized categories apply for every emergency situation, from car accidents to earthquakes.
Survival Priority 1 – Security
To survive, you must be in a physically safe and secure environment. This is the highest priority of them all. If you are in a dangerous environment that threatens your health or your life, you must address this immediately. Without safe and secure immediate surroundings, you may not get the opportunity to even worry about food or water.
If your car stalls on the train tracks, I guarantee that your first concern is not going to be about finding viable drinking water. You’re going to try to restart that car right-quick, and if that doesn’t happen, you should be scrambling out of that car to safety. Likewise, you wouldn’t start hunting for food in a mine field.
Flight attendants will inform you to immediately put on your own oxygen mask in the event the plane’s cabin depressurizes. This is a good example of securing your immediate physical environment. If the plane is going down, you’ll probably have a better chance of survival if you aren’t passed out from oxygen deprivation.
Your immediate environment must be safe and secure. This must be your first priority in all survival situations. If you are in a place where you safety is threatened, you need to get out of that place, then address your needs for essentials like food, water, and shelter.
Unfortunately, you can only do so much planning ahead when it comes to ensuring you are in a safe, secure physical environment. There simply are too many variables that can occur to render a once safe place, unsafe. For example, we are taught early on to have a fire escape plan for our home. Our primary and backup escape plans may not be viable in an actual fire situation. We cannot plan for everything; we may need to be adaptive and spontaneous in our planning.
Survival Priority 2 – Essentials
From a survival standpoint, essentials consist of any physical resource you require to sustain your life (or your loved ones’ lives) for the duration of the emergency. What is considered an essential in an emergency situation can be dependent on that particular emergency situation, but obviously, we all need food, water, and shelter to survive. Medication may or may not be considered an essential. If you are taking a medication to stay alive, yeah, you’re going to need to have an ample supply or access to it.
Once you are in a safe, secure, non-threatening environment, essentials are your next highest-priority. You will not survive long without the essentials.
Survival Priority 3 – Comfort
The lowest priority in survival situations is comfort. We must be in safe, secure surroundings with the essential necessities prior to even considering comfort. That being said, being comfortable is still important, especially in long-term survival or emergency situations. Being comfortable, especially in times of distress or emergency will improve our morale and overall physical condition. Having familiar comforts helps us maintain our psychological health.
What we consider a comfort is dependent upon the individual. It could be something as small as having a favorite doll for your child, or as big as air-conditioning and a soft bed to sleep in. What you will find is that in emergency or disaster survival situations, sometimes seemingly insignificant comforts have a tremendous impact in our emotional well-being. So, do not discount comfort as a priority in survival situations, because it is a priority to be comfortable.
Be Prepared and Know What Your Priorities Are
Having a clear understanding of what your priorities are before an emergency occurs is of the utmost importance. You do not want to be scurrying about, rushing at the last moment, to figure out what it is you need to focus on when you are in the midst of a survival situation. Plan ahead. Make the time to prepare as best you can for an emergency.
You do not need to be precise here. Trying to make accommodations for any possible unforeseen emergency is a waste of time and energy; living in fear of the unknown is no way to live your life. Be smart about it. If you live in a geographic area known to have earthquakes, then adjust your planning to account for that. If you are in a hurricane zone, take that into account. What are the special geographic, environmental, or natural threats to your safety? What emergencies are most-likely to occur near you? Use the most probable situation as your starting point when planning.
Always know that your priorities in a survival situation need to be your focus.