Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Rule of Three

     So recently I have been doing a lot of research on a lot of different topics and as a result I found myself learning a lot about a lot of little different things and nothing is connected. You can see the results in my blog posts as well, because just I have been bouncing from topic to topic in my research, so have my posts. As a result I have decided to try a back to the basics approach.

     I am going to try to start with the basics and move out from there, so hopefully I have better structure and continuation in the things I am learning. This will hopefully also translate into blog posts covering more information about one topic before going on to the next as well. Which brings me to the topic of today's post. The Rule of Three! In survival you can't get more basic than this rule.

     The concept of it is very simple. The rule of three tells you how long you can live without something.  You can live:

-3 minutes without air.

-3 hours without shelter.

-3 days without water.

-3 weeks without food.

     The first thing you have to focus on in a survival situation is air. Without air, everything else is moot. You have approximately three minutes and thats it. Without air, you die. Now for most people they arn't going to associate air with a survival situation. Why would you be worried about breathing in something like a plane crash?

     Maybe you won't have to be, but never the less it is something you have to keep in mind for any survival situation, because you don't know what could happen that could take away air. In fact you have to keep it in mind for non survival situations because three minutes is all it takes to drown or to suffocate.

     You can suffocate in an avalanche or a cave in. You can also suffocate from carbon monoxide or smoke. When you get carbon monoxide poisoning that is essentially what is happening. That is why having a carbon monoxide detector in your house is as important as a smoke alarm. Whether the house is on fire, or an invisible gas is filling the house it is something you need to be aware of and prepared for, because you only have three minutes.

     Another thing to keep in mind is whenever you go swimming or boating. If you fall off of a boat and hit your head you will find yourself suddenly in a survival situation. In fact you don't even have to be in a large body of water to drown. A person can drown in as little as an inch of water. It doesn't sound like a lot does it? However that is all it takes. So keep in mind the rule of three. Three minutes without air and you are dead.

     Three hours without shelter. That is the time we give for it, though I am sure it could happen in even less time that that in some situations. Mostly very very cold situtations, but possible none the less. The first time I heard the rule of three, I heard air first and went, well of course. Then shelter came up next. Three hours without shelter, and I thought no way. Shouldn't food or water be the real focus before that? Then I actually started to think about it.

     It makes sense. People can have an idea of how to tell the weather just by what conditions are like around them. However none of us are perfect, and weather is unpredictable. If it is sunny and seventy out, you might not need a shelter to survive, but there is no garuntee that it will stay sunny and seventy out. At the very least, at some point the sun is going to set and then its nighttime.

     Shelter is crucial because it helps protect you from the elements. It can help keep you warm, or cool by providing shade in a hot place. It protects you from rain, wind, snow and any other weather elements you can think of, and thats important. Not only are you protected from the elements, but you are then more protected against conditions that can be brought on by the weather such as heat stroke and hypothermia.

     Not only is the importance of staying warm and dry important but a shelter also gives you a sense of security. Even if it is a false sense of security it is something that can help boost your mood in a survival situation, and when you are surviving the will to live is perhaps the most important thing. It gives you something to focus on for a time as you make it, and it then gives a space that you can call home, even if its just temporary. By making a shelter you can become a little bit less lost, simply because you have a point of reference and a base of operation.

     Three days without water. Again this is another give or take number. It might be four days without water, and there are even reports of people who have gotten lost in the desert for five, six, or even seven days without water! For most people however it is three days, and I know I don't ever want to try and see if I could make it longer than that. Dying of thirst is not a pleasent way to go. Therefore, after shelter, water becomes you next prioriety.

     You need water to prevent dehydration. Human beings are made up of 60% water, and our brains are 70%. Thats a lot of water. When we start to become dehydrated our bodies and our brains are not going to work as well, because they start to lose that water content. So now if you think about that, and then about being really dehydradted, you start to get an idea of why water is some important. Very simply, we can't function without it. Our body will shut down and we will die, and the time line for that is three days. Its not a very long time, so it is important to obtain a water source quickly in a survival situation.

     Now something to keep in mind in a survival situation is the source of water. Water can easily have contaminents and parasites in it, and you don't want to get that stuff in you normally, much less in a survival situation. It will make your situation worse, not better. Therefore you should always filter and or boil your water before drinking it. I won't cover the different ways to filter or boil water today, but those are definatly need to know skills.

     Our final three is three weeks. Three weeks without food and you die. It has a longer time frame than all our other survival elements and so it would be the last major survival element you can focus on. However, that doesn't mean it can be ignored. In a survival situation you either have to get out of the situation before that three weeks is up or you have to find food. This can be done through foraging or hunting.

     In many places foraging for wild edibles might be the easier way to find food. Game can sometimes be scarce and hard to catch. The trick with wild edibles is that you have to know what they are. You can't just go and eat everything green. Some stuff just won't be edible, and worse other stuff will be poisonious. Getting to know at least a small list of common basic edibles for any area you will be in is definatly a good idea.

     Hunting may be an easier way for many people to go about obtaining food. At the very least with an animal you can generally have a good idea of which ones and which parts will be edible, especially if it is a mammel. In a survival situation though, it is unlikely that you will have hunting or fishing gear much less a shotgun or rifle to go hunting with. That means you will likely have to improvise, and so knowing multiple ways to catch game such as fishing, snares and traps is good knowledge to know.

     So that covers the rule of three. Three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food. There is one other thing though that I would like to add to the list. It isn't an offical part of the rule of three, but I heard it somewhere and I decided that it was just important.

     I heard it said once that you also can't survive three seconds without will. The will to survive is very important, and without it you lose the motivation, strength, and desire to make sure that all the other basics in the rule of three are covered. So you may not want to add it to your rule of three, but I know I have added it to mine.


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