April Fools: In Case of Emergency

You’re on a plane. You hear “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. This is an emergency, and we are required to evacuate, please locate the closest emergency exit. Please exit immediately, but calmly.” Pause. What do you do?

In an emergency, there is the stress response, and it is not logical. People start grabbing their carry on luggage from the overhead bins and mayhem ensues. Screaming people, disoriented passengers, slinging luggage and flight attendants yelling, leave your bags and exit the plane.

I’ll say it, in the moment, I would think about my cute pink carry on in the overhead bin as I grab my purse and look for the exit. It’s gut instinct, I need my stuff, where is my stuff, grab my stuff. You do not think it takes 12 minutes to deplane in an orderly manner and maybe that is to much time to spend right now if everyone grabs their luggage. You do think about the absurdity hauling large objects to the emergency exit row and the risks.

“The worst thing is, you’re making decision that impact you not only in the moment, but for the rest of your life and you’re just not in your right mind.” I heard two panel discussions this week in Houston about Hurricane Harvey and the aftermath. The resounding theme was the “stress response.” This thing that happens when we are in a life or death situation. So yes, while it would seem like common sense to have photographed the things in your home before the damage, for insurance, do you really know to do that; even as you are moving your possessions to the second floor of your home because the waters are rising?

The concept this week is not about emergency preparedness; its about awareness of a stress response recovery; getting back to your right mind. When all of your being is focused on a crisis, you might forget,you need time recovery time after. Be it an emergency situation or an ill loved one. It takes a while to get back to normal even after everything is ok. Just like when you run to catch a train, even when you’re done, and seated, you still have a slightly elevated heart rate, you still perspire, etc, your body has to recover.  This week, consider those times when you may need to recover from a stress response and give yourself a moment.



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