Stay Calm and Take Your Pets With You

Cat hiding

STOP. It will be okay. A positive mental attitude increases not just your chances of survival, but also the survival of those for whom you are responsible – your family, your children and your pets.

During an emergency situation, it is very important that you do not panic. You need to have the right frame of mind to think clearly – when panic sets in, common sense often evaporates. The likelihood of injury and the likelihood of not having the best possible outcome to the situation increase. You need to remind yourself that others depend on you and try to overcome your natural emotions to a stressful situation – fear, anger, frustration, anxiety, guilt, depression – all of these emotions inhibit clear thinking.William_sad eyes

So, the first thing to do when faced with a survival situation – flood waters rising, warnings that a storm is imminent, fire or smoke alarm – STOP. This is an acronym for Sit, Think, Observe, and Plan. Give yourself a few moments to gather your thoughts and plan your escape (time permitting, this may be a few minutes – in a dire situation, it may only be a few seconds). Take a deep breath, look around you and do a quick assessment of your environment, your situation, and your options – now tell yourself, “It will be okay”. Think about what you need to do to get out and get those you love out. Plan your next move. Then, get ready, grab your pets, and go!

For more information on the attitude of survival, check out this interview with Amanda Ripley, author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When a Disaster Strikes—and Why.

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