6 rules for surviving any disaster
If a Merchant Marine, amateur boxer, MMA fighter, EMT, professional sailor, and wildland firefighter stays up at night worrying about surviving the apocalypse, what hope have you of making it through end times?
"What if you have the gene and are immune to the flu and don't get it as bad as me? There's a lot of luck involved in survival, for sure," says Sam Sheridan, who spent an immersive year crash-coursing survival techniques to pen The Disaster Diaries: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Apocalypse (out today via The Penguin Press). "Just don't be the guy who gets lucky, but then freezes to death because he doesn't know how to make a fire."
Disaster Diaries is a must-read for doomsday preppers, but also for readers interested in facing the challenges of their daily lives with more mettle. (Want to build a mind and a body of steel? Try The New Spartacus Workout and feel the burn!)
As for who will really make it through the end of the world? Hipsters. "Maybe shit strikes the Earth everywhere but San Francisco," Sheridan laughs, "and the world reinvents itself with men in funny hats and fancy mustaches."
Let's hope not. But if a disaster should strike in the near future, here's how to survive it--sans mustache.
1. Calm the Heck Down
"There are all these fantasies going on about the apocalypse, mostly because of film and TV. Oh, I'm going to be this heroic character with a shotgun and a backpack and it's all just gonna work out. When you get into the reality of things, you have to have tools to handle the fear and stress of the situation. This guy Jeff Cooper, about 50 years ago, came up with a color code to classify a person's stress level. White means you're all good, up to red, which means you're fighting. Then there's condition black, which means your pre-frontal cortex has shut down, your reasoning is destroyed, and you're not really functional. Obviously, you don't want to be in that place. So having some stress management skills--breathing, yoga, working out, relaxation techniques--are really important to keep your wits about you. Find out the 6 Spots Stress Hides in Your Body.
2. Be A Good Man
"The real take-home for me is that survival has a moral component. A lot of people don't believe that, but sociologists who studied concentration camps and the gulag know this for sure. You have to look out for each other if you're going to survive. The people that maintain their human dignity do better and survive longer and build community. The need to help a stranger is just as important as the need to be helped. Those things are missing from our understanding of how to survive a disaster, but trust me on this: be good to people. You don't wanna be the guy shooting the first guy on your property. Community is stronger than the individual, so look out for your fellow man."
3. Bust the Bunker
"The bunker mentality is really dangerous. A bunker makes you feel like you're really safe and people get emotionally involved with this bunker they've put $50,000 into, but then the disaster that actually happens requires being on the move. A lot of guys don't leave the bunker, and that's the end of it for them. In certain situations, a bunker will save your life. Other times, it'll kill you if you don't leave." Preparing your bunker may not be worth it, but these renovations will make you rich!
4. Be Ready for Anything
"If you're on the East Coast, you're looking at Hurricane Sandy becoming, more likely, an annual event. If you're on the West Coast, you know there's an 80 percent chance The Big One's coming in the next 30 years. Zombies? Less likely. Aliens? Less likely. But if you can accept that aliens are here and things have changed, you won't be as frozen when an earthquake strikes. You have to accept that shit will happen and remain flexible to get through it all. It's a good idea to entertain a lot of different scenarios. The more you entertain, the less shocked you'll be when something horrible happens. You're not gonna see it coming, that's the whole trick of it." Click here for the 8 Survival Tools You Must Have on Hand.
5. Have a Go Bag
"It's hard to say what makes the best go bag. I mean, what's the best screwdriver to have? It depends on what your situation is. If you're in California, the thing you most want to have is water--all the water you can store--and a good, comfortable pair of shoes. But if you're in Michigan, you're gonna need to have warmth first so you don't die of exposure. Think of your go bag like you're getting ready for a really long camping trip. A good, basic rule for a go bag is what the Boy Scouts call the 10 essentials: a pocket knife, a first aid kit, some extra clothes, rain gear, a flashlight, some trail food, water, matches, sun block, maps, and a compass. That'll get you through a minute."
6. Be Cool
"The truth is, we're all facing a personal disaster: we're gonna die. You can't be too scared about any of this because dying is the one thing that's guaranteed for all of us." Improve you outlook: Remember the 40 Unwritten Rules to Live By.
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