How to act in a survival situation!


With the news of the recent terrorist attacks in London still fresh, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you a really helpful article with some basic instructions on how to act in a survival situation in order to survive or stay safe.

It is very difficult to confuse a stressful situation with a survival one. So before we begin, we need to identify what a survival situation is and when to act when dealing with one.

The little bird covered in cow shit

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was.

The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, promptly dug him out and ate him.

Moral of the story:

  • (1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
  • (2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
  • (3) And when you’re in deep shit, it’s smart to keep your mouth shut!

As long as there is one man with power over another, this will hold true. Which brings us to today’s topic:

Nothing is truly what it seems to be

Sometimes people we think of as our friends can be our worst enemies, while people who have shown dislike to our existence, may turn out to help us more than our own people.

This is not something that has happened in our latest days of evolution as the human species but seems like something that has always been there from the very beginning. Since we live in a more “civilized era”, we have accepted some form of social etiquette when it comes to our day to day living.

That means that we actually have laws and socially accepted behaviors that define our co-existence. Of course, nothing is cast in stone and when it comes to the human soul, you never know when the person sitting next to you will all of a sudden snap and go on a killing spree.

And yet, this is still nothing new and the only two things you can do about it are to:

1. accept this fact and 2. be prepared to ‘move’.

By the term ‘move’, I mean literally and figuratively. When something happens, you need to be fully aware and instead of wasting time thinking ‘what just happened’ or ‘did that just happen?”, just MOVE! Leave the place of threat and look for a safe place.

The literal part of the equation

Being aware of our environment is a must, especially in these ‘hostile’ days. This is where situational awareness comes in handy. This is something that most military and security personnel are more familiar with.

For those of you not familiar with the term, situational awareness is about understanding where you are, what happened and how to keep calm under a stressful situation and be able to make the right moves to survive. Think of Jason Bourne in the first movie: you know where you are, how many exits there are and how you get out of there if shit hits the fan.


Part of that also relates to your time of reaction rather than the plan itself. Being able to react under stressful conditions becomes essential to our survival. This happens in 3 phases:

The first phase is to just remove yourself from the location of the crisis. The second phase is to find shelter, then third phase is to set up a plan. You cannot do all 3 at the same time (unless you have been training in handling such emergencies).

Phase A: Move

When a hostile situation takes place, people tend to get paralyzed from fear. Unfortunately this happens to most normal people and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Overcoming this fear in order to move becomes essential in this phase. A good way for that to happen is if you receive specialized training from someone with military experience (evacuation while in crisis).

So being able to move and get out of harm’s way becomes essential.

Phase B: Protect yourself (seek shelter)

Once you are out of there, make sure that it stays that way. This is where finding shelter comes into play.

The most important part is to keep calm and not panic. If you panic, you cannot think, your body goes into shock as it releases all the cortisol in your bloodstream which will melt away your muscle tissue (it’s your body’s most ancient survival mechanism) and then all is lost. Once you have found shelter, which keeps you out of sight and allows you to be warm, safe and comfortable, try and keep calm. In these situations, it is most likely that you will be breathing heavily. Try to not hyperventilate as you will pass out. If need be, cover your mouth with your hand and breathe slowly.

Phase C: Coming up with a plan

After that, you need to come up with a plan as to how you will get out (or away) from this situation and go on with your life. This is not something that I can describe in just a paragraph. What you need to know is that you must assess the following:

  • Do we know what happened?
  • How it happened?
  • Who did this?
  • How many people are there who can hurt us?
  • Can we get hurt in any other way?
  • How can we stay safe?
  • How to get out of there?
  • Where will we go?
  • Do we have supplies?
  • Do we have ways to defend ourselves? (guns or anything we can use as a weapon)

This is just the tip of the iceberg but being able to answer these questions will give you a head start and increase your chances of survival.

The figurative part of the equation

The figurative part comes from dealing with enemies. Usually, you know who your enemies are. However, there are some cases when “friends” turn to foes and not only that, but they have been working on a plan for quite some time. When that happens, then you will feel like a fly caught in a huge spider web. Trapped and unable to do anything since you are now the victim of a well-planned setup.

So what can you do about a situation like that?

Above all, always mind your surroundings!

Always be careful about who you share things with (especially private matters). Even if someone is exactly like you (or pretend like they like you, agree with you etc), that doesn’t always mean they are on your side.

If all is lost, then there is no move to make. Just keep calm. That gives you more of a shot in order to find your way out of this mess.

If you still got a chance, you need to take your shot. That can be a last minute thought or plan that can get you out of the mess or just a piece of information or anything that will reveal foul play.

If you are in survival situation, you just need to take action and hope it works.

It is not often that we find ourselves facing a crisis but when it actually happens you need to be prepared. Even if you are physically trained, the mental aspect of this ‘game’ can mean the difference between life and injury or even death.

Closing notes

So remember the following:

  1. Nothing is truly what it appears to be
  2. When shit hits the fan, do not panic and act fast
  3. Find shelter and protect yourself
  4. Calm down, make a plan and/or think of a way out
  5. Take action
  6. Live to tell the story.

Take note of these tips mentioned in this guide and also look for further training from specialized personnel. In this way, you can increase your chances for a proper reaction during such a situation and also help others survive.

Have you ever found yourself in a survival situation? How did you deal with it? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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Also if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!

by Nick Sigma

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