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Those with deep-seated fears about killer bees, quicksand, mountain lions and sharks will enjoy The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht , a handy little book for the extremely prepared that is climbing the best-seller list.
Just so you know right away, the first rule of survival is Do Not Panic. The last rule is Learn to Return. There are a lot of rules in between. This handbook tells how to get out of 40 bad situations, "pretty much a scary scenario for everyone," Piven says. Experts were consulted. The longest scenario (six pages) tells how to land a small passenger plane in case the pilot can't.
Everything signals seriousness. The cover (yellow-orange like traffic signs, school buses, No. 2 pencils) conveys caution, safety. The language is plain (scant adjectives) and formal (no contractions). The black-and-white drawings were inspired by that survival bible, The Boy Scout Handbook. This book is serious right down to the warning in the beginning: "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO UNDERTAKE ANY OF THE ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN THIS BOOK YOURSELF."
This is a no-nonsense, no-fooling-around guide with straightforward information. But fear not: The authors have enough perspective to acknowledge the campy appeal of an armchair guide for the anxious. "We thought it would be funny to people," Borgenicht says.
They were, he says, "inspired by pop culture as much as by paranoia - most of the scenarios we talk about were a TV or a movie scene."
Sharks, the authors say, scared both of them to pieces in childhood.
Blame it on Jaws.
HOW TO SURVIVE A POISONOUS SNAKE ATTACK
Because poisonous snakes can be difficult to identifyand because some nonpoisonous snakes have markings very similar to venomous ones-the best way to avoid getting bitten is to leave all snakes alone. Assume that a snake is venomous unless you know for certain that it is not.
HOW TO TREAT A BITE
1)Wash the bite with soap and water as soon as you can.
2)Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart. This will slow the flow of the venom.
3)Get medical help as soon as possible. A doctor should treat all snakebites unless you are willing to bet your life that the offending snake is nonpoisonous. Of about eight thousand venomous bites a year in the U.S., nine to fifteen victims are killed. A bite from any type of poisonous snake should always be considered a medical emergency. Even bites from nonpoisonous snakes should be treated professionally, as severe allergic reactions can occur. Some Mojave rattlesnakes carry a neurotoxic venom that can affect the brain or spinal cord, causing paralysis.
4)Immediately wrap a bandage tightly two to four inches above the bite to help slow the venom if you are unable to reach medical care within thirty minutes. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. Make the bandage loose enough for a finger to slip underneath.
5)If you have a first aid kit equipped with a suction device, follow the instructions for helping to draw venom out of the wound without making an incision. Generally, you will need to place the rubber suction cup over the wound and attempt to draw the venom out from the bite marks.
WHAT NOT TO DO
HOW TO ESCAPE FROM A PYTHON
Unlike poisonous snakes, pythons and boas kill their prey not through the injection but by constriction; hence these snakes are known as constrictors. A constrictor coils its body around its prey, squeezing it until the pressure is great enough to kill.
Since pythons and boas can grow to be nearly twenty feet long, they are fully capable of killing a grown person, and small are even more vulnerable. The good new is that most pythons will strike and then try to get away, rather than consume a full-grown human.
1) Remain still. This will minimize constriction strength, but a python usually continues constricting well after the prey is dead and not moving.
2) Try to control the python's head and try to unwrap the coils, starting from whichever end is available.
HOW TO AVOID AN ATTACK