You know, it is an interesting dilemma. Let's say you are the last surviving son of an important family, the heir to an empire. "common" men and women are dying all around you, so what's a few more potatoes in the stew? You would provide work and jobs and industry, and continue on a legacy.
What do you do?
I hope, what I believe is right, and save as many as I could with no thought to myself. Empires come and go and no one person is greater than any other, in regards to importance of life, imo. In the end, I'm sure there would be fear. Doing what is right and just in the face of fear, is what I hope I would have the courage to do.
Having said that, every instance is different. If you had women and children vs say.. a murder convict, I'm sure my thought process and sacrifice would be different, although, it probably shouldn't be.