So yesterday, I saw the video below on Tobias Buckel’s blog:
And I think he’s totally right. Sure, some people probably do go apart when they are faced with an emergency but the majority of humanity is very resilient. In my – admittedly limited – experience, panic often manifests in people trying to find something they can do to help, rather than actual screaming and running around getting in everyone’s way.
In a previous life when I was training to become a mariner, the training included some fairly comprehensive first-aid. During that first-aid training we were warned that often the people who are screaming their head off are often actually pretty okay whereas the people who are just sitting quietly may be the ones who are bleeding out.
On the other hand pretty much the only time when I’ve come close to an emergency situation was when I fell off a horse. It wasn’t wearing a rein or saddle and got spooked and on the whole it was an incredibly stupid move from my part to be riding her at all. But none of that helped when I flew off, landing elbow first into a small hole in the ground with a rock on the ledge, breaking my arm and dislocating my shoulder. I can barely remember my friend, who had been riding another horse, completely freaking out but still helping me hike a mile or so back to the stable yard at which point I promptly fainted. Only to find my sister and my friend freaking out and my sister somehow finding the strength to pretty nearly carry me home, from where mom took me to the hospital. Everyone was so scared but they also kept working toward fixing the situation to the best of their abilities. Which, to be fair, was mostly just getting me to the next person could help. We were 10 or 12 at the time after all.
I wonder if there has ever been a study done on whether people panic uselessly in an emergency like they do in the movies? What’s your experience?