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20 Epic Survival Lessons From ‘San Andreas’

san andreas 2 -- cbsnewsI can’t remember the last time I was able to take in a natural crisis flick, and actually admire the survival knowledge it divulged.

Quite frankly, I was pretty darn impressed by the new film San Andreas, because I really feel like the moviemakers did a stellar job of illustrating what an historic earthquake would do to one of the most densely populated regions in the US.

Let’s just say that if you were in search of destruction, then you will most certainly find it in this movie. At the same time, while it did have a good bit of heartaches, touching moments, and the taxpayer-funded personal usage of a helicopter with a bottomless gas tank, it was LOADED with priceless survival tactics for those of sound mind and willingness to watch for them.

Well, I was one of those individuals. As I took notes in the theater, I came up with 20 epic survival lessons that I learned from the movie:

1. Teamwork is everything. Because chances are, you’re not going to be alone when unseen forces roundhouse kick the earth.

2. Know the risks of where you live. Residing in a city that sits in front of, say, the Hoover Dam could cause some serious issues in the event of an earthquake, a badly placed meteor impact, or a stick of dynamite. (Food for thought.)

3. Understand the science of your region’s most imminent crises. And listen to the experts on this one, because they likely didn’t get that job on sheer luck and a firm handshake.

4. Emergency tools are even in the trunks of cars that aren’t yours. Like a jack that might lift a two-ton thing off a very attractive girl you just met.

5. Know your local area’s attractions and shops. Even down to the local Radio Shack and AutoZone … which leads me to No. 7.

6. High ground is of MASSIVE importance, especially in the event of a cataclysmic earthquake or flood. Buildings can’t fall uphill, and tsunamis tend to fill up valleys before they climb mountains … that, and because Dwayne Johnson said so.

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7. Looting happens within hours — but not within minutes. So, keep your Remington 870 locked and loaded, my friend, for you may come to need it.

8. DO NOT freak out. The reason why looting doesn’t happen within minutes is because 99 percent of humanity in the region will be in a state of shock at that point. If you get over the shock quickly, because you’re already mentally prepared for such an event … then you will have a critical advantage over just about everybody.

9. The first few moments of a disaster are critical. Mass psychological chaos is a curse and a blessing, and your immediate mindset will be the determining factor on how this plays out. Chaos could make you a casualty, or it could be the reason why you were able to find and acquire those bottles of clean water that were left in an unattended fridge on the 10th floor.

10. Know your gear. You’ll be able to see the value in an object that most people simply don’t have any idea about — such as a skydiving harness, a 2-way municipally issued radio, or an airbag.

11. Most people will leave good gear, supplies and tools totally unattended. That’s because their shocked (fight or flight) state will have them running in fear and not proceeding forth in an orderly and intelligent manner. To those who find this gear, you will have a higher chance of survival, because your brain is still working properly and not just blindly escorting your exhausted body into more danger.

12. Know and TRUST the ace when you meet one. In this case, while she might have been an average young college-aged female … she knew how to contact a guy in a helicopter via landline, which was attached to a credit card machine that was still working. Not only did her skill boost the group’s morale, but she also knew how to do other incredibly useful stuff that would get our youngins out of many a jam.

13. Remember to mind your surroundings. When the earth shakes, dangerous things that were once safely suspended by crafty engineering (such as power lines and glass objects) are now being hurled in random directions at high velocities by physics.

14. Know sturdy engineering when you see it. It doesn’t get much more sturdy than an isosceles triangle of something steel, the cozy corner in a right angle of something concrete, or a small wooden frame (especially, when it’s a desk that an earthquake-specializing professor tells you to get under ASAP).

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san andreas15. Use unorthodox modes of transportation to your advantage. When everybody tries to drive away in a state of panic, then everybody does a whole lot of going nowhere. Most people, however, will not opt for a boat, a helicopter, or an airplane, because people tend not to do smart things while terrified.

16. Know first aid and CPR. Because, as we all know and the movie affirms, it can save a life.

17. Fuel hasn’t run out yet. In fact, most vehicles will be sloshing around at least a half-tank. Good for you, if you can get her running.

18. Read land and tidal signals. Ladies and gentleman, if an earthquake happens in a coastal region, there WILL BE aftershocks …and perhaps even a tsunami (aka ocean wave of sudden death) to follow. So your first action item should be to either …

  • Get in a boat and make for the beautiful blue horizon, because you’ll barely even feel the tsunami if you can get to the wave before it breaks.
  • Get to high ground. I mean, like, a hill or mountain. No, not in a glass, steel and concrete building, which may collapse if hit hard enough by a wall of water after being weakened by a violently shifting tectonic geological plate.

19. Cell phones won’t work. Cell towers tend not to broadcast optimally if they’re lying horizontally and in several pieces (which will probably be the case for most of them).

20. Whatever you do, never lose your fighting spirit. If you see life itself as a precious thing, then you’ll be smart in keeping yours, you’ll fight to keep it going in others, and you’ll have many a darn good reason to do just that.

In conclusion, an individual who doesn’t fully come to terms with the scope of a disaster situation will not only run in the same doomed direction as everyone else – but they’ll be doomed, too. A calm mind and healthy value of life is, and always will be, the most effective way to live.

What survival lessons would you add to the list? Share your suggestions in the section below:

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