The people who walk away from catastrophes all have a few things in common. Now you can follow their lead.
Step 1: Have drills Hold drills with your family for fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other disasters until the repetition locks the life-saving behavior into their brain. People react best in an emergency if they’re trained to go on automatic pilot.
TIP: When flying, always listen to the flight attendant’s instructions and read the safety card in your seat pocket, no matter how many times you’ve heard it all before.
Step 2: Be safe, not sorry Don’t waste time debating whether the building is really on fire or not. Get out at the first sign of danger, and ask questions later.
TIP: If you see people frozen with fear, yell at them. This is what flight attendants are trained to do to get shocked passengers to leave a burning plane.
Step 3: Hurry up! For heaven’s sake, hurry up! Amazingly, people are inclined to dawdle during an emergency, rather than acting as quickly as possible.
Step 4: Leave everything behind Leave everything behind. The few seconds you took to grab your iPhone could be the few seconds that cost you your life.
Step 5: Befriend your neighbors Get to know your neighbors. That’s who will be next to you when a catastrophe strikes.
FACT: 'Group think,' where people follow each other and wait for instructions rather than thinking for themselves, is more common in an emergency than stampeding.