1. How to Survive a Terrorist Attack
Following the Paris attacks of November 2015, the BBC surveyed survival experts and came away with confidence-building advice.
- Get in the habit of casing the room: In the attack on the Bataclan concert hall, a security guard led a group of people to safety through a fire exit left of the stage. But there won’t always be a guard to help. Make a point of identifying emergency exits for yourself.
- Make yourself smaller: “Where there’s cover from sight, there’s cover from gunfire,” advises Ian Reed, a British military instructor and chief executive of the Formative Group security firm. Hard cover such as a concrete wall is the best option. If there’s no cover available, play dead.
- “Run, hide, tell”: In its report on “dynamic lockdowns,” the U.K. government’s advice is to run if there is a safe route out. If you can’t run, hide. If you escape, immediately tell an official what’s happening. Separate from gathering crowds; always assume there’s going to be a secondary action.
- Be a team player: It’s the most efficient way for a group to evacuate and avoid jams. Social psychologist Chris Cocking says most people are likely to try to help one another even in extreme situations—like the group of people who cooperated to escape the Bataclan via skylight.
2. How to Survive a Layoff
The best thing you can do with your time (besides look for a new job, of course): Play ball! According to a happiness study from the University of Alberta, participating in physical activity increases life satisfaction three times as much as being unemployed reduces it.
3. How to Survive Being Stranded in the Wilderness
As the longtime editor of many of the Reader’s Digest survival stories, Beth Dreher learned a lot about how to stay alive in dire circumstances. Here, she gives us her most important how-to’s:
- Find water: As the subjects of my stories know too well, you can last only about four days without water. To ward off dehydration, search for animals, birds (especially songbirds), insects (especially honeybees), and green vegetation, all of which can indicate that water is nearby. Rock crevices may also hold small caches of rainwater.
- Find food: You can survive up to three weeks without food, but a growling stomach will set in much sooner. These four items are always edible: grass, cattails, acorns, and pine needles. A simple rhyme can help you identify safe-to-eat berries: “White and yellow, kill a fellow. Purple and blue, good for you.”
- Brave an animal ambush: We’ve all read about bear and shark attacks. But what about an aggressive wolf or deer? Regardless of species, stand your ground. Running will trigger the animal’s chase mentality, and unless you’re trying to avoid a snake, you won’t be able to run fast enough.