I have covered the five basic human needs before, but today I’m going to take another approach. Before I go further, I need to say that every time I write about the five basic human needs, there is a comment or an email about Maslo’s hierarchy of needs. Maslo’s list is a bit touchy-feely for me. He lists things like self-actualization and self-esteem, which doesn’t really apply to survival. It might be great for a “How to Feel Complete in Life”, but I’m talking about the needs to keep you breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. I am also going to give some tips on adding redundancy on each of the needs.
What are the five basic human needs?
Water is probably the most important of the five basic needs. That is until it’s not (more on that later). The rules of three say that the average human can last three days without water. This is a very general statement, and not very accurate. I don’t tolerate the heat very well…at all. When I was in the Navy, doing fairly hard labor, often in the direct sun on the Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf, it was easily 115 degrees. I was drinking probably 2+ gallons of water a day, easily. We had a squadron wide meeting in a very hot room and I had not been able to get a drink beforehand. Half-way through the meeting, I passed out due to dehydration. I was sweating more than I was taking in. My point in this little story is that a gallon a day might be fine on a cooler day, with less intense labor going on. If the temperatures are warmer and there are moderate to high levels of activity, one gallon might not be enough.
A rule of thumb I have heard on water storage is that you should store one gallon of water per person per day. The average family of four who wanted to have enough water stored to last them one week would need to store 28 gallons of water. That is either one big drum or a lot of water bottles. That’s only for one week! That’s why I believe one of the more important preps is a good water filter and knowledge of nearby water sources; natural bodies of water, swimming pools, hot tubs, marshes, anything with cattails has some moisture to support it. This would be one of my last options, but it is there.
For even more redundancy, have multiple ways of filtering and purifying water; boiling, purification tablets, iodine, bleach, UV purifiers and on and on.
The rule of three says we can go without eating for three weeks. We’re told Jesus went 40 days, but then we’re told that He was attended to by angels, so I’m not sure if He would recommend trying 40 days without food.
Most of us eat three meals a day with snacks in between. For now, let’s drop the snacks. The family of four consumes 84 meals in one week. That is a lot of planning and expense! I think that’s one of the reasons beans and rice are a popular staple in various prepper pantries.
By this I do not mean just how much food you have stored away. I also mean the types of food you have stocked. I think having a mix of commercially canned, home canned, frozen, dehydrated and freeze dried food is a good idea. Heck, even MRE’s have a place! You don’t know how things will unfold. Having a variety of ways to eat and cook food is a good idea.
I also mean the knowledge of how to grow it, raise it, hunt it, clean it and how to process and store it. What happens when your food stores are empty? Knowing how to replace them is a very good idea.
This is an easy one! For most of us, this is our home. Sure, I think knowing how to make a primitive shelter is a good idea, but it seems much more practical to know how to secure your home inside and out. Have you thought about what you would do if a severe storm broke out many of your windows? What about if things really fall apart and you need to fortify your home against intruders? Have a means to defend it! More on this later.
The obvious redundancy plan is bugging out. For those newer to the site, I think that in 95% of situations, staying home and battening down is a far better plan than bugging out. However, that five percent could be very dangerous if you do not bug out. For that reason, have a bug out plan. I give some tips on building multiple bug out plans, even if you do not own a bug out location, in an article called Challenging Bug Out Myths.
Your shelter redundancy could mean a tent, an RV or a relative, etc. Just have a plan, or a few of them!
By “energy”, I not only mean electrical power, but any type of power source that provides us the energy to cook, warm or light our shelter.
I think this is another aspect where we need to have as much redundancy as possible. If the grid went down, how many ways do you have to cook or boil water?
Redundancy can come in the form of a variety of fuel sources, including propane, gasoline, diesel fuel, wood, kerosene, flashlights, batteries, crank lights and radios.
I usually put security on the bottom of this list because the other needs are fact. They WILL be necessary. You will need to drink. You will need to eat. You will need shelter from the weather. You will need a means to see and to cook. Earlier, I said that water is the most important of the needs, “until it’s not”. A violent or potentially violent encounter is, in that moment in time, the most important human need.
It is my firm belief that no one has the right to put their hands on you in a violent manner, or with the intent or threat of violence. When they do, they have lost their right to avoid a trip to the ER or worse.
I am not a violent man. I can count the number of violent altercations I’ve encountered on one hand and have fingers to spare. However, If Joe Dirtbag attempts to use violence, I will be a threat to my enemy and will use as much force as necessary to stop the threat. I hope you will do the same.
Redundancy in Security
I know people who only carry a gun for their self-defense and don’t see a need for anything else. Here is the fault with that logic; their solution to every possible encounter is to answer it with deadly force. For this reason, I have trained in martial arts, will frequently carry concealed and during those times, carry a knife and pepper spray as well. I have an asp (baton) that I carry sometimes as well.
Some might ask if I expecting confrontation and the answer to that is “no”. I’ll wager that, if asked, the vast majority of victims of violent crime would say “no” as well. Because there is always a chance that I could be the victim of violent crime and because all threats are not equal, I have redundancy in my self-defense plan.
Someone shooting in a public place is not the same threat as a large snarling dog is. An obviously drunk, 100 pound person, screaming angrily and making threats is not the same threat as an ex-boyfriend of a co-worker who comes to the office and starts beating her.
Could they all escalate to deadly force? Sure, but there is a very good chance that all but one could be stopped with pepper spray or some form of physical combative.
One of the prepper mottos is, “Two is one. One is none”. I think that applies to the basic human needs too. Meeting those needs on one front will see you prepared, but not nearly as much if you approach things from many fronts and add in redundancy as often as possible.
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