Essentials for survival

This lesson will discuss The Basic Essentials You Need to Survive.

  • A brief description in the basic needs that every human being needs to survive.
  • Key essentials for survival that you will need to familiarize yourself with in order to sustain your family’s safety and well-being until assistance does arrive.
  • What you need to be aware of – in order to survive.

At this stage of the game, don’t worry or think you need to know every small detail about these subjects.  This lesson is just an introduction into the essentials for survival.

This information will be used to start building a foundation that will help you better understand the upcoming modules and  lessons.

After you go through Modules #2:  Natural Disasters and Module #3:  Man-Made Disasters, we will come back to each of these essentials for survival topics in more detail to discuss how we can address solutions to each of these areas for your “Unique Situation”.

We are starting small and simple – so that we can build a practical Plan that you feel comfortable with and more importantly, know how to execute when the time comes.

Ten Basic Essentials for Survival and Safety 


The Rule of 3:  This rule basically states that a person will die if they don’t have these 4 essential needs within these time periods.  If these 4 basic essentials are not met – the body will not be able to function.

#1  AIR in 3 minutes.

#2  SHELTER in 3 Hours.

#3  WATER in 3 Days.

#4  FOOD in 3 Weeks.

The Rule of 3 has been around in the survival community for a long time.  Are these time periods accurate?  I think it really depends upon the person and the situation.  But it offers some guidelines and a way to prioritize.

Just a note on #2 SHELTER:  Shelter is a broad term that covers anything that offers us PROTECTION from the ENVIRONMENT.

•  You are cold – you want to be warm.

•  You are hot – you want to be cooler

•  You are wet – you want to be dry.

•  You are in the sun – you want to be in the shade.

Shelter can be divided into two main categories:

•  Structure: Being that the majority of us live in the city or suburbs, our house or apartment will be our primary shelter.  However, being that shelter overall is so important; we must recognize it and give it a high priority.  We may be forced to leave our homes due to our building becoming unsafe (examples; due to a fire, earthquakes, etc.) or if we may need to evacuate the area for safety reasons (wild fire, hurricane, etc.). We need to have our safe destination shelters decided on and arrangements made before you need to leave to your secondary shelter.

•  What you wear: Clothing, Shoes, Gloves, Glasses, etc.  What you wear helps you control the impact that the environment is having on you and your family.  Making sure that you have the correct clothing for your specific situation is very important and needs to be addressed in your overall plan.

#5  FIRE / LIGHT / POWER:  These essentials range from a NEED to have – To NICE to have.

•  Fire: One of those basic essentials that can save your life and offers many additional benefits: Cooking, keeping you warm, sterilizing questionable water before drinking, signaling, and the list goes on and on. You must take the ability to start a fire into consideration with your plan.  It is definitely a skill that you need to know how to make and use safely.

•  Light: A source of safe light is crucial to have when you are trying to get around in the dark.  Offers a sense of security in the dark and is good for signaling for help.  Critical when you are attending to a family member who is hurt or injured.  A battery operated flash light is much safer to have than candles – especially when children are around.   A source of light (especially a safe source) is very important for your survival and needs to be part of your plan.

•  Power: Depending upon your situation, your dependency upon power may range from an inconvenience to a major necessity.  If you have family members that need power for medical support device issues, then you better have back up options worked into your plan.  If you live in part of the world where extreme temperatures are possible, [high or low], you should consider your power options.  Your dependence upon power needs to be part of your analysis.

#6  Medical:  A survival essential that not only covers 1st Aide and Medicines, but also the psychological aspects of surviving;  Mind Set, Anxiety, Depression, Sleep, etc.

•  Knowing basic First Aide is not only important in survival situations, but also in everyday life.  Rendering 1st Aide to a family member who has a broken bone, wound, burn or whatever medical issue is no less important on a normal day than when it happens during a survival situation.  You must take control of the situation until help arrives, or until you can get the person to where the help is.

•  You must plan for the medications that any family member may require.  It is important to know exactly which person needs are and make it part of your plan.  You also need to address the everyday medications that have a high probability of coming up during your survival and recover time; aspirins, diarrhea medicines, allergic reaction medications, etc.

•  The psychological aspects of surviving should not be overlooked.  The mind is extremely powerful and can either make or break a person’s ability to survive.  You must take this into consideration because you need to keep your entire family (including yourself) in the best physical and mental conditions while surviving and recovering.  Your MIND is your most powerful survival tool.

#7  Hygiene / Sanitation:   Not a very pleasant topic to think about, but poor sanitation and hygiene practices can turn your whole family into a bunch of very sick people very quickly.  Even one sick person in the group will divert the family’s attention away from surviving and recovering.  Surviving a disaster is going to be a dirty job. There will be high chance of diseases spreading during the aftermath of a disaster.  You need to take every precaution to protect you and your family from them.  Keeping yourself clean and your area clean is one of your best defenses.  Understand this and plan for it.

#8 Communications:  There is a good chance that your family group will not be together when a disaster strikes, or maybe you might get separated during the event.  It is critical to have communication tools and a plan together so that you can keep in touch with everyone and be able to make plans in how to get back together.  Also, it will be very important to monitor the overall situation by listening to the news and governmental agencies regarding what is happening in the affected area.

#9)  Security:   Your #1 Objective is the safety of your family.  This includes protection for them. You have to be mindful that people will do desperate things in desperate times.  People will take what they can.  People may be violent.  You need to be aware of this and be ready.

Basic Protection involves: 

•  A secure perimeter that makes entry (for those you don’t want in) as difficult as possible to enter. This can be as basic as having good locks on your doors to bars over the windows.

•  An early warning (alarm) system to let you know if somebody is getting too close. Doesn’t have to be an expensive alarm system; the family dog or some cans or bottles stacked up that will make a noise when they fall over could be sufficient.

•  If necessary, have an Escape Plan to get out and move to a back-up location. It’s much better to give up your house and supplies rather than risk a family member’s life.  Your goal in a situation like this should be; “Live another day – You might be able to get everything back tomorrow.”

•  And if necessary, have a Plan to Defend.  But if you decide to defend – you must defend to the best of your ability and to the end.  Do not give up the fight until you have won.  If your plan calls for you to fight – you fight.  Side Note: You must make yourself aware of your local laws regarding self-defense.  Your plan may call for you to run – then you run and don’t stop running.  Know exactly what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do before the situation occurs.  All of this needs to be very clear in your head beforehand – you cannot waste time thinking or second guessing yourself when it comes time to defend.  Having a set of  “Rules of Engagement” thought out beforehand will help you react to the situation much quicker – than trying to think of what you are going to do when a threat is in your face.

•  Remember: Avoid, Evade, Defend.  And don’t forget – have a set of “Rules of Engagement”.

#10)  Transportation & Navigation:  You need to account for ways to get out of your area if you need to evacuate or to resupply.  Depending upon the situation, your normal modes of transportation may, or may not be available.  Your car may not be a viable option because roads or bridges may be closed.  Trains may not be available because the railroad tracks are impassable.  Airports may be closed.

If you are sheltering in-place, you may have similar issues.  A motorcycle or bicycle may offer a good alternative if available.  Your 2 feet are always an option – but that depends how far you want to go.

If you have small children or family members with special needs, they may limit the possibilities.

This all needs to be taken into consideration.

Navigation can be a real nightmare if the roads you are used to taking are closed.  Be ready with alternate routes or be able to determine alternate routes with: GPS units, the good old fashioned map, and don’t forget a compass.  It can save you a lot of time.  And a lot of grief.

So these are the 10 Basic Essentials for Survival you and your family need to prepare for in order to offer the best chance of surviving a disaster.


They will be discussed in more detail as we start building your actual plan and identifying how each one must be addressed for your specific situation.  The tools that you will need to survive will also be discussed in future lessons.

Remember, we are going to be building a specific plan for you and your family.  No generic, One Size Fits All for your family.

This is what you should be taking away from this lesson:


  1. What are the 10 Basic Essentials to Survival.
  2. The Rule of 3.
  3. Shelter includes both structures and your clothes.
  4. Knowing First Aid is not only important during a disaster.
  5. Importance of your Mind Set during a disaster situation.
  6. Poor Hygiene / Sanitation practices can make everybody really sick.

Remember; go at your own pace.  These lessons will be available to you anytime you want to work with them.  24/7/365.   But also remember, the faster you put your plan together, the faster you will be able to protect your family when the next disaster or emergency hits.

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