In case you haven’t already noticed, it’s a pretty dangerous world out there.
While the recent spring weather feels nice and refreshing, it’s also tied to an increase in devastating natural forces like lightning strikes, fires and even shark attacks. That’s why we sat down with Daily Planet hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin, who know the ins and outs of survival like nobody’s business. And since Daily Planet’s Forces of Nature Week kicks off April 13 on Discovery, the timing couldn’t be better. No matter what deadly scenario you might find yourself in, we’ve got you covered.
When most people see a shark, they run; but not Tong. “I’ve gone swimming with many sharks,” she said. “You really don’t have to worry about [them].” In a sense, she’s right. The International Shark Attack File found that the odds of someone being killed by a shark are one in 3.8 million. The predators, for the most part, mind their own business. That said, if you do find yourself being attacked by one, her advice is simple “You want to punch it right in the nose.” If that’s not possible, try gouging it’s eyes. You’re basically initiating an “under sea smackdown.” It’s messy, but effective.
There seems to be confusion around lightning strikes. If you believe that lightning can’t strike twice, or that rubber-soled shoes keep you safe from them, then you should probably read on. Riskin’s best advice for those stuck in a storm? “Get inside. If you can get inside, everything is fine,” he said. But if you can’t get inside, don’t stand under a tall tree for shelter. Lightning will strike it’s closest point to the ground, which is why it tends to aim at skyscrapers, mountains and trees. Find shelter under something short and non-conductive (no metals, for example) and then make yourself as small as possible. This can be done by curling up into a ball and remaining like that until the storm passes.
Unless you’re going to an exotic locale this year, quicksand likely won’t be a problem. But just in case you are, Tong knows exactly what to do. She was actually buried about waist-deep in a container of makeshift quicksand as part of “Forces of Nature Week”, so the only difference between her experience and yours would be a team of firefighters on standby. “You don’t want to move quickly,” Tong said, adding that doing so will actually make you sink deeper. The key is to try not to panic. Once calm, slowly move your legs upward and rotate your body into the supine position, which is essentially the same as doing the back float on sand. The more surface area you can create, the harder it will be to sink.
Trapped in a fire
If you ever catch fire, stop, drop and roll is still your best friend (or jumping into the nearest pool). But if you’re trapped in a house fire, here’s what to do: First, it’s good to make a plan with the rest of your family in advance as to what you will all do in the event of a fire. It’s also a good idea to start sleeping with your doors closed, as that will slow a fire’s progress. When moving through a home engulfed in flames, feel each door before opening it. If it’s hot, use another door. Stay low while escaping, as the smoke will rise to the ceiling. If you’re trapped in a room, stuff towels, newspapers or whatever will fit under the cracks of your door to prevent smoke from getting in. You’ll then want to call 911 (even if firetrucks are already outside) to let dispatchers know exactly where you are. Remain by the window in a visible spot until you can be rescued.
If there’s any possibility of a flash flood occurring, move to higher ground whether warnings are issued or not. If you receive notice ahead of time, however, bring in any outdoor furniture from your home and move all essential items to a higher floor. Never touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. If you end up being forced to leave your home during a flood, the key is to avoid walking through water that is moving (as demonstrated above). It only takes a few inches to make you fall over, so you want to look for areas where the water is calmer. Use a stick as you move to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.