How to Survive the 5 Most Common Emergency Situations

Nuclear fallout, asteroid strikes, and sinkholes are rare. But, yes, emergencies do happen. And while you'd be foolish to spend time preparing for any of those three disasters, it's smart and doubly worthwhile to prep for some of the more common ones. (See also: 5 Emergency Situations You Must Prepare For)

Read on for our round-up of likely red alert scenarios, complete with tips on how to prevent and get out of them.

1. A Bad Case of Frostbite

If you spend time at high altitudes or in sub-zero climes, chances are you've flirted with frostbite. A mild case can mean your skin becomes partially frozen — and when it warms back up it's going to hurt like heck. But a bad case of frostbite can lead to severe blistering, permanent cold sensitivity, and long-term loss of feeling. Not to mention it's a warning sign of life-threatening hypothermia.

So if you think you've been exposed to frostbite of this magnitude — or if you're at all uncertain — it's important to remove yourself from the elements as quickly as possible and seek professional emergency medical treatment. As you make your way to the medics, keep in mind two important don'ts. Never use friction to warm body parts that have been exposed to frostbite, for this can further damage the tissue. And never rewarm frostbitten skin while you're still out in the elements — you'll run the risk of refreezing and doubly damaging your skin.

2. Flat Tires And Blowouts

Prior to 2007 when tire pressure monitoring systems were installed in all vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated flat tires and blowouts as the cause of 414 fatalities, 10,275 non-fatal injuries, and 78,392 crashes on American roads annually. Tire pressure monitoring systems have made us safer, but tire troubles are still one of the most common problems faced by drivers. That's because the tires are the only part of the car that are in constant contact with the road, making them extremely vulnerable.

The best way to prevent a faulty tire situation is to check your air pressure regularly, rotate your tires every time you change the oil, and keep an eye on the treads, making sure to replace any tires that appear worn out. And if you do hear a tire pop or experience a sudden lack of control in steering while whizzing down the highway, follow these steps: Get a firm grip on the wheel and slowly apply the brakes (sudden braking can propel your car into a spin-out), pull over to the side of the road, and activate your flashers. Once you're safely stopped out of the way of traffic, change the tire yourself or call for help.

3. A Severe Storm Threat

Be it a hurricane, blizzard, or wildfire, Mother Nature can wreak havoc on our lives. Where you live will help determine what kind of storm event you ought to prepare for, but nonetheless most disaster kits contain many of the same key ingredients. These kits should be assembled well in advance of an emergency, and they should contain everything you need to survive for 72 hours.

Some of those items include nonperishable food for you and your pets, bottled water, a sleeping bag or warm blanket for everyone in your household, prescription medications, first aid supplies, matches, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a whistle to signal for help. Be sure to keep your kit in a secure location — and be sure that everyone in the house knows where it is. (See also: Safest Cities in America From Natural Disasters)

4. Getting The Pink Slip

Four in 10 Americans would feel financial hardship a month from now if they were to lose their job today. Gallup's 2014 Economy and Personal Finance Poll also found that 23% of Americans earning $50,000 or less said they are very or fairly likely to lose their job in the near future. For Americans earning more than $50,000, it's 12%.

"With long-term unemployment a serious problem in recent years, many U.S. workers are not in a position financially to go a month, or even a week, without finding a new job if laid off," the Gallup poll concludes. "That underscores the economic hardship that unemployment of any length can bring on U.S. families, particularly for younger and lower-income workers."

One of the top reasons so many Americans fall into a financial black hole when they lose employment is that they didn't see it coming. So the best way to prevent yourself from falling into this trap is to prepare for the unexpected by creating an emergency savings fund. Paul Golden, spokesman for the National Endowment for Financial Education, recommends setting aside three to six months of living expenses to offset any future potential job loss. During a recession, that amount should increase to six to nine months of expenses, Golden says.

5. House Fires

Every year there are more than 360,000 house fires, killing about 2,500 people and causing more than $7 billion in property damage in the U.S. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of house fires, followed by cigarette smoking and faulty heating equipment. And since two of every five house fires starts in the kitchen, one of the best ways to prevent one in your home is to fire-proof the area around your stove by removing anything flammable (think dish towels, anything made of paper or plastic) within three feet of the burners. It's also important to install and test your home smoke alarm to ensure that it's working properly.

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Emergencies do happen. It's smart and doubly worthwhile to prep for some of the more common ones. Here are the likely red alert scenarios, complete with tips on how to prevent and get out of them. | #emergency #disasters #lifehacks

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