Situation: Your split-level Shangri-la with a view is about to head to the valley floor on the back of a mudslide.
Solution: It’s time to make a break for higher ground, remembering that it’s best to run perpendicular to the slide. But dashing over the slick slurry in flip-flops won’t cut it—you’re going to need grippy mudshoes. Quickly pull the rectangular metal mesh filters, which should be a few inches larger than your shoe soles, from the hood of your oven and use a screwdriver to poke a hole on each side of them. Then thread a shoelace through each hole, lash the mesh to your feet, and head for the hills.
Situation: You’re blasting down the highway when you notice something ominous in your rearview: a monster twister.
Solution: Your best bet is to take refuge in a permanent shelter, such as a basement. If you don’t see one, get out of your car and lie low in the ditch next to the highway. If you have a few moments and a good wrench, you can improve your survival odds by anchoring yourself to the ground. Shimmy under your muffler and then locate and remove four U-bolts, usually found along the exhaust system. Return to the ditch, strip out of your shirt and pants, and use the wrench to pound the bolts through your sleeves and pant legs into the hard ground. Slide back into your clothes, and watch for flying cows.
Situation: It’s the bottom of the third with two outs when the organ stops and the announcer tells everyone to remain calm: A fast-moving outbreak of antipodean rooster pox has put the stadium under indefinite quarantine, a death sentence if ever you’ve heard one.
Solution: Although experts agree that masks usually can’t stop you from getting a virus because the bugs are too small to filter, masks can prevent direct contact from sneeze splashes or careless coughers. Grab a heavy-cotton T-shirt from a vendor. Cut out a large rectangle of fabric, slicing two slits on each side to create ties. Place it over your nose and mouth, knotting the lowest tie under your ears and behind your head. Sharpen a stick. Poke anyone who doesn’t close their mouth when they cough.
Situation: You’re four Mai Tais into your vacation when the tsunami sirens go off. The panicking crowd makes it impossible to get off the beach, not that it matters—this little atoll doesn’t have any higher ground.
Solution: Make a life preserver. Pick your pants off the sand, and cinch the cuffs closed using your shoelaces. Scrounge the beach for sturdy plastic bags or other inflatable items. Blow them up. Stuff the inflated balloons into the legs of your pants, and tighten the belt to hold them in. Wrap the legs around your neck and tie the shoelaces together, creating a life preserver. Take a last sip of your Mai Tai. You’re going to need it.