Several years ago I wrote an article titled “What a Great Personality: Knowing Your Disaster Personality”. In this article, among other things, I discussed the 3 steps that every person takes, consciously or subconsciously, when faced with imminent danger. Those 3 steps are denial, deliberation and the decisive moment; as stated in a book written by Amanda Ripley titled “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – And Why”
A lot of us have spent the better part of our lives preparing for some kind of unknown disaster, event or catastrophe, and yet, I can’t help but wonder if and when whatever it is that we think or know is going to happen; or even happens; prepared or not, will we really believe it is here? As an example, I had the honor and privilege of personally meeting the “godfather of prepping”, Dr. William R. Forstchen, the bestselling author of “One Second After” and his new release, the prequel, “One Year After”.He told a story about shortly after the book “One Second After” skyrocketing to fame, as a New York Times Best Seller, one evening while at home with his daughter, a fierce storm began to brew which ultimately knocking out all the power to the house. Instantly, he and his daughter look at one another as if to say; is this it? (referencing the EMP strike in his book), but quickly dismissed it and laughed it off. Denial.
In life, when we aren’t sure of something, many times we aren’t sure what to do about it either - even if we know what to do subconsciously. Let’s say that Dr. Forstchen’s scenario was real. There was an EMP attack that took out all his power, and, that of everything around him. Would he and his daughter do the same things that were written in his book? That they know about or have talked about doing? Or would they just stand there wondering what to do next? Deliberation.
And lastly, a time for action, should they stay or should they go? Ultimately in the face of a disaster or in harm’s way, a decision will have to be made in order to safeguard you, family, property and possessions. How this plays out is anyone’s guess. The Decisive Moment.
Now, consider this, within each of our households there will be multiple personalities (no, I don’t mean in the same person) – that will be mentally going through these exact three steps – everyone – all at once. Let’s use the EMP example again. One member of the household may have their emergency bag on their back and ready to head out the door; with the excitement that “it’s finally here”. Another may panic and protest that they are not going anywhere before they call and talk with (fill in the blank - a boyfriend, their mother, the pastor) not realizing telephone lines are now a thing of the past; while another member may go totally catatonic and freeze not able to move. And one may begin to grabbing things and shoving them into bags without any thought as to what they are grabbing or why.
As part of your preparedness plan, begin to watch how others in your family, friends, or in your preparedness group respond and react to different types of stressful situations. Observe how these people go through the 3 mental steps (which by the way are seconds to minutes). If a tree were to come crashing down onto the roof of their house, would they calmly grab their emergency bags, hop in the car and go to their “safe-destination”? Or, would they rush around the house like a bunch of crazed people screaming out orders to one another? Or, if out on a practice perimeter defense maneuvers with the preparedness group, and confronted with a snake, is it game over for them with the war cry “I’m outta here” or would they respond appropriately as practiced? Or if at work and there is a small fire in the kitchen – a burnt burrito, would they scream “everyone out of the building a fire” or calmly go get the fire extinguisher and put the fire out?
The brain is the strongest muscle in the body. Remember everyone goes through these 3 steps if in harm’s way and this may determine what could happen anywhere around you – home, work, shopping, and appointments - anywhere. Knowing these steps, and that we all go through them, may ultimately determine whether you live or die.
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