People Who Panic In An Emergency


I’ve read statistics that 80 to 90 percent of people will panic or will be unable to stay calm during an emergency or survival situation. This leaves just 10 to 20 percent of us who are less likely to panic and who will be able to grasp the situation clearly.

Have you ever noticed others who panic in an emergency, or who will panic in a situation much less than an emergency?

Those who do not panic will observe an emergency situation in a more calm way that enables a clearer ‘thinking’ plan and potentially correct action.

Those who do not panic are not free of fear – they may actually be puckered up and ‘scared $hitless’ (panic and fear I believe are two different things). The difference is that while someone may be filled with fear, those who do not panic will be more realistically facing the actuality of what just happened and better able to maintain their sensibility.

Extreme panic may cause someone to become paralyzed with fear or indecision – unable to do anything, or to take the right kind of action. If a decision is made, it’s often a bad one.

A person who does not panic, and even while in immediate danger may be able to react very quickly. But if there’s time, those who do not panic might take a few slow deep breaths and will not rush to make a hasty decision (important!). Too often people will make rapid (and poor) decisions when there is time to think it through. Much effort is wasted and time lost due to this unfortunate reality.

One general observation I’ve noticed is that when there is a group of people who all are within a given emergency situation (or potential emergency), if there’s someone in the group in a vocal panic, the situation is often worsened due to some of the others who will start ‘going off the edge’ while the person in panic is spouting out all the wrong things… If you happen to be in this situation (an you are not in a panic), you need to take control – and quickly. Most people are followers and you don’t want them following someone in a panic.

My question for discussion is this:

While there are certainly varying ‘levels’ of panic induced by the severity of a given emergency situation, why is it that some people panic and make very poor decisions while others are able to cope with the situation in a much clearer manner – and make better decisions?

Is it from lack of experiences in a given emergency situation? Is it from a lack of knowledge of a situation? Is it just part of the DNA? Is it from an upbringing of a coddled environment? Is it from watching too much TV or video games where characters are seemingly indestructible coupled with the shock of reality? Is it from a society filled with so many safety nets? Can people be taught not to panic? Etc..

What do you think?


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