We live in an uncertain world. Tsunami’s in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand, bombings in England and the US, shootings in Norway. Increasingly, people are becoming aware of how vulnerable they are. Many times it’s using your survival skills during a disaster that pulls you through.

So what are these skills and how can you obtain them?

Firstly it’s essential to prepare yourself and your family mentally for a Survival Skills crisis moment. Discuss the issues amongst your friends and family. Talk about what would happen if you were faced with a lifetime event. How would you cope? Just being aware that these things can happen without warning and to anyone establishes a train of thought around what would you do if it happened?

You must be careful not to scare anyone. Talk about where you would meet if separated, where you could leave a message, how you could contact each other when there are no phones, no internet and no power. It’s at times like these the homes of your family and friends become places of refuge and connection. When the city was partly destroyed in Christchurch, New Zealand, hundreds of people became homeless overnight when the earthquake shook their homes to pieces. The government struggled to cope. People wandered around aimlessly looking for each other and not knowing what to do. Eventually many ended up at the homes of family and friends, even neighbours pitched in to provide food and temporary accommodation.

Survival skills during a disaster include first aid. Do you know how to stop bleeding, immobilize a broken limb, cope with extensive burns, deal with facial lacerations and amputate a limb to set a survivor free from a collapsed building? The survivors of disasters are often faced with tough decisions. Take a first aid course. Learn the basic skills of dealing with trauma. Try learning meditation, anxiety management and other mental disciplines that will help you cope when your office building collapses around you, your coalmine traps you, a gunman goes berserk in your school.

The media has made us more than aware of the things that can happen in our world. Even school children face the horror of natural disasters in their news discussion. And how can they avoid the television or the radio reports or indeed being there on you tube.

Once you have your emotions under control, dealt with any immediate physical threat, stabilized your immediate environment you then need to think about surviving the next 24 hours. Food I not as important as water. You can supply for many days without food but water is near essential. Look in the water heater, the toilet cistern, the cafeteria drinks machines. Save the water you find and consume it very slowly. A sip now and then is best to conserve your water as long as possible.