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What NOT to do in disaster/emergency

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From the BBC:



It tells of 5 things that keep us from reacting as we should in a sudden disaster/emergency


1.  Freeze!

2.  Inability to THINK

3. Tunnel Vision

4.  Stuck in routine

5.  Denial


Y'all know that I LOVE logic!  .....however that doesn't necessarily guarantee that I always think logically or even choose logical behavior.  Sometimes that is by outright choice....not to behave logically.  :yum3:  Jelly doughnuts, anyone?  :rolleyes:  


Other times, it's not on purpose AT ALL!    :blink:    I've told this story before ....about our FIRST wildfire evac.  I found myself spinning LITERALLY in circles.  Because I was trying to do 3 or more things all at the same time!  In that instance, I was able to pull up from the spin....STOP....and tell myself out loud "Choose ONE....they all have the same importance!"  It worked.  {good thing....much more of that spinning and I'd be throwing up on the floor! }  ;)


I will say that it never happened again in gazillion times we've got the animals and ourselves READY TO EVAC from wildfire.  Wildfire became familiar and much more routine.  Still always horrible and terrifying tho...  :runcirclsmiley2:


I've mentioned this one too, I think.  After years of seeing no violence up here on our mountain, I saw an incident of fairly minor violence ....in my church parking lot!  My brain could not compute.  Tooooo incongruous!  I kept searching for better reasons for what my eyes were seeing.  :sigh:   In another era of my life, I'd have jumped into that situation and de-escalated it promptly.  I regret I did not in that one.  Out of practice and it made a difference! 


And of course....it's all about our own lives and ways we may or may not react to a sudden UPSET of Our Normal. 


MtRider  :pc_coffee:

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The conclusion appears to support what MrsS has been doing all along with her "What if" scenarios. :wub:



“Survival training isn’t so much about training people what to do – you’re mostly training them not to do certain things that they would normally think to do,” says John Leach, a psychologist at the University of Portsmouth...


What NOT to do:

  1. Freeze - it’s a last-ditch attempt to stop a predator from spotting us. But in a disaster, fighting this [response-].......is vital to survival.
  2. Inability to Think Even at the best of times, our brains are disconcertingly slow – while disasters are rapid. ... it all comes down to the way we make decisions. ... In a disaster, the speed at which we think through our options goes from bad to worse. ... 
  3. Tunnel Vision - A typical response to disaster is so-called “perseveration” – attempting to solve a problem in a single way, again and again and again, regardless of the results. 
  4. Staying Stuck in Routine - it refers to the disconcerting phenomenon of continuing with everyday routines, even when, for instance, your home is on fire. So why can’t we turn these unconscious reflexes off?  New situations are extremely mentally taxing, as we work to build up a new model of the world around us – a fact which may explain why we tend to feel so tired when we’re abroad or first start a new job. In an emergency, adjusting to the new situation can be more than our brains can take. Instead, we tend to just press on as though nothing is happening. 
  5. Denial At the extremes, this extends to completely ignoring the danger altogether. ... denial usually happens for two reasons; either because they fail to interpret the situation as dangerous, or because they simply don’t want to. ... When the stakes are high, our brains tend to rely more on feeling than fact, banishing stressful thoughts and reassuring ourselves by explaining away the danger. 

What You Should Do in a Disaster

...surviving a natural disaster is about having a plan. ... the best way around the mental fallout is to replace unhelpful, automatic reactions with ones that could save your life. “You have to practice and practice until the survival technique is the dominant behavior." 

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MS has two things that seem to increase in us more than the normal population. 


We're quite familiar with the term "perseveration".    As in: persevere...carry on...   It's not just mental.  In us...it has a physical component.  If I whack my toe on the stupid desk chair legs once....I might end up doing it twice more in the same day.  Somehow, physically....I'm taking the same [wrong] route each time and am off by an inch or two...WHACK!  The term: WHY DO I KEEP DOING THAT?!?  is an MS wail.  :gaah:


Another example is typing or writing the word "of" .....but somehow my brain reprogrammed for "ove" twenty years ago.  :sassing:    And I can't completely extract that programming when I'm tired.   Grrrrrrr!


But if one does not veer off course like in MS,  it can be a benefit!   Perseveration ...as a product of practicing [mentally and physically] good survival responses over and over to be able to do it automatically even under horrid conditions.....is a GOOD THING!  If you haven't practiced for emergencies, you might just keep doing your normal routines which are not appropriate to the current drastic situation. 



MtRider  ....'course I can't think of the other thing those of us with MS do that is particularly peculiar  :scratchhead:    :grinning-smiley-044:


Edited by Mt_Rider
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:)   I'm tired too.  Can't remember what that stands for.....tho I've seen in many times.  Ack!


DuckDuckGo'ed it:  observe-orient-decide-act,    Seeeee!  I'd get stuck trying to remember what comes next and what 'O' stands for.  :lol:   


But it was 'D' that I got stuck on in Fire EVAC.....so went back to Orient .... decided none took precedence over the others so just 'A' already!!!! 


MtRider  :offtobed: 

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Mt. Rider  :hug3:.  Some of the mental issues you describe happens to older non MS people too. I don't have MS but I can relate to many of the things you describe. Maybe the MS brain and the senior brain share some of the same components? I'm not really comparing the two. Just noting some of the similarities. And in my case, add in some ADD and stir in a little OCD mixed with my senior brain and you have a recipe for... :cheeky-smiley-067:


I haven't been an a real life/death situation so I'm not sure how I'd react. I'm talking about a mass disaster type of event. In regular personal traumatic situations I seem to be calm and a take charge kind of person. In those cases 'control issues' kick in and I'm at my best. I become Alpha Woman. On a day to day basis I'm more of Scatter Brain Woman. 


Having said that, I have been involved in a few emergency incidents and took charge and got people to the ER in a calm manner. One my son and one my husband. Both bleeding profusely. Grabbed a wash cloth got them in the car and drove off. When I was in two car crashes I told the paramedics to check the other guys first even though it was their fault both times. So I'm a 'fall apart later' type of person. I'm also a care taker type too. I'll listen to your problem and try to solve it for you. Not always what people want in a friend.  :blush:

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Exactly right, Jeepers.  MS has always been known as "Premature Aging" ....due to the similarities of malfunction.  .....  <_<   Then we throw in a few EXTRA MS-specific things.  I've always said that I've been functioning like I'm 80 yrs old....beginning when I was not quite 40.  It's a long time to be 80 years old.  And judging from my healthy parents.....the fun REALLY begins at about 82 years old!  :balloons:    Not. 


It was quite odd.....to reach certain OLD issues BEFORE my parents did.  By about 78 they'd say....oh now we know what you meant by.....x, y, or z.  And a few more when they were early 80's.  It's only been in the past couple years, as they near and reach 90's, that THEY are reaching some aging markers ahead of me.  Weird.  :scratchhead:  Honestly, I've been able to coach them as they reach these markers.  And buy them the appropriate adaptive equipment ...canes and such....and make sure they are using them properly.  Cuz I'm NOT the new kid on this block.  :rolleyes:  


I've been in a lot of emergencies and do the same as you, Jeepers.....take charge unless there is someone that outranks me and does take charge.  I do not follow directions of Stupid.  Neither will I stand around waiting for Leader.  I've always said I'm "Radar" ..as in M.A.S.H.   But if Col. Blake/Potter isn't available...I'll fill in.  I know their lines anyway.  ;)   Having spent the great majority of the past 2 decades alone out here with lions/coyotes/bears...and ice...  ya pretty much have to be self-sufficient/self-directed.    I just have to make sure I know all I can learn and REMEMBER about the likely crisis I have out here.


MtRider  :pc_coffee: 

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Runs in the family.  :shrug:  DH constantly says he told me, or you knew that... I recognize faces, but can’t recall names anymore, forget where to go, get lost while driving,  maybe just age catching up with me.  I shouldn’t have said anything, sorry.

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Don't be sorry, Annarchy.   It's a horribly rough diagnosis....and frankly, I don't know the difference between Alzheimer's and "dementia". 


But this is when I knew my dad was going a step beyond old age: 


It wasn't forgetting if he ate breakfast.  It wasn't when he couldn't remember what year they built the "new house" on the farm.  Or even how many grandkids their friends had.  Or where on EARTH you put this or that....  :gaah:   Or something you did every day in a job 20 yrs ago but can't figure it out now cuz you HAVEN'T done it since....  It's not when you leave one room and go to another and ..... :scratchhead:   What did I come in here for?     [I've done THAT since I was a child...a family joke!] 


It's not even if you begin to spell "of"  ...."ove"   :buttercup:  Tho that IS an odd one. 


It was when my dad came out of the bedroom on the main floor of their house......the room my mom was using at that point while she recovered from hip surgery.  It's right there between the living room and the bathroom on that floor.  He looked at me and said...." so.....is that our spare room then?"


When you've lived in the house 30 yrs....you designed the house.....and you get disoriented in your own home.....it is longer common old age stuff.  That's when we knew....  :(  


MtRider   :pray:  .....lost while driving in very familiar areas would begin to be scary.  :hug3:  

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Don't be sorry Annie, we all care about you and what you are going through. Seems like we all have something going on health wise. Sigh. 


My short term memory is shot. I don't think I have Alzheimer's or dementia...yet. I can function pretty well but I have problems remembering words. The funny thing is they usually come back to me within about 10 minutes. I go in rooms and forget why too. I usually remember a few minutes later. When shopping I have a routine. I always try to park in the same aisle every. single. time. Otherwise I'd be roaming around the lot looking for the Jeep until the store closed down. 


Recently I've noticed I'm very forgetful with a video game I'm playing. Very long story short...I have to manufacture goods to sell for 'money'. I look to see how many I have in stock then go to the field to see what is growing. Over and over again I can't remember which fruit/veg I'm supposed to be checking on. This happens numerous times in one game session. And I can't even think about it. My mind goes totally blank. No thought process at all going on in there at all. I try to play a lot of different types of computer games to keep my mind engaged. 


Not to mention my balance is totally off recently. I'm sure I look drunk many times. Walls have become my friend. Steps are still giving me issues. I've learned how to crawl up them when I need to though. I put my knees on one step and my elbows on the next step up. That way I can use my arm muscles to pull myself up and the bottoms of my feet to push up. I can make it about half way up the steps the regular way and the other half on knees and elbows. Less chance of falling that way too.


Next house will be better. Not one step inside the house. Only 2 steps to get inside and I could possibly have a ramp built inside the garage later on If needed. 

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7 hours ago, Jeepers said:


Not to mention my balance is totally off recently. I'm sure I look drunk many times.



Do you know, Jeepers.....the MAIN reason I began using a "Third Point of Reference"  [ aka: cane ]  was so I wouldn't be the talk of the island...y'know, that drunk woman!  :gathering:      I really wasn't leaning on it then.  But It was a touch point.  And it was good practice for when I did need to balance and lean a little more.....a little more.  


"Cane Tips":  Never put a cane on top of the car as you're fussing with getting in.....  :grinning-smiley-044:   Always have a special place for the cane in the car and in each room.......the top-heavy things fall over!  A LOT!  It also insures that you don't close the awkward thing in the car door.  :busted:    Learn how not to trip yourself....... or your companions.  :whistling:  


LOL  Tonite I walked dog thru field  [cuz needed to get more straw for ducks from hay barn over that way].  But got out on that COMPLETELY UNEVEN terrain and....I didn't have my walking stick.  [aka:  ski pole ]  Had to wrestle an old branch from the big bushes out there.  THEN Mz Koa wanted to play with it.  MINE!  Git yer own!  :rolleyes:  When we came back, I stuck it strategically back into the bush...so it would be handy the next time that happens.  Not often but I do NEED that extra when walking in snow and turf and old piles of "horse products"......  


MtRider  :pc_coffee:

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1 hour ago, Mt_Rider said:



Do you know, Jeepers.....the MAIN reason I began using a "Third Point of Reference"  [ aka: cane ]  was so I wouldn't be the talk of the island...y'know, that drunk woman!  :gathering:      I really wasn't leaning on it then.  But It was a touch point.  And it was good practice for when I did need to balance and lean a little more.....a little more.  



 How familiar!  I always take my cane when I go outside the house.  My gait is so bad that I scare folks thinking I am about to fall over.  I still get many offers of assistance, but I usually make light of it, telling them I'm not hurt or ill, but I am very crooked.  Chairs everywhere in strategic places (with arms to help getting up and down).  My kitchen stool - just the right height for cooking, doing dishes, etc - but low so I can use legs for balance & comfort.  The hardest part for me is asking strangers for help.  You know..."I just had surgery, not supposed to lift more than 5 pounds, can you put that turkey in the scooter basket for me, please?"  I also use my cane to hook things down from upper shelves, and have got pretty good at catching them on the way down.  Haven't broken a jar in a year.  We picked our mobile home and had it placed to avoid steps, though we have a hilly yard a hill is more like a ramp so it is all good.


But as far as worrying about emergencies or disasters....Pffft, we ain't 'fraid of no disasters at our house either.  We already live low to no tech, so if power goes out, no biggie.  We just sleep when it is dark and work when it is light (duh!).  Plenty of wood for cooking, especially when using the thermal wraps to effectively slow cook multiple dishes at once while saving fuel and avoiding cooking smells (and the pests they attract). One of my longer term plans is to have a water well with a hand pump in the yard  (our water table is high here) perhaps even have the existing old well (we have a pump house) checked and adapted for hand pumping.  No electricity, no problemo.  But that is for the future.  This winter we plan to clear a shooting range in the back part of our lot to keep our skills sharp - we have a wonderful embankment for an effective bullet stop.  I cant pull a bow any more, but I am considering a crossbow for quiet hunting (shots attract predators, human and otherwise in these parts),  and I need to learn to shoot the shotgun from the hip as my bad shoulder precludes holding it up in the usual way.  We learned trapping as an alternative (and quiet) way to get meat (many furbearers are good eating as well as having nice warm pelts, and if they are pests, all the better, nobody cares if you trap them).  I know how to sew clothing in cloth and leather, mend harness, and even brain-tan deerhides and we have a long deer season here.  I think rural living helps hone prep-steading skills but we have also practiced them when we lived in a city setting (much to some of the neighbors' delight, and others consternation, LOL.)  Yes, we have old age issues thrown on top of that, but no biggie, we simply (to quote a line from a movie I saw) "improvise, adapt, persevere"....and keep cracking corny jokes to keep our spirits up.  I feel sorry for those who have no clue or plan for "just in case"...but here, I am preaching to the choir, aren't I?  If anybody asks, I just tell them that learning new skills keeps the brain sharp!  None of their business if/when/how I prep.



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I followed a lady home one time to tell her her cane was on top of the car. Poor thing. I followed her home, honked my horn at the stop sign to get her attention and then pulled into her driveway. She probably felt threatened but we had a good laugh anyway. 


I'm not looking forward to walking on snow this year. I'll avoid it as much as possible but sometimes you have to get out and go. Wish my body had 4 wheel drive like my Jeep. :rolleyes:

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Anne,  We all forget things at times.  I can''t remember names like I used to but can remember faces.  Sometimes I think it just comes with old age but it doesn't always mean you are getting dementia or Alzheimers.. My problem with not being able to remember things is because when I has surgery a few years ago,  I stopped breathing on them. Found out they had to do CPR and then they had a hard time getting me to wake up.. That caused me to have short term memory loss. So don't think that because you for get sometimes means you are getting Alzheimers or dementia.. It could just be an age related thing.  It happens to all of us at some point in time.

I will be praying for you.  

Jeepers, DH has really bad balance.  He now uses a cane as well. 

Mt. Rider, falling down is not allowed. Be careful out there.

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I prefer to believe that a slower memory is because we have so much more data to sift thru than when we were younger....I have NEVER been good at putting names with faces or remembering names.  I am more oriented to sound - I remember voices much quicker.  But my "central processing unit" (brain)  is a bit slower which can be aggravating or scary if I let it get to me.  But there are so MANY causes - menopause can make you dotty, for heavens' sake - or long term sleep loss - or lack of coffee - bad nutrition - poor circulation - medications - 

 and on and on and on.  

So I cant do calculus anymore.  Didn't like it anyhow.







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Jeepers..........well if I need "4-wheel drive for my body I use Koa.  As in going up the stairs.  Or is that 6 wheel drive?  :lol:   But actually, if I need 3-wheel drive = 1 cane.  4 wheel drive for going over rough terrain or steep hills = 2 canes.  One stick cane and one seat cane .....for sitting down right quick when I get to the top!  ;) 


Little Sister......oh yeah, falling is allowed. Pffttt!  That's nothing to me.  ;)   It's falling BADLY that shouldn't be done.  :grinning-smiley-044:    I fall pretty much once a week but they are all nothing.....except once in a great while.  This one....DH was laughing as I described hanging onto that dumb broom for dear life - as if it would hold me up!  :rolleyes:    Instead, that was the reason I have jammed fingers on both hands.  Not too bad...a few ouches today.  Falls that are ice-assisted....whew!  Pure reflex.....no time to think at all.  And yes....we're having a storm and it will leave even more snow/ice.  Careful, for sure!


Kappy...I read a study once that verifies the theory that old folks have so much memory in storage, it can't help but get jumbled/lost.  Well I'd like the option of which memories to put down in the basement and which to keep right up in the front room!  :lol:  


MtRider  :offtobed: 

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Speaking of panic and other NOT useful emotions or patterns in times of emergency......does anyone have strategies for breaking thru panic/etc.  Like as a couple, you know each other and know how to snap the other "out of it"?  Or as a family, you have code words for "THIS IS SERIOUS; KNOCK IT OFF AND LISTEN!"   Or any other strategies?


MtRider  .....one of my stories in Fireside has a family code for verification:  Snickerdoodle! 

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