The Rules of Three

I based everything I do regarding prepping and survival on a few simple rules.
They can’t possibly cover the finer points of everything but their simplicity is their  advantage over the millions of pages written and advice spoken about survival.

Simple to remember and simple to apply.
Only like everything I use, I fine tune them to suit my personal needs.
You shouldn’t be afraid to do that.
Nothing is fixed in life and you (and your own) are individuals with their unique needs.
So amend away.
Only remember one thing. The basics work.

Paul’s Rule of Threes  (My amendments are in red)

3 Seconds without adequate cover or defence from attack
3 Minutes without good air, a heartbeat, or massive blood loss.
3 Hours without shelter and adequate climate control.
3 Days without clean water, personal medications, and SLEEP.
3 Weeks (continuous weeks) without food.

Don’t forget, three’s also crop up all over in survival.

A triangle has three sides as per the triangle of life.

The Triangle Of Survival

Three rounds of ammunition allows for two misses.
Only under stress or incoming fire, you’d wish you had another three in reserve.

Distress Signals
Three blasts of a whistle is a universal distress signal. Then wait for a minute, and repeat.
Three fires in a triangle is the same or in a straight line 25 meters apart.
Three shots spaced five seconds apart will signal distress.

Making the international distress signal SOS (Save Our Souls)
3 short,  3 long,  3 short.
Flashes, whistles, or sounding a horn.

Back to a triangle again, this time fire.


You need all three things to be present for fire to burn.
Always carry three different ways of ignition. Match, lighter, and flint (or fire steel).
And three things to keep the flame going. A Candle, Vaseline, and Tire strips.
As a rule of thumb gather three times the Tinder, kindling, and fuel than what you think you need

Never set one trap, set in threes.
One never works, One never gets tripped, so the third one may work.

As for trapping, always set multiple hooks.
One high, 3 feet down, one mid depth, one just off the bottom.
Triple hooks work on fish, fowl, and squirrels.


Water purification
In a temperate climate 3 litres is a good amount to carry.
You purify water by bringing it to a rolling boil for three minutes.

Disabling a person.
A person can seldom continue an attack on you if they cannot:-
See (Attack the eyes),
Breath (Attack the throat or solar plexus), or
Stand (Take out the legs, or a double hand slap to the ears, or a kick in the groin).

Got to love the simplicity haven’t you.



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9 Responses to The Rules of Three

  1. Rifleman III says:

    …And, trouble, comes in threes. (Reason why I carried three sets of handcuffs on patrol.)

  2. equippedcat says:

    The triangle of life is shelter, fire, water? I consider fire to be part of shelter, so would say it was shelter, food, water.

    • Without fire you can’t purify water without chemicals, cook, it’s harder to keep yourself clean, warm, bug free, make signals, cure meat, see at night, and deter wildlife.
      Fire is one of the basics of life.

      • equippedcat says:

        I don’t disagree that fire is very important and more important that food in the short run, but you CAN live without it, while you cannot live long term without shelter, food and water. If you wanted to have the “square” of life, with shelter, fire, food, and water, that would work, but would not fit into the article 🙂

      • equippedcat says:

        oops, the pentagon of life, shelter, air, water, food, fire. 🙂

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