Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rule of 3

This post originated in the comment section of my post 107 Skills You May Want or Need After TEOTWAWKI.  Fellow blogger Allyson Szabo of http://our-freehold.blogspot.com/ essentially wrote a whole 'nother blog post about the Rule of 3 in the comments, taking three posts to do it because of comment length limitations.  For your convenience and with her permission, those comments are being reposted here. 

When we prep, we look at the "rule of 3". You can live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food, and 3 months without hope. Going from that list, you can prep at different levels.

In a "get home" bag stashed in the trunk of the car, "3 minutes without air" means a small first aid kit. In our little community's medical kit, "3 minutes without air" means a fully stocked first aid kit including intubation tubes. You look at what level you're at and work with it. 

Generally speaking, "3 minutes without air" means first aid at some level. A sucking chest wound can be covered with a plastic bag or saran wrap. Do you have enough gauze and bandages? Do you know how to make more? Did you know plantain, chewed up in the mouth to a soft poultice, will draw out minor to medium infections? :) That's the kind of stuff you want to know and have.

"3 hours without shelter" again means different things at different levels. In your get home bag, it might mean a strip of paracord and a plastic rain poncho, or one of those foil emergency blankets. In the woods, it means building a shelter with what's available - branches, leaves, sod, etc. In your home (during a major power outage, for instance; no need for zombies hehe) it might mean being able to keep windows from breaking during a hurricane or putting blankets over drafty doors to help keep the heat in. In a long term survival situation, it means knowing enough about building to put together a log cabin or other larger shelter for you or livestock.

"3 days without water" is easy in New England - we have water all around us. For us, that means mostly good filtration. I know how to make a plastic applicator tampon into a make-shift filter if I really needed to. :) We have some of those emergency filter straws, as well as some hand pump filters that are excellent. We have bleach, which makes pretty much everything potable. We aim to pick up a Berkey filter at some point for household use, but that's expensive and not yet figured into the budget. If you're in Arizona, you need to plan differently, though! Storing water is better in dry areas. Make it potable, put it away in big jugs or 55 gallon food-grade containers. Rain water is fine, but remember to purify it before you drink it. Rotate it - water gets stale after a while (though it's still drinkable technically). Factor in wash water as well as drinking water and cooking water - if you aren't clean, you'll get an infection and won't last long.

That brings us to "3 weeks without food." Rightly enough, MREs are a quick solution, and we usually keep on in the get home bag. There's enough calories in one to keep you going for a day or two if you got stuck in your car, for instance, or had to walk a long distance because you were out of gas. They can also be "cooked" inside the vehicle (which heats up the car btw) because the little heater packs are all self-contained. There's no flame involved. :) But food also means stores at home - what would you do if you lost your job and had six weeks to wait for the next influx of money? What would you do if a massive storm front hit your town and all the stores and roadways were closed and unusable for a week or two? What would happen if the SHTF? We have enough food to last us a while... through most natural disasters of the hurricane or major storm sort. It's varied, too... it isn't MREs, because those get boring real fast. We have beans, dehydrated meats and fish, TVP, canned meats and fish (both commercial and home done), baked beans home canned, wheat berries and the means to grind them into flour, etc. Our major downfall would be dairy, though we do have powdered milk. But... ick. LOL... And one of the biggest things - I know how to and have cooked with every single thing in our long-term storage. Believe me when I say that "during an emergency" is a terrible time to learn how to bake from wheat berries. LOL...

The last one is the most serious. A human being can only last about 3 months without hope. For us, that means having an easy to recharge electronic reader with as many classic books and survival manuals as we can get onto it, as well as having our house stocked full of books, floor to ceiling in places. We have board games, cards, dice, hula hoops, scooters, bicycles etc. Hope comes from *living* rather than surviving. To live, you need to be able to have something close to a normal routine once you're past the initial emergency. Survival really is a short term thing.

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