It has been 12 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Going back and listening to the stories of those that survived is amazing. Here are a few pointers on how to survive when disaster strikes. 

Your chances of being involved in something like a plane crash or terror attack are pretty slim, but as history has shown us, it can happen. There's a common thread when listening to the stories of people who made it out alive. They all wanted to survive and didn't give up.

Don't Freeze

Yes, the initial shock of something going on is going to make you freeze momentarily, and survival expert John Leach says this happens when someone confronted with disaster "loses his or her ability to make choices." It's almost as if your brain can't process what's happening and freezes up. If this happens, he says to start talking to yourself about what you're seeing, hearing and smelling. When you give a "play by play" of this, it can jump start your brain and body into action.

Do Seek Help

When disaster strikes, first responders will be everywhere. Once you get out, look for a police officer, fire fighter or EMT. If you're still inside a building after a disaster, even if you're trying to get out, shout to emergency responders or call for help from your phone. Once you get into contact with emergency personnel, do exactly as they tell you. If you're told to evacuate, leave and if you're given a specific route to take, take it. Don't take short cuts. If you're told to shut off utilities, do it. Once you get to where you are safe, if you can't get a hold of your immediate family in the area, contact a family member away from the disaster to let them know you're OK.

Don't Lose Hope

Don't be so overly optimistic about your situation because that can be just as bad as freezing up. Make like Journey and don't stop believing you'll make it out alive because once that happens, you're not going to make it out alive. Be hopeful about getting out, but be real about what you need to do to get out. If that means crawling over broken glass with an injured arm, limping out of somewhere on a broken ankle, or running faster than you've ever run in your life to get away from the situation, do it. Ben Sherwood, author of The Survivors Club says to keep fighting until you're safe.

Do Be Prepared

The phrase, "The best defense is a good offense" is something to remember. To defend yourself against something happening, be prepared for it. Have an emergency kit in your storm shelter with a first aid kit, extra medication, non perishable food items, bottled water, a flashlight, radio and batteries. When you get on the plane, pay attention to the instructions and read the pamphlet along with the preflight checks. Go one step further and figure out an escape plan and an alternate route.  Ben Sherwood says that yes, that's a morbid thought, but being prepared drastically improves your chances of survival.