Survival: 5 Basics for Surviving an Emergency

The Unexpected Happens…

stranded vehicleSummer is upon us and many of you will be taking road trips for vacations, or doing hiking trips in parks, or camping in the wilderness. We can plan and pack and think we have everything we need for our adventure, but sometimes the unexpected happens: your vehicle breaks down in the middle of nowhere, someone gets injured on a trail far from others, a sudden unexpected storm moves in.
Of course, being prepared, knowing first aid and survival techniques are always a plus for any emergency. But, even the most prepared of us can let emotions momentarily take over so that reason and caution gets lost.


So let’s go back to the basics and make sure these are firmly planted in our thought process.

The 5 Most Important Basics to Remember:

  • Keep Calm and Carry On SignRemain Calm: This is certainly easier said than done, but it’s the single most important basic to remember when faced with any emergency. You have to be able to think and you can’t think if you’re freaked out and stressing your system. Force yourself to take deep breaths to slow your breathing and heart rate. Survey the situation by removing yourself emotionally as much as possible. Now figure out what steps you can take to best handle the scenario. Professional Survivalists will tell you that your mental attitude is your most important tool to help you survive.
  • Remember the Rule of Three’s: You can survive only three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food. As you assess your situation, keeping these rules in mind will help you make wise decisions about what you need to do first, second and third. You will know how to prioritize your tasks. Example: keeping your core body temperature warm enough or cool enough, depending on the environment you are in, will most likely be your highest priority. Finding water will be next…and finding food is way down on the list. Yet many people think it’s the number one priority.
  • Know How to Have Safe Drinking Water: Drinking untreated, contaminated water can be as deadly as not having enough water, especially if you are where you cannot get medical help. And when wilderness survivalists say it’s no longer safe to drink any wilderness water without first treating it, I take notice. Even those who claim not all wilderness water is contaminated, agree that even a remote possibility of getting an infection isn’t worth the risk of not purifying your drinking water. If you don’t know how to find safe water to drink or how to purify water, please take a moment to read: Got Water? Is it Safe to Drink?
  • Let’s Talk About Food: Depending on your emergency situation, food may not be an immediate issue, but in some cases keeping your energy level up may be an important component to your survival plan. Remember that the more you eat, the thirstier you will feel. So if you have no water source yet, eating something could spell disaster for you. Even if you do have a water source, nibble just enough food to keep your strength up, but stop long before you feel full or consume an entire meal. Remember that Rule of Three’s. You can survive weeks without food!
  • What About Cell Phones: Many of us who venture off into the wilderness do so to get away from the constant barrage of our technical world, including our cell phones. Yet, many times cell phones have proved to be lifesavers for injured hikers and lost tourists. So I recommend that you keep your cell phone well-charged during your trip or hike. You can do this even in the wilderness with solar charged power packs. Consider keeping your phone water-proofed as well using plastic pouches or cases made for cell phone protection. You can conserve energy by placing your phone on Airplane Mode and only using it in case of an emergency.

Bonus Tips:
Remember that breathing through your mouth instead of your nose not only uses more energy, but allows you to lose moisture faster.

Your body loses tons of energy trying to stay warm in the cold or cool in the heat. Keeping your head covered greatly helps in preserving energy loss. Keep your head covered with a hat, scarf, or wrap a piece of clothing around it.


Did you Find These Basics Helpful?


  1. Mike Sirota

    Good advice, as always, Outdoor Woman! 🙂

    • indy

      :0) Thanks Mike!

  2. Chad L.

    Great reminders Indy!

    • indy

      Thanks Chad! Good to hear from you!

    • indy

      Glad you found them helpful, Jill! :0)

  3. Laura Taylor

    Terrific reminder tips for both the summer holidays and for general survival in any crisis situation! Thanks, Indy! 🙂 LT

    • indy

      Thanks, Laura! I appreciate the feedback! :0)

  4. Sharon Meredith

    Fantastic article, Indy. I like the 3s. Beautifully put!

    • indy

      Thanks, Sharon! Glad you liked it! :0)

  5. David

    And during a zombie apocalypse, rum. Lots of rum.

    • indy

      Good reminder, David! Make it Bourbon for me. And we do always carry a flask (or 2) while camping. ;0)



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