Beyond the urban environment, there is a basic set of rules that everyone familiar with the outdoors will follow religiously; that is The Rule Of Threes. And you should follow them too.
Don’t panic! It isn’t anything as foreboding as memorising an ancient incantation to stop an undead army rising from their graves. ‘The Rule Of Threes’ is an easy way to remember the fundamentals for survival away from home.
“What are these rules?’, I hear you ask.
- Cold: If you fall into icy water, you have approximately three minutes to escape the water and warm-up before hypothermia sets in.
- Oxygen: If you are unable to breathe (ie: due to drowning or asphyxiation), you only have a three-minute window to receive help (ie: mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) before permanent brain damage or death occurs.
- Blood loss: If you damage/sever a major blood vessel, you will bleed to death in three minutes if the bleeding is not stopped.
In extreme cold, you can only survive for three hours without shelter. Hypothermia and frostbite will soon make their presence felt if you do not have shelter. Do not disregard this rule if you live in a more temperate climate. Sunburn and heatstroke can do terrible things to your body in a survival situation. Depending on your environment, shelter can be anything from a solid structure (like a building) that will protect you from blizzards, right down to a simple lean-to made from palm fronds that will provide shade from the harsh midday sun.
You can survive for three days without water before your body starts to shut down. Renal failure isn’t pretty, and it can’t be fixed with anything in your First Aid kit.
You can survive for three without food before your body shuts down. If you don’t eat, your body will cannibalise itself to get the kilojoules it needs; and not just your fat reserves, it will break down your muscles too. (Coincidentally, this is why starving yourself to lose weight doesn’t work). The longer you go without food the weaker your muscles become, and the less reliable cognitive abilities become (leading to poor or dangerous decisions). This rule has more leeway than the other rules. In this situation, people carrying a few extra pounds will survive for a little longer than someone with little-to-no body fat.
There you have it. Four simple and easy to remember rules to help you survive in the outdoors. As always, if you found the information in this blog useful, please share it with your friends and family on social media.