While Jon and Linda were on a recent camping trip to Glacier National Park, they encountered a huge bear jumping over rocks along a river bank and heading straight toward the bridge they were about to cross. Thankfully, they were on the far side of a bridge (although only about 60′ away), and even though the bear saw them, he didn’t chase them. So, Jon & Linda scooped up the girls and did what you’re not supposed to do…turned their backs and hurried away as quickly and quietly as possible! I’ve been thanking the Lord every morning and evening since for his protection of them in what could have ended in a horrifying disaster, and the terror of seeing a bear was still on my mind when I read an article on how to respond to crises called “Save Your Own Life.”* With the summer holidays upon us, I thought it might be worth passing along a few tips that were new to me and might also be helpful for you:
Crisis: You meet a large animal in a foul mood who is eying you up
A. Look as large and impressive as possible, face the animal, make loud noises, and back away slowly. Keep any children behind you and away from the animal.
B. If the animal attacks, use a stick, rock, fists or anything you can as a weapon and fight back, concentrating on the animal’s snout.
C. They make bear repellent pepper sprays (different from that used on human attackers). You might want to take some with you.
Crisis: Your car is sinking in a large body of water
A. If it’s a flash flood, stay in your car and let it be your boat. As soon as it hits something stable and you can, climb out to safety.
B. If it’s so deep you’ll submerge for sure (like a lake or deep river), open a window or door and exit immediately.
C. In either case, consider being prepared with a key chain vehicle escape tool (for breaking windows and cutting apart jammed seat belts). You can get one for about $10 (available at hardware stores or on line).
Crisis: You feel like you’re going to pass out and are alone
A. Immediately call 911 for help if you can.
B. If you’re in a car, pull off the road, unlock the door but don’t get out; lie down on seat in “recovery position.”
C. If you’re not in a car, lie down away from any traffic in a “recovery position,” which means lying on your side with your bottom arm extended out from your body and your top arm bent 90°, your top wrist draped over your bottom arm at the elbow, and your top leg draped over your bottom leg. This will keep you from rolling.
Crisis: While driving, you suddenly realize you’re going to be hit or hit something
A. Minimize the impact by trying to hit at an angle, and aim for the back rather than the front of the object (just in case you’re lucky enough to miss as it keeps moving).
B. Focus on where you want to go as the best safety route, not at the object. We tend to move toward what we see.
Crisis: Your car dies in the desert, and you’re alone
A. Prepare: If you’re going to be going through long stretches of arid land, always bring water: 2 gallons per person per day is ideal, along with some salty snacks.
B. It’s also important to make sure your tire pressure is correct for super hot conditions. The #1 cause of breakdowns is blow outs caused by intense heat.
C. “Be smart with your sweat.” Cover up. Keep out of the sun. (Consider carrying a golf umbrella.) Stay with your vehicle for shade and protection. Open the doors and put up the hood so people know you need help. Don’t leave the vehicle and road searching for help. People can last up to 48 hours…and a car is likely to come by in less than 2 days.
Crisis: During a flight, the pilot announces an emergency landing
A. People sitting behind the wings have the best chance for survival: 69%. So, you might prepare ahead by taking one of the seats nearer to the rear.
B. Prepare with appropriate travel dress: long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy shoes.
C. Count the rows to the nearest exit and know if it’s in front or behind you; you may have to get there through a dark, smoke-filled cabin.
Crisis: Someone is pointing a gun at you
A. If it’s a robbery, don’t challenge them, just give them the goods. If you think they might shoot you, don’t go for their gun, fake an illness and then bolt, running in a zigzag beeline to the nearest safety, putting cars or other objects between you.
B. If you hear shots, believe that they are gun shots and take action immediately to find cover by running away from the sound. Even if the shooter sees you, it’s hard to hit an unpredictable target, so run for cover.
[Jon and Linda did NOT stop to take pictures of the bear! All of these pictures were taken at happier moments. I took the pictures of the bears here in GR at the John Ball Zoo. The picture of the bear rearing up is from the June/July issue of The AARP Magazine, as were all the safety tips (“Save Your Own Life,” pp. 42-48).]