How do you react in emergency situations?

Depending on the type of situation and the current role you play in your life (single, married, parent, child), you may react in a multitude of ways. 

This week for Part 4 of the Mental Preparedness series, I want to go over how you can be ready for any emergency situation that may come your way. At least, mentally.

If you’re ready in your mind, you’re ready in the physical sense as well. I’ll repeat myself as many times as necessary: being mentally prepared is more important than being physically prepared.

Once you have a plan settled in your mind, your body can react naturally.

Short Story Time

A few years ago at a friend’s wedding reception, I ended up spending most of my time following a different friend’s two-year-old son so that said friend could actually visit with a few other moms. Munchkin and I had a fun time exploring the room and watching the bigger kids play. After a while though, I ended up holding him while we stood by the front window and watched the rain slide down the glass. His mom had given him one of those lifesaver mints and he was drooling a bit.

Without warning, he started choking on that mint. I took a second to access if he was actually choking. When I realized it wasn’t a cough, I yelled to his mom, spun the kid around so that he faced at a slight downward angle, and popped his back between his shoulder blades a couple of times.

The mint came flying out of his mouth and he started crying. I handed him off to his mom that had just reached us and I grabbed a paper towel to pick up the slobbery hazard off the floor.

Once my brain caught up with the situation, I started crying myself. Shock settled in and took a few minutes to work itself out.

So What Happened?

Did you see how my body took over the emergency despite my brain taking a few moments to access the situation?

In no way am I trying to toot my own horn because that kid’s mom happens to be an EMT. The munchkin would have been fine if I hadn’t reacted the way I did.

But what I want to share is why that happened.

Years before that, I really thought I wanted to be a babysitter in middle school. With two younger siblings and plenty of younger cousins, I had the experience. So my mom bought me a simple guide book to babysitting and I memorized it! 

One section explained possible emergency scenarios and how the babysitter should react. A baby choking happened to be one of those scenarios.

Because this information had been logged away in my memory and I had thought it through multiple times since, my body knew exactly what to do when the munchkin started choking on that mint.

Yes, I still had a freak out moment afterwards but that’s what happens. Shock takes over whether we want it to or not. It’s a part of our brain recalibrating after the situation. At least, that’s how I like to look at it.

If we’re not fully trained emergency personnel who have been through these kinds of situations multiple times, then we may end up freaking out a bit more after it happens the first time.

Do I want to go through a situation like that again?

Absolutely not!

But can I? Yes. I’m prepared for it.

Let’s Process

What I want you to take away from this post today is that you can be ready for any emergencies that surprise you. You may not always have the skills necessary or tools at the ready, but you can know how to help and tell people what to do in those situations.

Whether it’s a child choking on candy or a car accident or your stove goes up in flames.

The emergency won’t cause you to freeze in panic if your brain already has the knowledge to help you out.

I also want to encourage you to never shame yourself if you get through the emergency and you end up crying or hyperventilating afterwards.

You made it to the other side!

You got the child to stop choking.

You helped get everyone out of harms way.

It’s totally okay if your brain and body need a few minutes to process what just happened.

I ended up crying in front of a crowd after they heard me yell for help. Most of them were moms. They let me cry and were so encouraging.

Let your body work out what happened then move on.

Just because you’re mentally ready for just about any situation doesn’t exempt you from the after effects. Being mentally ready helps you get through so that you can process safely on the other side.

If you’ve been through any sort of emergency situation, take some time to think through it and answer these questions:

  • What happened?
  • How did it happen?
  • What could have prevented it from happening?
  • How did I react?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • What can I learn from this situation?

Again, no shame in asking these questions. This is the best way to learn and be better prepared if that situation ever happens again.

You’re one step closer to being mentally prepared for almost any scenario!

Until next time, friend, Happy Prepping!