June 28, 2017

The Rule of Threes

I’ve discussed these rules before, but thought it would be a good idea to cover them again, for those who might have missed them. You can use these rules in a survival situation to help you decide what your biggest danger is.

The average human can last:

3 seconds without oxygen to the brain
3 minutes without oxygen
3 hours without shelter in poor weather
3 days without water
3 weeks without food

There are a couple of examples that I have seen added that I don’t much care for, they are:
3 seconds in a violent attack.
3 months without human contact.

I understand the sentiment, but the others are actually provable while these two are speculative.

Lasting the length of time of any of the rules won’t be easy. After a day without water, you’ll feel rotten. I haven’t done an extended fast, but I’m told after a certain amount of time the hunger pangs slow down, but until then, you’ll feel weak, cranky and have limited energy.

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  1. The 3 original rules (air, water, food) are pretty reliable “hard” medical limits for a healthy human body observed by doctors. 3 seconds for violent attack serves a good basis for situational awareness and self defense training but has too many variables to be a hard rule or guideline for Rules of 3. 3 months without human contact also has too many variables to be a Rule of 3 but serves a good basis for discussing “lone wolf” versus family/team preparedness.

    I know I’ve included 3 hours without shelter in my posts before but it really isn’t a hard medical limit. In my view, you need to consider clothing and personal gear as part of your shelter. With this caveat, the shelter limit is a necessary guideline for people clothed appropriately in bad weather.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I always just included the shelter because it made sense, so I didn’t dissect it until now. There are many variables with it too, such as the type of poor weather, the clothing worn etc.

      You’re take on it is solid, “people clothed appropriately in bad weather”.

  2. As you stated Chris 3 seconds in a violent attack is purely speculitive. So many variables to be considered such as mental state, physical condition, your environment etc. If you are able to walk around fairly well and can think you should be able to survive a violent attack for more than 3 seconds. Now things could change if your caught in an ambush type situation. Will you survive and come out unscathed? That is unknown but you should at least longer than 3 seconds.

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