You’ve Got Three Minutes to Live or Die! (The Rules of 3 in Survival)

Did you know that there are actually rules to survival?

“Rules… to survival?!!” … you say, rolling your eyes. “So, who’s gonna know if I break these rules or not?” hummm …? Well, YOU will be the first to know, and then later on… whoever finds your body.

In survival you need to know what your body is capable of – Hopefully, after reading this, you will never have to find out the hard way. By remembering the hard fast rules of survival known as the “rule of threes", you will know where to put your priorities in a survival situation.

Here they are in order:

  • You can survive 3 minutes without oxygen;
  • You can survive 3 hours without shelter;
  • You can survive 3 days without water; and,
  • You can survive 3 weeks without food. (Can you imagine that? Most of us are thinking more like 3 minutes without food… or maximum 3 hours!! )

I know, you are wondering just like I did, how can this be? When lunch time comes around my stomach tells me right away it’s hungry. And, if you’ve ever gone down one of those water slides, hit the water and dunked underwater, 10 seconds seems like a really long time without air.

These rules are made-up as guidelines and don’t apply to every person the same way. I mean, some of us have more fat, er … eh … bigger bodies than others. Some of us can work right through lunch and not miss a beat while others are hungry just a few hours after breakfast.

The climate has a lot to do with these rules, too. For instance, if you are in a hot climate, 3 days without water could be shortened greatly if you sweat a lot (okay glow a lot - call it what you will – you’re still sweating).

The one mistake most people make in an emergency survival situation is they will attempt to make food their top priority. Remember, your hunger is the one thing that can last the longest (3 weeks). So, even though you may hear the growling pains of hunger from your stomach, you need to focus more on shelter and then water. Ladies, remember, our bodies are remarkable machines and are actually built for survival.

With shelter you will more than likely want to find a warm place. One of the easiest ways to accomplish warmth, if in a wooded area, is to take dry leaves and pile them together or even use pine needles. Then crawl into them to keep you warm. Also, the dry leaves or pine needles can be used as ground layer for insulation from the ground if you have something to cover over you already.

As for water…while you may be able to last 3 days without water, the truth is, you will probably start to feel the effects of dehydration after only 12 hours or so. Our bodies are made up of water and without it you will not be able to think as clearly. One way to seek water is to watch for animals and, if safe to do so, follow them or their tracks (be careful to know what animal you are actually following before doing so!) Also, watch or listen for birds as they tend to congregate around water as well.

Condensation is another way to get water. Dew droplets (no, not doo droplets don’t even go there), will build-up on the leaves and create beads of water. By carefully pouring each leave into one central leave you may have enough to hydrate yourself enough until you can find a better water source (be sure to filter it first through a few levels to clean it.)

Lastly, food. It is only after you have taken care of those first needs; shelter and water, that you will have energy to look for food. Within this rule are other rules (I know, ugh!). As a hard fast rule, stay away from mushrooms - period.

Here’s an easy way to remember your food choices, if it walks, swims, or crawls, (UNLESS IT IS BRIGHTLY COLORED) you’re probably good to go. Small animals, fish and insects are your best bet. If small game is not your cuisine of choice, maybe insects are? If so, do not eat anything that has more than six legs. Another thought, all fur bearing animals are edible, as are all birds – the plucking may be a little burdensome but the reward of meat will only make it taste that much better.

As a side note, I’ve heard tell … ‘You can last 3 months without companionship’ (I think this is where Wilson the volleyball comes in - I’ll save this discussion for another time).

Just sayin'.

- Survivor Jane

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