Society has done a great job of convincing us that wants are actually needs but when you get right down to it for the past hundred million or so years human existence has flourished with only four basic needs.
The more I think about it, these four things are a launching point for any survival situation. I always have people coming up to me and asking where they should begin to plan out their 72 Hour Bag, Earthquake kit or emergency bunker.
No matter how small or large that ark you’re building is going to be you need to think of these four basic components and scale up from there.
Shelter – How many people does it need to support? What is the climate in which this shelter needs to support life? How secure does the shelter need to be?
Water – 1 Gallon of water per person / pet per day. Is there a method for replenishing the supply? Rain Water? Underground spring? Water filtration methods need to be evaluated and learned. For how long do you estimate you will need to support life when a disaster has occurred? Keeping a gallon of unscented bleach is a very simple way of purifying water. Write the following in Sharpie on the side of the bottle with the date you purchased the jug.
Fire – Since the dawn of man this has been the one skill which has separated human from animal. The ability to create security at night, warmth and cook foods to gain more nutrients from them is literally what evolved our brains to a higher capacity. Know at least three methods of making fire beyond using a match or lighter. Understand the principals of fire: Heat>Fuel>Oxygen. Lose the balance between this triangle and your fire will be extinguished.
Food – Begin to think about food in terms of calories and shelf life. What foods will give you the greatest bang for their buck, will last the longest AND are palatable to you and the people in your care. The average human needs 1500 – 2000 calories per day. This number can rise and fall due to body type, size and work load. During stressful times the body will be working in overdrive so it’s best to air on the side of more calories in the calculation. Again, know how many people you will need to support and what the expected duration will be. At the very least in all emergencies I say you should have a 10 day supply of rations. This is the MINIMUM! I feel it is better to calculate for 30 days. During Katrina and Sandy some people went much longer without assistance – this will be something you will have to evaluate for yourself and do a cost to benefit analysis for yourself.
I weigh each of these four things as the foundation to survival, with each being of equal value. In extreme survival situations we can fall back on knowing the rules of threes to figure out which is of vital importance but like fire if we lack one of these four the structure of survival will fail.
30 Seconds of Arterial Blood loss
3 Minutes without air
3 hours without shelter causing a disruption in our 98.6 body temperature
3 days without water
3 weeks without food
We need all four for a solid foundation, so begin to think of all of these as one solid unit to build upon.