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Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Tricks Of The Trade | 1 comment








A column dedicated to “life hacks” from professional magician Jamie D. Grant of


Hiya Gang!

This column has really morphed from an idea that Prevail and I had over coffee one day into something I really enjoy. I’m viewing it almost as, “Things I Wish I Knew” instead of just “Life Hack Secrets”; and I hope it gives you some insight and knowledge, not just secrets, that you might not have yet. So today we’re going to add to your knowledge portfolio with a question…

Say you’re in line waiting to get your coffee when the older guy standing in front of you drops to the ground. Not a nice movie style I-don’t-feel-well-I-think-I-need-to-lay-down scenario, either, but a full on BOOM! He’s on the floor. What’s your game plan?

If you’re pulling out your cellphone, I hope it’s to call 9-1-1 and not start filming. I already know that’s what you’re doing, though, because that’s what someone who comes to would do. But now what? Are you able to tell the dispatcher his age? And if he’s breathing (the guy on the floor, not the dispatcher). Have you ever tried to tell if someone is breathing when you’re in the middle of a crowded space and people are screaming?

You might have heard:

Look. Listen. Feel. (at his chest, to his mouth, on his chest)

But here’s something you might not have heard before:

Telling everyone to shut the f$#k up.

Okay, so it might not sound exactly like that- but it’s the idea that you need to get across to everyone instantly. If you’ve read my work before, I’m very into “real-world” situations. So, specifically, how do you convey to the other people that you need to see if this guy is still alive?

It should probably go something like this:

“Someone call 9-1-1 please! This guy is out. You. What’s your name? Sarah? Can you call for me? And can everyone just be quiet for a second? HEY! Sorry! There’s an emergency here and we need silence! And can we turn this music off?”

That’s it. You would be shocked at how rarely someone takes charge of a situation and how effective it really is. When people panic, they need someone to take charge. And if no one does, mayhem ensues. The problem is that everyone is looking around for someone else to take on the role. Why? Well, because they’re probably terrified for any number of reasons. So you need to shake off whatever is that is going through your mind and body right now and fill that gap. The rest is fairly easy (in a sense). The dispatcher will give you instructions. The Paramedics will come. Just remember:

9-1-1 (this is where most people stop).

Get silence.

Follow instructions.

Help everyone in the room, not just the guy on the floor.


That last one is what separates the men from the boys. While most people, as soon as the paramedics arrive, are calling their friends to tell them what just happened, those who truly invested into following the guide to the good life are checking in on everyone in the room. Are people freaking out? Scared? Go talk to them and check-in. An “Are you okay?” is what will give you the knowledge you came here for.

There’s a theory amongst us paramedics:

If the building across the street explodes, there are only two kinds of people in the world:

People who are running from…


And people who are running to.


Run to,


jamie d. grant




1 Comment

  1. I really enjoyed this article. It makes sense to stick around and see how others who have witnessed the said scenario are doing…I admit that may not have been my first thought…it’s getting back to people genuinely caring about people again.
    Thank you, Jamie.