12 Real Life Survival Scenarios You Should Practice

Preparing for a disaster or emergency situation is impossible without actually doing drills. I know it’s comfortable to buy stuff, but the thing that makes the difference is how you react to the disaster once it hits. Practicing the drills below on a regular basis will ensure your reaction times are spot-on.

Print them out, try them out, and stay safe!

emergency exit sign

Survival Scenario #1: Tornado

Tornadoes are the most powerful wind events recorded on earth, with even minor ones capable of generating sustained winds that will easily topple trees, damage homes and turn trivial objects into deadly projectiles.

The most powerful among them are devastating and awe-inspiring events, capable of completely erasing towns from the map and launching automobiles and train cars through the air like toys in the hands of an angry giant.

These storms are deadly, and the only way to survive them aside from hoping for a miss is to take shelter in an area that can withstand the storm or at the very least afford you some protection from the wind and wind-blown projectiles.

Tornadoes can appear out of thunderstorms and other weather fronts with very little warning, so your response should emphasize a thorough knowledge of potential shelters no matter where you are in your town, as well as rapid action in seeking shelter.

Drill Checklist:

  • Pre-Mapped Shelter Locations at home and around town
  • Survival Kit or Packed BOB (Optional)
  • Protective Gear (Optional)

How to Perform the Drill:

Performing a tornado drill is actually a pretty simple affair, since the lion’s share of the effort when it comes to surviving a twister is actually in locating, selecting and remembering where suitable shelter locations are.

In your own home, this is hopefully a basement or a designated tornado survival shelter module. Lacking either one of these it will be an interior room without windows. Learn more about things and other ways to prep for tornadoes here.

Around your town, especially if you live in a tornado prone area, there will be marked buildings that are adequate for surviving a tornado having been rated accordingly during the construction phase. Make a note of all of these locations in and around areas that you frequent.

You may conduct a tornado drill in several phases. The first phase could be a tornado watch drill that when announced signals to your family to put on their shoes and appropriate clothing for survival and make ready to enter the shelter along with their survival kits or BOBs as appropriate.

This serves to make standby readiness a habit, saving vital time when a real storm is on the way.

The other variation is a tornado warning drill, where speed is of the essence and you might have as little as a few minutes to reach a safe location before the tornado impacts.

During a tornado warning drill, you and your family members should drop what you are doing, grab your survival kit if you are using them and sprint into the shelter before securing it, donning protective gear (if using) and assuming a braced position.

When conducting his drill out in public, no matter if you are traveling on foot or by a vehicle, you can announce a tornado watch or tornado warning before quizzing a family member on where the nearest suitable shelter point would be wherever you are.

Again, this begins to foster an attitude of always having an emergency plan in the back of their minds which helps to disaster-proof them and prevent indecision and panic.

After-Action Review and Questions:

A tornado drill is pretty simple, despite tornadoes themselves being terrifying events. After you conclude the drill, ask the following questions to improve your performance next time.

  • Did everyone respond quickly enough?
  • Were the necessary survival kits placed in a convenient location or did participants have to look for them?
  • When in public, were participants able to quickly and correctly identify and orient to a suitable shelter location?

Survival Scenario #2: Hurricane

Hurricanes are the most powerful storms that occur on earth, combining sustained and destructive winds with unbelievable amounts of torrential rainfall that results in biblical flooding when combined with the one-two punch of storm surge sweeping inland from the sea.

For all of their destructive power, our modern weather surveillance and early detection systems keep these storms from sneaking up on us and you will almost always have plenty of notice that a hurricane is on the way, or that a storm capable of producing a hurricane is getting closer.

This affords you the opportunity to reach a safe location with plenty of time so long as you act early enough and without delay.

Once hurricanes make landfall, they’re destructive events that can persist for days before subsiding or moving on, and these unique traits means that drilling for a hurricane is mostly a matter of making sure all family members know what their responsibilities are and always keep their personal survival kit and vital luggage in a ready-to-go condition in a convenient place during hurricane season.

Drill Checklist:

  • Evacuation destinations plotted with multiple routes
  • Survival kits/BOB’s packed and ready
  • Individual checklist of “pre-evac responsibilities”

How to Perform the Drill:

Since hurricanes arrive so slowly and persist for so long, reaction time is rarely a factor. In fact, the most important thing you can do for hurricane survival is to leave while the leaving is good.

Too many preppers hold on too long waiting to see if a storm will turn, subside or otherwise miss them while the storm is barreling towards them and strengthening all the while. Then they get bulls-eyed and the entire area is laid to waste.

For this reason, hurricane drills should be done in steps, with all family members being responsible for assembling and maintaining their personal survival kit and a piece of their most vital luggage for life on the road while evacuating. This should be done at the beginning of hurricane season with surprise inspections.

When a known storm that could produce a hurricane forms in the waters around your region, you should escalate to the next phase of the drill, which is preparing both themselves and the home for departure.

What a hurricane is confirmed, and there is a reasonable chance that it might affect the area you live in, that is when it is time to go on alert status: the method of transportation should be checked and double-checked for suitability, luggage and all necessary survival kits staged for easy loading, critical documents gathered and all routes mapped and double-checked for redundancy.

It is beneficial to give each family member an additional area of responsibility around the home, perhaps shutting down certain appliances, sealing cracks and crevices where water might infiltrate, filling sandbags or some other tasks related to the event.

Each family member should also be furnished with a checklist they can refer to for the duration.

After-Action Review and Questions:

Hurricanes are sort of a “feast or famine” disaster and that they won’t affect you at all in any meaningful way or they will result in untold destruction. You should ask yourself the following questions throughout the conduction of hurricane drills.

  • Did all participants pack a survival kit and keep it handy?
  • Were all essential tasks completed inside the timetable for departure?
  • Did you leave additional time for unforeseen events?

Survival Scenario #3: Earthquake

Earthquakes are common and terrifying events that set the ground to shaking, rattling and even rolling like a flicked carpet when they are powerful enough.

They create catastrophic destruction, render buildings unsafe and generate significant secondary problems from downed power lines, damaged communication systems, broken water and sewer mains and subsequent fires.

Earthquakes typically occur with very little warning and even once they end the risk of aftershocks will persist for days and weeks, meaning survivors need to stay on their toes.

Surviving an earthquake is simply a matter of getting into the most defensible position possible in as little time as possible, since they will make a movement during the event extremely difficult or impossible, and the risk of being harmed by falling debris or breaking glass is extreme.

Drill Checklist:

  • Understanding of earthquake-safe spaces and positions
  • Pots, Pans and Noisemakers (Optional)

How to Perform the Drill:

Once your family members know that an earthquake drill will be conducted at some point in the future upon a given signal, you can add a little more stress to the announcement of said drill by banging and rattling pots and pans together to help stimulate the calamitous racket that always occurs during an earthquake.

The participant’s sole responsibility is to assume a cover position in a safe space as quickly as possible, typically beneath a sturdy piece of furniture like a heavy table but not a doorway as is commonly thought. If outside, participants want to get as far away from buildings as quickly as possible since falling debris is one of the most major hazards.

Once you announce that the shaking has stopped, you should have participants get clear of the building as quickly as possible since collapse is always a risk and direct them towards clear ground and open sky. You can make the drill more challenging by announcing an aftershock with more racket so they have to assume another safe position while underway.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • Did participants react quickly enough to the drill?
  • How good was their position? Could they do better next time? Discuss it.
  • Do any participants have physical limitations that will impact their ability to take cover? How will you overcome this?

Survival Scenario #4: Housefire Drill

Home fires can happen at any time. They can happen because of a mishap in the kitchen, or because of a pesky rodent chewing on electrical wires. Regardless of the cause, the effect is devastating.

Prepare for a home fire so that when it happens to you and your family, you will be ready to act. Due to the fact that fires can happen without notice, it’s better to practice several times a month until your family is good with your plans.

Correct all issues either with equipment or attitudes. Not acknowledging issues can cost lives.

As with the scenario above, night time drills are extremely important. Families have been caught unawares in the middle of the night and perished by the fire. An unscheduled surprise drill will test the strengths and weaknesses of your family’s emergency plan and expose any faults.

Drill Checklist

You will need:

  • Fire alarm
  • Handheld stopwatch or watch
  • Your emergency packs

How to Perform the Drill

House fire drills are another one that your family should be made aware of and know will be occurring at some point in the future.

Start with the basics, then increase the difficulty and complexity as you rerun the drill. This is an especially important drill to make challenging and to get right since house fires are so deadly and so common.

Begin the drill by setting off the smoke alarm using the test feature and announcing the fire drill. All family members should drop what they’re doing, and get out of the house by the shortest and swiftest available route.

Once out of the house, family members should have to methodically cycle through the pre-selected rendezvous points until they regroup. All fire drills should be timed as speed is of the essence; most residential homes are completely engulfed in flames after a small fire starts within 2 minutes.

To add complexity, you can theatrically block off routes out of the house to simulate flames, and secretly inform one family member to remain behind in order to add fear, confusion and uncertainty.

Any family members that are unable to get out on their own should be assigned a minder to help them who is responsible for getting to them and getting them out of the house.

You can further increase the stress and challenge of the drill by incorporating blindfolds to simulate the copious smoke that will make escape difficult and force people to get out by feel and eventually culminate with a middle of the night and drill where the family is awakened before having to get out.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • Is everyone able to make it out of the house quickly and certainly?
  • Is everyone accounted for as safe within 60 seconds?
  • In the case of a blocked path did they react and reroute with confidence or freeze?
  • When blindfolded, what landmarks and other indicators can you share with participants to help guide them out of the house?

Survival Scenario #5: Choking

Choking is a persistent and ever-present risk, and can easily be fatal. Choking typically occurs in small children who do not swallow with care or put foreign objects in their mouths or in adults who talk or laugh while eating.

A correct response to choking involves perceiving correctly that the victim is indeed choking, and rapidly applying remedial action in the form of abdominal thrusts and follow-up care.

Choking drills must be performed carefully since legitimate, full-power application of abdominal thrusts can result in legitimate secondary internal injuries that require medical care.

Emphasis should be placed on choking recognition and technically correct but simulated application of remedial techniques, either using reduced force on a human partner or full-power on a specialty dummy.

Drill Checklist:

  • Understanding of choking signs and symptoms.
  • Understanding of remedial action for choking/abdominal thrusts.
  • Simulator dummy (optional).

How to Perform the Drill:

You never want to truly surprise someone by mimicking choking lest someone think you are genuinely choking! As mentioned above an overreaction and resulting sincere application of abdominal thrusts can create genuine injuries where none existed.

For that reason, you should let participants know that you will be simulating choking by giving the universal sign of hands at the throat or by having another person in the house let them know that so-and-so is choking.

If you are using a dummy, the dummy can stand in for the person that is affected. Otherwise, the participant should take immediate action to get the victim in position abdominal thrusts however is appropriate depending upon their age, size and condition.

If the choking does not self-correct in very short order, the participants should apply remedial action until such time the partner simulates clearing of the obstruction.

In the aftermath of choking, the participants should guide the training partner to assume a diagnostic position and ensure there are able to breathe normally. As with all choking incidents, next level care should be sought at a doctor to ensure no injuries occurred.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • Did the participant assess the situation correctly?
  • Did the participant act quickly and confidently?
  • Were remedial techniques applied quickly and with enough force?
  • How should participants react if they are unable to meaningfully intervene?

Survival Scenario #6: Home Invasion

No one, and I mean no one, likes to think of an intruder coming into your home while you’re sleeping in the safety of your warm bed. That’s vulnerability in its purest form.

But as much as we don’t want to think about it, it’s one of those situations that you need to prepare for.

Drill Checklist:

  • Safe Room Plan or Escape Plan
  • A safe room. A large closest or bathroom inside of another room is ideal. That way you can secure not only the safe room door, but also the outer room door.
  • Weapon, if you choose to flee to the safe room
  • Nylon rope or tied sheets ready by the window if your plan is to escape out of the window. Make sure if your room is the extraction point, then your family members know to run straight there to evacuate.
  • For a home invasion escape plan, make sure to have a predetermined rendezvous point for the family.
  • Cell phones

How to Perform the Drill:

Intruders usually come at night, so set your drill time for late at night or early in the pre-dawn hours.

Make sure you and your family members know your emergency plan for an intruder. A situation such as a home invasion tests every aspect of your being. Make sure your family is aware of the importance of speed and efficiency.

Start the drill. Have an alarm, not like a fire alarm, but the sound of glass breaking or a door being broken in. Your family needs to recognize those sounds as the queue to go into action.

Being unheard while you make your way to your safe room is the key, so make sure your family performs this drill in near silence. The safe room should be a room farthest from the front door. Putting greater distance between you and the intruder.

Time your family as they all make it to the room. Once inside lock the door. Time how long it took your family to get to the safety of the room. Time this drill during the night.

Make sure the selected evacuation room is the furthest room from the front door. If your home has more than two levels, plan for two evacuation points and family members on the lower level will use the lower room and those on the top level will use the top room.

On the top level room, have a premade rope or fabric ladder sitting next to the window you plan to go out. Carefully climb down the ladder, and to the safety of the ground beneath.

If you have younger children, practice this drill with extreme care, but do it regularly so they will not be overcome by fear. And when the situation arises, they will know what to do. Get to the safety of the rendezvous point and call 9-1-1

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • How much time did it take for us to complete home invasion drill?
  • How did my family do?
  • Did my family remember where the safe room was?
  • Did my family safety evacuate according to the escape plan?
  • What improvements can be made?
  • What do I need to do in order to guarantee the safety of my family if it really does happen?
  • Am I ready to use my weapon to protect my family?

Survival Scenario #7: Active Shooter

These types of drills are not necessarily strictly for the home. A shooting event can happy anyplace and anytime. So it’s good to test your family to be sure they are ready and they know what to do in the event they are brought eye to eye with a shooter.

Active shooter events are rare, but they are happening more frequent than 15 years ago. Practice this once a month, and go over the plan individually with each member of the family.

Not everyone will react the same way, so cater your one on one session to the individual.

Remind your family as a whole that the keys to surviving a shooter are getting low and out of sight and getting away from him.

Drill Checklist:

  • Your emergency plan for an active shooter event.
  • Your family members, who have been taught prior to this drill that they need to stay low and out of sight during a shooting.
  • A room to simulate a schoolroom or workplace office
  • An audio recording of gunshots
  • Stopwatch, timer, or watch
  • Prop gun, if you choose
  • Cell phones

How to Perform the Drill:

Start the drill by unsuspectingly playing the audio recording of the gunshots. This should startle your family, and move them to action.

Simulate the event by playing a variety of recordings, alternating from people screaming to gunshots. The aim is to make this drill as real as possible. They must be frightened.

Watch how your family reacts; take note of the one who makes themselves an easy target by jumping up and running or moving into sight.

If they follow the plan correctly, they should disappear before your eyes, using anything close to them to shelter and shield them from your view. Time how long it took your family to get to out of sight.

The family head has worked with his family as a whole and individually going over the details of the shooter plan. This plan entails what they should do; mainly get out of sight and away from the shooter’s line of sight.

Alternately, when it is time to start the drill, the family head waits until a time when they are all sitting around the table working on either homework or something work related.

Since they are engrossed into their work, they will be caught by surprise. He initiates the drill by playing an audio recording of the gunshots and people screaming. He takes notice of their reactions and alerts them that there is a shooter on the premises.

He watches how they execute the plan, and takes note of whether or not they got out of sight and out of mind. He times how long it took them to accomplish this and accesses their skills.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • How much time did it take for my family to get out of sight?
  • Was there anyone who jumped up and came into view?
  • How well did my family perform this drill?
  • What are their odds of survival according to their execution of the active shooter plan?
  • Example Scenario of How to Practice an Active Shooter Drill

Survival Scenario #8: Industrial Accident

Industrial accidents can take all kinds of forms, but true emergency level events for the surrounding area typically consists of the release of hazardous chemicals into the air or water supply for the region. Additional possibilities include fires which might reach huge storage tanks of explosive chemicals creating a huge blast danger.

Drilling correctly for industrial accidents that could threaten your home and family entails quickly donning personal protective equipment like gas masks and chemically protective suits as well as quickly grabbing bug out bags or survival kits for loading the car and heading away from danger.

Drill Checklist:

  • Gas Mask (as appropriate)
  • Chemical Protective Suit (as appropriate)
  • BOB/Survival Kits
  • Procedures checklist

How to Perform the Drill:

The announcement of any industrial accident is an emergency and your drill should be conducted the same way; time is life.

In the event of a chemical spill or release of some other material that is biohazardous all family members and other participants should immediately don their gas masks and chemically protective suits as appropriate.

Depending on the nature of the event you are preparing for and your nearby threats, air conditioners should be shut down, doors and windows sealed and the shelter generally made as resistant to airborne agents as possible. Time matters! All participants should aim for a “ready” time of two minutes or less to have all gear on.

Alternately, in the event of a massive explosion hazard participants should collect their survival kit or Bob and load up in the family vehicle as quickly as possible. Putting any distance between you and the source of a potential massive explosion means that seconds count.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • Are all participants able to meet the two minute deadline for donning their PPE?
  • Who in the family would need help putting on their gear? Who should help them?
  • Depending on where you live, if you evacuate will you be able to make good headway or facing traffic/delays? How will this affect your plan?

Survival Scenario #9: Blizzard

Blizzards are massive, lengthy and powerful winter storms that will typically completely shut down travel in the affected area, knock out power, and generally freeze everything solid.

These are significant weather events, disasters that will put your ability to survive to the test and also strain what resources you have on hand. Leaving shelter for any reason during a blizzard is often ill-advised, since the risk of accident increases dramatically when traveling on foot or by vehicle.

A survival drill for a blizzard typically consists of quizzing participants on proper procedures such as keeping warm, ensuring chimneys and flue pipes remain clear of snow to prevent carbon monoxide build-up, and creating suitable microclimates inside an existing home to help them keep warm if all power and heating is lost.

Drill Checklist:

  • Microclimate shelter materials
  • Survival Checklist

How to Perform the Drill:

A survival drill for a blizzard is a relatively simple affair: participants must prove only that they can make use of what materials they have on hand in order to create a microclimate, or smaller sub-shelter within a room of their home, that will make the best use of generated heat as well as their body heat in order to stay warm when the power is out.

Additionally, they should be quizzed I’m what they need to do to ensure that any sources of combustion inside the home be it a fireplace or a traditional wood-burning stove are properly vented with chimneys or flue pipes clear in order to prevent the carbon monoxide buildup that is attendant with burning.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • Did participants show ingenuity and effectiveness when creating a microclimate? Did it take advantage of windows, heat sources and elevated surfaces?
  • Do participants understand the necessity of keeping chimney/flue pipes clear of snow and ice in order to prevent CO buildup in home?

Survival Scenario #10: Nuclear Fallout Incident

Most preppers imagine a nuclear warhead detonation when they think of any nuclear incident, and while that may yet come to pass there are other, far more likely nuclear incidents that might occur.

No matter if it is a nuclear power plant incident, a dirty bomb or a proper nuclear warhead detonation they all have one, insidious element in common that you must be prepared for: the threat of nuclear fallout.

Nuclear fallout is debris that has been affected by ionizing radiation and is now itself radioactive. It might even be aerosolized or disintegrated radioactive elements in itself, such as debris from a melted fuel rod in the case of a nuclear power plant accident.

Nuclear warhead detonations can shower an area in the telltale black ash of nuclear fallout a considerable distance from the blast depending on the prevailing wind and weather conditions.

Dealing with a nuclear fallout incident is high-stakes but you must be ready and you have to get it right, since it is dangerous if it is in contact with you, ingested by you or just near you.

Radioactive fallout does lose potency in the days and weeks following a nuclear incident but the initial hours and days in the immediate aftermath will be extremely dangerous and you must react with speed if you hope to survive.

Drill Checklist:

  • Designated decontamination procedures and area
  • Field-expedient decontamination shower
  • Designated shelter area
  • Gas mask and appropriate filters
  • Clean suit with hood

How to Perform the Drill:

Responding to a nuclear fallout incident is a complex, multi-step affair and so the drill must replicate these steps that have to be performed in an exacting order if you hope to survive the real thing.

Assuming you cannot get away from nuclear fallout or there is a better-than-average chance you might be affected by it in the aftermath of the event that generates it, your priorities are to get inside a shelter location that can protect you from it and to strip off any clothing and equipment that was exposed to it before hosing down to remove any traces from your body, though not necessarily in that order.

For the decontamination part of this drill, it is beneficial to teach participants about proper decontamination procedure using soap and water, preferably a source with some directed pressure that can help to remove radioactive dust and debris from the body.

To enable this on the clock, you can have participants wear swimsuits beneath their clothes prior to stripping down and engaging in the decontamination protocol for modesty.

It is essential that you practice this drill with time constraints since every second that someone is exposed to dangerous radiation the chances that they will become gravely sick or even die climb and climb.

Procedures must be followed to the letter and performed as quickly as humanly possible. Once the decontamination procedure is complete, participants should move into the shelter, don fresh, uncontaminated clothing and then move to secure the shelter against the intrusion of outside air as quickly as possible.

Remember that you never want to bring anything that might have been contaminated by fallout inside your shelter with you.

This can be done by turning off all air handling systems, air conditioners and so forth, closing chimney flues and sealing cracks and crevices around doors and windows. You can simulate this part so you don’t have tape tear up your home’s finish.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • Are participants able to strip and thoroughly decontaminate by themselves or do they need assistance from a partner?
  • How quickly are participants able to complete the decon procedure?
  • What changes could be made to the decon apparatus to increase efficiency?

Survival Scenario #11: Drowning

Drowning is an all-too-common occurrence in all kinds of natural as well as residential settings. Adults and children alike can easily drown in pools and in natural bodies of water, and drown-proofing someone is easily accomplished with just a little bit of previous training.

Drown-proofing consists of teaching someone self-rescue techniques in the forms of floating and energy-efficient swimming as well as avoiding other panicking people who might try to drown them in an effort to save themselves.

Advanced techniques can focus on the rescue of other people as well as life-saving intervention using CPR and other procedures. More than most other events on this list, someone will have cause to use these skills so make sure you give them their proper place and train them thoroughly!

Drill Checklist:

  • Life Preserver/Floatation ring
  • CPR Dummy (Optional)
  • Pool/Large Body of Water

How to Perform the Drill:

WARNING: Practicing and training drown proofing and drowning victim rescue techniques entails a certain amount of genuine risk. Always ensure that all safety procedures are followed to the letter and adequate personnel are standing by in case a legitimate rescue is required! A person can drown in a few inches of water so any large body of water must be treated with the utmost respect no matter what you are doing! If you have any doubt at all about conducting these drills seek professional instruction!

Begin drown-proofing drills by getting participants comfortable with being uncomfortable in the water, meaning when they are getting tired of swimming or treading water and are starting to get in trouble.

Exercises that focus on emphasizing just how long they can hold their breath and remain in control without giving into panic as well as proper floating technique and efficient swimming techniques that will conserve energy and allow them to rest.

Clothing can also be removed and used to catch air in order to serve as an improvised flotation device.

Once participants are comfortable with these basics move on to recognizing and teaching avoidance of other people who are starting to drown and might pose a risk to others in the water.

A person who is drowning will often panic and attempt to push a nearby person under the water in an effort to buoy themselves.

This is most easily evaded by outpacing them or simply diving since a drowning person will never follow a diving person under the water’s surface.

Please note that this is an exercise which requires careful attention to the constraints of the drill and a certain amount of intelligence on the part of both the participant and the role player who serves as the drowning victim; the role player who is actually attempting to struggle with the participant will be quite literally trying to force them under the water and entails a certain amount of risk.

At its most advanced, participants can be taught how to safely reach people who are drowning and tow them to shore in order to rescue them. This requires advanced skill sets and should not be attempted by amateurs. The final element of drown-proofing is teaching CPR.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • How did participants hold up in the water while in a stress position? Were they able to keep their wits and enact the techniques?
  • Some people are better served by some swimming/floating techniques more than others. Are there any modifications to the techniques that would help?

Survival Scenario #12: Laceration/Extremity Hemorrhaging

One of the most common preventable causes of death resulting from gunshot wounds incurred in a fight or accidentally along with car accidents, industrial mishaps, and all sorts of other gnarly happenings is bleeding from an extremity resulting from a laceration or puncture wound.

To the uninitiated, a wound to the arm or leg is seen as something of a boon compared to taking the same wound to the torso.

But, to those in the know, they understand that the limbs are packed with large, high-volume arteries and veins that can result in rapid death by blood loss if injured and not treated as quickly as possible.

Luckily, the preponderance and profusion of modern tourniquets means that bleeding from an extremity can be reliably and quickly halted, saving the victim until they can be delivered to higher-level care.

There is no excuse for not having tourniquets (TQ’s) close at hand at all times, especially if you carry a firearm, and anybody can learn how to use one including children.

Drill Checklist:

  • Tourniquet (Note: Consider using a dedicated practice TQ, as they can wear out over time.)

How to Perform the Drill:

The drill is simply performed by notifying the participant that surprise drills will be underway after teaching them how to apply a TQ correctly.

Upon announcing a “hit” or “injury”, the training partner should lie down, and allow the participant to correctly position and secure the TQ to the affected limb.

Note: Correct application of a TQ is often painful, and should be expected by the training partner if they want to provide correct practice to the participant.

TQ application cuts off blood flow to the affected limb, and should never, ever be left in position for long periods of time in training. If you have any doubt about the viability of this drill consult your physician.

Advanced drills entail a training partner who will resist due to pain, panic or shock, or beginning from a compromised position and forcing the participant to reposition them for application, as well as having them access the TQ from the med kit that the training partner or they carries.

After-Action Review and Questions:

  • Is the participant physically able to apply the TQ correctly?
  • Did the type or design of the TQ present any specific challenges? Would a different TQ do better?
  • Did the participant demonstrate awareness of their intervention’s success or failure?

Final Word

These are just a few suggested real world survival scenarios that you should practice. Of course, you can cater these examples to the needs of you and your family; you’re certainly free to do that. The point is to ensure the safety of your family and to make sure they are prepared. Good luck!

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