Guest post by Rudy Kearney who blogs at Preparing Your Family.
I have four rules of thumb that I live by. They’re pretty straight forward, and I certainly didn’t make them up myself. But I use them and teach them. Since they are a foundational building block of the preparedness mindset I teach, I share them here.
Rule One: The Rule Of Threes
So this isn’t a hard and fast rule and it’s not intended to be taken literally. This rule sets some basic escalating guidelines on how long you can survive without certain necessities. Do not take this rule as canon law, but use it to guide your triage and prioritization.
The rule is simple:
- You can survive for three minutes without oxygen.
- You can survive for three hours in severe environments without shelter.
- You can survive for three days without water.
- You can survive for three weeks without food.
As you go about preparing yourself and your family, you should use this rule to help guide your preparation triage. Yeah, you might be hungry enough to eat a horse, but if you don’t have water, you’re screwed. Should you work on water purification or go off looking for lizards to eat?
Rule Two: Two Is One and One is None
Every Prepper needs to understand the art of redundancy and how to apply it to your planning process. You don’t want to end up being up a creek without a paddle when something breaks and you have no spare!
All too often we add something to our prep room but don’t think about redundancy. We can’t even imagine the ways in which something can break or fail. And according to Murphy, that failure will happen at the worst possible time. So we need to prepare for that as well.
In real terms this means that you never ever only buy one of something. If you are forced to break that rule for some reason, financially or space wise for example, then you absolutely must have a contingency plan.
In many cases I would recommend buying more than one extra if possible. You may not be in a position to replace something that fails or breaks and that extra stockpile may be the only thing between you and not having a valuable tool.
Rule Three: Slow Down and Survive
This rule sounds like a bit of a contradiction. On one hand, not reacting quickly in an emergency situation can kill you. On the other hand, reacting too quickly without thinking can kill you too.
Using your head is the key to survival. But there’s one little problem with using your head. If you’re under too much stress it will absolutely reduce your ability to think straight. You may not even be able to think at all!
So you have to game out your action plan for different emergencies ahead of time. This way you can walk through things slowly, decide ahead of time how to react, and plan for various contingencies.
The chances of you hitting a scenario you’ve gamed out on the dot are next to nothing. But by planning, you’ve thought about it, and you’ll have already put your brain through most of the paces it will need to make a good decision, so reacting to that emergency situation will be easier.
Rule Four: Don’t Panic!
It’s very common for people just getting into preparedness to feel something that is borderline panic. They see the potential for disaster everywhere they look, just like Rowdy Roddy Piper in ‘They Live’. Suddenly they feel like they have to get prepared for everything at once.
Enter panic, an overwhelming fear, and the glories of the Fight or Flight reaction. And let me tell you, the resulting body chemistry messes with your body and your mind, and makes it pretty hard to plan correctly.
Chances are you won’t be able to avoid the panicky feeling, but you need to harness it into a sense of urgency that you can use to keep yourself on track. Don’t let yourself fall into panic mode!
Don’t go out and start buying everything under the sun. Use this website and other resources you may find as a way to plan things out. And once you have that plan, be methodical and consistent about executing it.
Preparedness is a lifetime mentality. This isn’t something that you do for a few months and never touch again. It fundamentally changes the way you look at the world and you won’t be the same again.
Sometimes life events, local or global, personal or societal, will make you worry even more. And rest assured, it’s ok to change your priorities based on what you see going on around you. It’s foolish not to, in fact.
But above all, Don’t Panic, and always have a towel handy!
Rudy Kearney writes about emergency and disaster preparedness with a family oriented focus on his blog ‘Preparing Your Family’
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