To prepare for a disaster, we must supply these 4 basic needs to stay alive: Air, Shelter, Water and Food.
These essential requirements are often referred to as the Survival Rule of 3.
Survival Rule of 3 and Survival Priorities
You must cover each of these rules in the following order for survival:
- You can survive for 3 Minutes without air
- You can survive for 3 Hours without shelter
- You can survive for 3 Days without water
- You can survive for 3 Weeks without Food
You Can Survive Only 3 Minutes Without Air
It is pretty obvious that any condition or situation that threatens breathing, or the bloods ability to circulate oxygen, is an immediate survival concern.
Choking on food, or having an allergic reaction to a bee sting or food allergy, can easily cut off our ability to breathe and get oxygen to our lungs. Just a few minutes without oxygen, and our brain cells will begin to die.
Severe bleeding is another way we can lose the ability to get oxygen to our body. Enough loss of blood, and again we can face death within a few minutes.
As a Prepper, in order to prepare to cover this 1st rule of survival, we must have the tools and skills necessary to make sure we can survive.
Tools like emergency epinephrine or inhalers if you or a loved one has allergies, and properly stocked 1st aid kits, (most are missing many essential items needed during disasters!) are some of these tools to have ready.
Skills like knowing how to do the Heimlich Maneuve, CPR, or treating severe bleeding are needed if we really want to be prepared for emergencies and disasters.
Learn more here: 1st Aid & Medical.
You Can Survive Only 3 Hours Without Shelter
We can survive for only about 3 hours without shelter in a harsh environment.
Exposure to cold can cause our bodies to go into hypothermia, which means our bodies are losing heat faster than it can produce heat. This will cause our body temperature to drop to where our heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally, leading to death.
It doesn’t have to be extreme cold for this to happen. Getting soaked in a rain storm, wet from falling in water or a flood, in just cooler weather can cause you to start shivering and your body temperature to drop dangerously low.
Being prepared for disasters like these and covering this 2nd rule of survival means we must have the proper clothing ready, know how to start a fire for warmth, or find or make adequate shelter for ourselves. We need to know how to prepare our homes for disaster as well as setting up other types of shelter should we have to evacuate our homes.
Learn more here: Shelter For Survival
You Can Survive Only 3 Days Without Water
Water is the next item we must have in our preparations for surviving a disaster. To keep our bodies functioning properly, we must have a source of safe drinking water. We can only survive about 3 days without it. We use water for drinking, cooking, washing, and sanitation (like flushing the toilet).
To properly prepare for disaster, we will need to either
- Store enough water to carry us through,
- Find a source of safe water, or
- Be able to filter and purify enough water for our needs.
Learn more here: Water For Survival
You Can Survive Only 3 Weeks Without Food
The fourth basic essential we need for survival is food.
During an emergency or disaster situation, we will need to have enough food stored for our needs, or be able to find another source for obtaining food. Remember that during disasters, stores typically run out of the basic needs of food and water quickly and are often unable to get their shelves restocked. We need to know:
- What types of foods to stock
- Proper ways to store food for long-term
- How to safeguard our food stores
- How to replenish our food stores (when the grocery stores are empty)
Learn more here: Food For Survival
These are the preppers basic needs for survival during a disaster.
Are there exceptions to these Survival Rules of 3?
Sure. The times listed for survival are just approximations, or rule of thumb.
For instance, some people will fall unconscious sooner than 3 minutes without air, and freediving has records of breath holding for much longer than 3 minutes.
In fact, Barcelona-based free diver, Aleix Segura, holds the record at 24 minutes and 3 seconds (that’s inhaling pure oxygen before his breath hold) and the record without breathing pure oxygen is still an astounding 11:34!
I can only go about a minute and a half!
Falling in icy water, a person may have only minutes before they go into hypothermia, not the 3 hours the rule of survival for shelter reads.
But the four needs themselves,
- Water, and
are still the basic essential needs we all have to survive a disaster.
Got the basics for survival covered? Then go here next: Beyond the Basics
I’d love to hear what you think. Please give me your comments and thoughts in the comment section below.