The rule of threes

In the world of emergency preparedness, which has been a hobby of mine since I was a Scout, there is something called the rule of threes. When I teach Emergency Prep merit badge, I talk about these points:

You can survive:

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours in severe weather
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

Now, this all sounds very depressing, but it is VERY important.  The fact is, in an emergency, you need to prioritize before anything else.  The first thing you must do is make a list, in order, of shit to do.  Do not, ever, let anyone tell you otherwise.  For instance, in a car wreck, you must first make sure everyone can breathe and isn't bleeding (because that is what gets the air to your organs). Then, if it is winter, you need to get warm.  If there is a tornado, you need to get shelter first, then make sure you have water. 

The one thing I don't tell Scouts is the last point, because it isn't usually something that we have to deal with in the developed world:

  • 3 months without hope

This isn't often talked about but it is a very important point. In war stricken areas, or places like Louisiana after Katrina, it has been proven true over and over.  Without hope, mental health has a significant impact over physical health, crime, and overall strife.

We are nearing that threshold in the United States (and elsewhere).

If you are safe, and you have water, and if you have food, the clear and present is to find sources of hope.  Stop watching the news. Preen your lists of who you follow on social media. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is doing stuff online.  The Columbus Museum of Art is holding virtual tours.

I don't talk a lot about mental health but I deal with issues myself. This is gonna bring out some things you didn't know about yourself. Be smart, be safe, consider your risk model, and best to all of you.


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