Thursday, December 15, 2011

How To Survive a Long Fall

Haven't we all wondered what we would do in the worst case scenario of falling from a ten-story-building or plane? Of course you have, those horrifying nightmares of falling into the deep abyss, shortly before waking up and grabbing your bed in sheer terror have taught you better. But before you turn away and exclaim that surviving a ten-story fall is impossible, allow me to point out the hundreds of people that have survived even greater falls, after falling in a specific manner. (Both intentionally, and unintentionally.) So the next time you're standing six floors above the ground, remember these steps.

It'll be like this, but the smiles and excitement would be replaced by death.

1. Slow down your fall

Considering that earth's acceleration due to gravity is 9.81 m/s^2, you might want to consider slowing down your fall. But it obviously can't be as easy as snapping your heels together and expecting to find yourself in a luscious green forest alone. Actually, it can. All you need to do (and can do) is attempt to increase your surface area in order to allow good ol' air resistance to work its magic.

All you need to do is to spread yourself out, stomach facing the earth, head and legs reaching for the skies, arms outstretched, elbows and knees slightly bent, and you're as good as gold. You may have seen this position in the thousands of movies that have included sky diving, the difference is, you don't have a parachute. You can actually shave off up to 80 mph off your speed as you reach terminal velocity if you stay in this position instead of going head/feet down.

So, no. They don't do this to simply look lame.

However this step only applies to you if you're certain that you have 30 seconds or more of air time otherwise, you'll just end up landing in a awkward position.

Also: While you're anticipating impact, find a nice place to land

If all you see below you are large slabs of cement, you can attempt to direct your body towards another direction. As you can probably guess, hard, rough surfaces are possibly the worst places you can land. Look for long slopes or soft surfaces that can help absorb some of the force. Also, remember that when you're trying to move around, don't act like you're swimming in water; staying in the position described above, simply twist your body towards the direction you wish to go, like a plane or bird.

Did you know: If you fall from an airplane, you can get up to three minutes of fall time, which can give you a few miles of turning space before you hit the ground.
2. Land on your feet

Once the ground begins to envelope you in its grey and green blurring shades, you can be 94% sure that's about time to land. Of course it's pretty clear that you can't simply land in any position you deem most comfortable.Thankfully, it's as easy as landing on your feet.

I now feel six times more comfortable falling out of a plane.

When you're about to land, simply turn upright, put your feet side-by-side, (to avoid landing on only one foot) and point your toes slightly down to absorb more of the fall into your balls of your feet. Remember to only do this when you're ready for impact, since doing it before hand will give you a smaller surface area and make you become a speeding needle through the air. However, remember that when you're falling, you're going pretty fast; when you're about 1,000 feet from the ground, it can take up to ten seconds to reach the ground.

Also: If possible, roll.

If you find yourself impacting the ground, and you suddenly feel an inclination to roll like in the games and movies, do it. It works. By rolling, you can push the force throughout your entire body, effectively weakening it for every second of awesome rolling you do. 

3. Relax.

One of the most important thing you can do is, relax. Relaxing will give you the best chances of survival to opposed to tightening your muscles and embracing impact. Why? Because by tightening your muscles, the force of the fall is placed more so on your inner organs than your muscles; think of it as an egg inside a cement shoe. Unless you can tighten your internal organs as hard as you can clench your arms against your chest in a desperate scream, try embracing the self-realizations of imminent death.

Assume relaxing positions!

Studies have shown that people generally suffer from less injuries from long falls after reportedly "relaxing".

4. If you bounce, protect your head

Believe it or not, but there have been cases of people actually surviving the initial long-fall and ending up losing the game after the bounce. Bounce you say? After impacting the ground, you might find that the earth will re-propel you back into the air if you've fallen high enough. If you find yourself back in the air after falling, be sure to protect your head by interlocking your fingers behind your head with your elbows forward.(Just a suggestion, there may be other methods) Failing to do so can increase your chances of dying an unfortunate death after surviving a seven-story-drop, only to snap your neck on a misplaced soda bottle.