Rule of Threes & Prepping

The Rule of threes presented by FEMA has made itself prevalent throughout the prepper and survivalist community as a direct rule to follow when doing your SHTF planning. Even FEMA follows the rules of threes to a general point when recommending emergency supplies on the DHS website. Today we are going to have a very clear, no bull, discussion on just how fluffy and feel good these rules of threes are and the reality of how long you really have “without”. When doing your disaster planning or prepping as we call it, carefully consider these points. Why do we oppose the FEMA rule of threes? Well we don’t really, we just want you to know the truth behind the illusions it presents. We wish to educate every survivalist, prepper and off grid family in the best possible manner and that means taking away the magic candy sprinkles that supposedly makes survival so simple.

Rule of Threes Misconception

We will take a look at each one of these rules and consider the important aspects such as your physical condition as well as age, the location of the event, time of the year etc. All of these factors play a huge role. If one is lacking then you can expect that you will fail to meet the expectation of some or perhaps all of the rules listed here. Failing to meet these rule of threes however is not meaning you will fail at survival hence the reason we feel the need to discuss this very important matter, after all we want you to be as prepared as possible just in case local or global Armageddon is around the corner.

3 Minutes Without Air :

This concept is assuming you can hold your breath for three minutes, which you probably can’t, I know I can’t. Not to mention that in an austere environment or emergency situation you will be very physically active, you know fighting for your life and really cool things like that, and your oxygen requirements will be significantly higher. So why is it then that so many “preppers” and “survival experts” do not tell you to prioritize respiratory support devices? Filtration masks, gas masks, and small portable UBD’s (underwater breathing devices) are paramount and selection is based upon your environment and probable atmospheric hazards. Unfortunately it can be daunting  to do the research and unnerving to take the responsibility of recommending such equipment to your patrons. So it is easier to brush it off and pass the buck. The truth is, easy helps no one. The truth here? Well while technically your brain can survive for three minutes without air, it does you no good if there is no one around to revive your now, inanimate dying body. In the first paragraph we already see how the rules of threes can be unrealistic. Read on because we are about to open your eyes to reality in hopes you can survive a SHTF scenario when it hit, yes when and not if because one will hit us when we least expect it so get ready cupcake.

3 Hours Without Shelter:

The probability of you living for three hours running around in your undies within an extreme environment and/or weather is exactly zero percent. “But dude, people wear clothes, duh!” They do indeed, and it is almost always the wrong clothing for the current weather or environment. Don’t believe me? Go hang out in an airport terminal. You will see all manner of people dressed for their destination because it is too bothersome to change during the flight or when they arrive, and the weather there is the complete opposite of where they are currently. it is all too common for people to get caught in sudden inclimate weather and not have the proper attire or equipment. Primitive shelters take hours or even days to construct based on availability of resources. The bottom line here is that this rule is in no way relevant to every situation. The location and weather, as well as your available clothing, plays a huge role here. In addition to the factors mentioned previously, your own body weight and health condition will be a major factor in your survival time. The rule should be, plan ahead, your loved ones will thank you later. Simply put, this rule of threes is not a solid rule to go by.

3 Days Without Water:

You wish, princess! In 1988 when tier 1 special operations soldiers entered Central America to conduct reconnaissance and begin the planning of Operation Just-Cause, in a matter of only a few hours in the field they began suffering heat casualties (dehydration and heat stroke). Yes, you read that right. The most physically fit and well trained warriors in the free world got dehydrated in just a few hours. 99.99% of those reading this article are not those warriors and will succumb to dehydration even faster. On the flip side of this you can easily succumb to dehydration while active in cold environments as well. your body uses a lot of water just to keep you warm. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Have water in you, stored on you, and access to twice as much as you think you need. Again location, health condition, and body mass plays a huge role here and again, it is simply not a solid rule.

3 Weeks Without Food:

Now this is where it gets personal. in my ego driven and ignorant youth I decided I would go live along the Appalachian trail for an extended amount of time, hunting, fishing, and trapping (Where legal). I went alone, which was stupid and I told no one, which was really stupid. At one point in North Carolina during the winter, I went for almost three full weeks with virtually nothing to eat. I say virtually nothing because the occasional worm or fern frond was all I encountered. At one point I got lost because your brain doesn’t function properly without food. Utilizing proper land navigation skills, thanks Dad, I got myself back onto the main trail and headed towards a highway intersection. Fortunately there was an outdoor center with a small restaurant. I ate till I vomited and I ate some more, with tears pouring down my face. I will never go hungry again, nor will my loved ones experience that feeling as long as I live. I recommend you have a ton of food. Good nutritious food for you and others. This rule, while very possible is not something every person will survive. This rule like all others will also depend on health condition, body mass, and mental strength. ** By the way, our Elite Survival Academy launching very soon will require an eight hour course in mental preparation prior to advancing into the rest of the coursework. We are doing this because we want to teach you survival skills in the proper manner and not teach the cotton candy forest wilderness survival courses.

The Conclusion

So if the “Rule of Threes” is so far off from reality, why does it persist you ask? The answer is simple. It provides a clear “generic” outline for logistical considerations in the set up and execution of life support systems. Because that is the whole point. Put plans in place to not survive but to thrive and lead in emergency situations and you will find yourself ahead of the game. Prepping is a serious thing for some of us and none of us want to just “survive” we want to “thrive”. To sum it all up, the rules of threes survival depends on many other factors so don’t just rely on a fraction of the facts. Our suggestion is to plan to NOT have to rely on these rules. Just because some so called experts says you can do it does not mean you can actually pull it off. Plan ahead, make a clear written guideline of what you plan to do and what you will need to do it with. 

This article is the first of what will be a multimedia resource for our upcoming Survival Academy. Responsible, pertinent, and fact-based classroom and field training courses to arm fellow homo-sapiens for austere and emergency environments.

Now stop touching yourself princess and go do some push-ups!

~Josh Berry – STS Survival~
~STS Survival Consultant~

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