Every situation is different and this is a guideline. Always make sure your priority is safety for yourself first, then others. You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself.

First: Do a First Aid triage of yourself. Breathing. Bleeding. Broken.

Are you stabilized?

Can you move?

Assess the immediate situation. Take charge.

If in immediate danger, get to a safe place. If you’re not in immediate danger, look around.

What are the priorities of threats? Other people will be panicking. Don’t get caught up in that. Be aware that any situation can get worse. In fact, assume it will. Also, having done your Area Study, you know there are after-effects of various emergencies and natural disaster. Earthquakes around the coast can lead to tsunamis. A terrorist attack could have a follow on attack for first responders. A hurricane can lead to broken gas lines which lead to a fire danger.

Check for smoke, gases and fumes. Locate and shut off the source if possible. Fires, earthquakes, bombs, etc. produce structural instability. Just because the roof is still there, doesn’t mean it will stay there.

If in a car accident, turn off ignition, look out for pools of gas or any smoke.

Second: Call for help. Dial 911. Yell. Blow a whistle. Tap on a pipe with a piece of metal. Whatever is appropriate to the event. If you’re performing CPR, yell at someone nearby to call for help. Tell them what to say.

Getting trained personnel on the scene quickly is the best assistance you can render others. If you talk to a dispatcher, give a succinct summary of the situation: Location; what the emergency is; how many casualties and an estimate of condition; any potential threats.

If it is a mass casualty event, let them know that right away as the response will be different as a single responding unit would be overwhelmed.

Third: Do a First Aid Triage of others. Triage comes from the French word ‘to sort’. The goal is to rapidly assess and prioritize a number of injured individuals and do the most good for the most people. The key here is it is not to do the best for every individual.

First, make sure the injured are not in imminent danger.

How many are injured? How badly?

Who can assist you?

Can assistance get to you?

Can the wounded by moved if they have to be? Do you have the means to move them?

If immediate help is on the way, don’t take any unnecessary risks. Don’t move an injured person unless they are in immediate danger. Don’t treat past life-saving measures. Let the professionals do their job when they arrive. Your job is to maintain until help arrives.

What is the status of your A-Team? If some members aren’t present, where are they? Can you communicate with them and arrange to meet? If you can’t communicate with them, can you contact your out of area emergency contact? If that’s not possible the priority of meeting locations will be in order: home, IRP, ERP, BOHS.

All preparation checklists and links to free apps is free HERE.

Fourth: Assess the environment. Can you stay or do you need to leave? Do you have adequate shelter where you are for the environment? If you’re staying, at home, at the IRP, ERP, work, school, wherever, inventory your supplies and gather what you can. Focus on water, communication, food and medical.

If leaving and you have time, dress in your emergency clothing. Take your Grab-n-Go bag (home, car or work/school). If leaving, are you going to the IRP to meet A-Team? Or is it best to go direct to the ERP?

If you’re leaving and not going to any of those, what is your destination? Can you get hold of your out of area emergency contact? Are they clear of the effect of the emergency or disaster? The destination should be chosen by priority among shelter, water, food, and medication.

Fifth: Once in a safe place, assess the overall situation and make long term plans.

Excerpted from The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide