10 myths about disasters and disaster


Myths about disasters are often frightening reality, according to The Times, the journalist and writer Amanda Ripley, who for many years writing about a variety of emergency situations and interviewed survivors. In her article, she refutes the 10 most common myths about disasters and natural calamities.

Contrary to popular belief, even serious accidents in aviation (including fire) is not necessarily fatal in 56% of the passengers caught in such disasters from 1983 to 2000, survived. "The main thing is to quickly leave the plane" — the author writes, stressing that the best way to insure — is pre-read booklets on safety, as the brain is in a state of fear is very bad processing new information.

Unrestrained panic portrayed in disaster movies, in reality very rare: usually people are meek and submissive, the author writes. "It is generated by natural selection: those who face danger hysterical, rarely stay alive," — says Ripley.

Disasters more likely to suffer from the poor — including the poorest countries, highlights Ripley. Two earthquakes — in California in 1994 and in Pakistan in 2005, were similar in strength and radius of destruction, but in the U.S. only 63 people were killed, and in Pakistan — about 100,000, according to the publication.

Natural disasters are rarely surprising: for example, a hurricane "Katrina" has been predicted for many years, scholars, journalists and emergency services in every detail. "The trouble is that we are too densely built up the coast, destroying natural buffers such as mangroves," — explains the author .

In an emergency, prudence is usually more important than physical strength, the author notes. Among the survivors of the tsunami in 2004 there were more men, as many women do not know how to swim. However, in the United States more men are killed in floods and lightning strikes, as it is often slow to evacuation.

In case of fire should rely only on themselves, neighbors or co-workers, so the firemen can not appear instantly on the spot, said Ripley.

Drills — it's not a waste of time, "when the room is full of smoke, we have to wade to the touch, and it is very dangerous to smoke in a modern building very quickly becomes poisonous" — writes Ripley, consulting work to automaticity the way to the nearest exit.

Stories of looting and rape during major disasters greatly exaggerated, says the author. If this happens, then in disadvantaged areas.

In the primitive instinct of the "fight-or-flight", which allegedly included in emergency situations, Ripley does not believe. "In fact, people often do not flee from the deadly threat, and freeze, as if falling into a lethargic sleep," — she writes, referring for example, the disaster ferry "Estonia" in 1994. Perhaps it is a defense mechanism: a man pretending to be a dead animal or to escape predators. now flight attendants are taught wildly yelling, "Get out of the plane", and, as practice shows it gives passengers from the stupor, the author notes.

Heroes, like all normal people feel fear, but they are worse than inaction than action, the author notes. For example, the American Roger Olien, who threw himself into the river in winter — to rescue people from the crashed plane, just do not want to feel like a coward.

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