When I was going through Jump School in the Army, we spent a full day under the direction of Colonel Welch in a class called "malfunctions." The course was designed to educate us new paratroopers about every conceivable thing that could possibly go wrong — with the aircraft, with our parachutes, with other jumpers on the plane or in the air.
What do you do if the plane crashes on takeoff? What do you do if the plane catches fire while on the way to the drop zone? What do you do if the engines fail? What do you do if another jumper collapses before making it to the jump door? What do you do if your parachute gets fouled in any number of ways?
We spent about 8 hours being drilled about all the contingencies, because those were the procedures that would save our lives if an emergency happened.
I'm convinced the same concept should be applied to preparing for survival emergencies right here on the ground. Emergency situations come in all shapes and sizes, but having thought about what you would do under a variety of conditions will place you in a better position to survive.
- What would you do if your house caught fire while you were in the basement…or in the attic…or in the bathtub? Any room, for that matter.
- What would you do if you had a flat tire on a dark and stormy night in a bad neighborhood?
- What would you do if a tanker truck overturned on the freeway upwind of your home, spilling toxic chemicals into the atmosphere?
- What would you do if your fishing boat overturned on the lake, dumping you into near-freezing water?
- What would you do if three men wearing ski masks burst through your door and took your wife and children hostage at gunpoint?
- What would you do if a man walked up to your car window while you were stopped at a red light and pointed a gun at you, demanding that you open the door?
- What would you do if your friend suddenly grasped at his chest and collapsed to the floor?
- What would you do if the power was knocked out permanently by an EMP, destroying even your auxiliary power generator?
Okay, I'll stop. But the point I want to make is that it's prudent to consider every eventuality and, inasmuch as possible, prepare yourself to handle them.
You wouldn't want to be a passenger on an airplane being flown by a pilot who had never practiced what to do when an emergency happens. And the same applies to emergencies that happen right here on solid ground.
One final note — during my jump career, I experienced three malfunctions, all of which had been covered in that famous day of training. With precious little time to spare before hitting the ground, my training kicked in and I was able to handle the situations.
Thank you Colonel Welch!