Life must be prioritized and priorities are never more important than when you are in a survival situation. Decisions have to make quickly and they must be the right decisions. To prevent panic and to keep from making the wrong decisions you need to prepare and prioritize.
The Most Commonly Accepted Survival Rule Of 3
You Cannot Survive:
- Longer Than Three Minutes Without Air
- Longer Than Three Hours Without Shelter
- Longer Than Three Days Without Water
- Longer Than Three Weeks Without Food
Three minutes without air is accurate. However, there have been cases where people have survived longer than three weeks without food and longer than three days without water.
Shelter is subjective; it can be a hollow spot under a log or burying yourself in a pile of leaves. A lot depends on what you call shelter.
Remember your priorities: you must escape the vehicle within three minutes if submerged, or find the shore if dumped out of your canoe in the middle of the rapids. You need air and it is your first priority.
Begin Prioritizing Survival Needs Using the Rule Of 3
Assume for a moment that you have plenty of air, so your next priority is shelter and water. The reason you need to focus on shelter first is you will become weaker from lack of water and calories. Therefore, build your shelter first. Keep in mind this must happen within a matter of hours. You must also soon be hydrated, it will help keep you warm at night and hydration will keep your energy level high enough to forage for food.
If you became lost on a day hike, for example you probably have a water bottle to get you through the night. It typically takes rescue operations 72 hours to find you or be close to finding you. Your pack should have:
- a knife to help you in building a shelter,
- fire starting tools,
- water purification tablets or 2% liquid iodine for water purification,
- protein bars,
- a full quart canteen or water bottle. The average person requires 4 liters of water a day for drinking and hygiene.
For now, your priority is shelter and fire to survive the night. Get a fire started for your comfort and moral. Fire is needed to signal rescue personnel, as well. If you are lost, stay put. If you knew how to get out you would not be lost, so wandering around lost is dangerous and makes it harder for rescue personnel to find you.
If you are hiking to a campsite, you may have a tent or canvas. If you do not have any type of shelter material in your pack you need to put a shelter together using what nature provides. The ground next to a fallen log can be scooped out. Pick the south side if you are in a cool climate. Prop pine boughs and saplings against the log and ground. If you do not have a knife or small ax or hatchet you will have to break the limbs. If you have to break limbs use dead ones, live saplings will bend but not break easily.
Leave one side open; the opening will face along the log and not away from it. Build your fire close to the entrance but not inside. You will be overcome with smoke if it is too close. If you have rain gear or a poncho set the gear so it collects the morning dew. Dew is simply the condensation of air that has been heated by the sun during the day. Once the air cools down it allows moisture to settle on surfaces typically, in the very early hours. The moisture will collect on foliage and your poncho. Create depressions in the poncho for water to pool. Begin the process of gathering water regardless of your current supply. You can never have enough water.
Start another fire in a clearing if you are in the deep woods. The fire can be spotted from the air and ground. Do not wander at night but stay in the shelter and maintain the fire.
In the morning, consume the water from dew and save what water you may have brought with you. Work on enhancing your shelter and begin looking for a stream, natural ground springs or fissures in rock faces that seep water.
Gather pine cones and place in the fire to split open for the pine nuts and if you find a stream look for fish. Other animals will need water so there will be game trails. Set snares or wait for rabbits, squirrels, wild turkeys and other game to come by. Spear or stone the game.
If you do not panic and begin running in circles you will survive. Stay calm and rely on your common sense.
Remember prioritizing survival needs using the rule of 3.