surviving disaster

Surviving Disaster charts the journey that Amanda Ripley, award-winning writer on homeland security for Time Magazine, took in determining what factors influence the moment of crisis – and could we do anything about it.

programme information


1 x 60'

Production Company

Santa Fe Productions





Episode Information

This show deconstructs and explains our reactions in the face of disasters. Why do we freeze in the middle of a fire? Why do our senses of sight and hearing change in an emergency? Why do things seem to move more slowly? And most importantly, how do we override these instincts to help us survive and thrive? With first-hand accounts of survivors of 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Indian Ocean tsunami, a house fire and more, this programme considers the neuro-scientific information that helps explain how we act during crises. We visit the training facility of the FAA, where they have done more studies of how people react in crisis than anywhere else. Sharing wisdom about the science of preparation, the elegance of the brain’s fear circuits and the stunning inadequacy of many of our evolutionary responses, we discover the brain’s ability to do much, much better – with just a little training.

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