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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Claire Wolfe

Preparedness priorities, part III

Friday, October 19th, 2012

The Rule of Threes and why your rules might be different.

I’ll apologize in advance to regular readers. For a lot of people what follows is way too basic. I had more specifics in this post, but that meant it became too long and rambling. So I took them out to use later.

Everybody has heard the “Rule of Threes,” though somehow nobody says it quite the same:

You can live three minutes without air, three hours without shelter (in extreme conditions), three days without water, and three weeks without food.

Nice meme. And it’s one that lots and lots of writers use as a basis for basic preparedness/survival articles. On the other hand, memes can only take you so far.

As RickB so astutely pointed out in the comments on yesterday’s post, the key to being prepared is: “Never let the gurus tell you what to prepare for. Think for yourself.”

So let’s look at the Rule of Threes and how it applies to personal preparedness planning.


Unless we’re scuba divers, or we really do plan to live in an underground bunker, or we have a medical need for an oxygen tank (ADDED: or other aids to breathing), or we live near a chemical hazard that may require gas masks, we can pretty much set air aside as a preparedness priority.

How nice; something really easy to deal with. Just breathe.


Shelter. Supposedly priority two. And if you’re in Alaska in the winter or lowland Arizona in the summer, totally agreed; you’d better have some sort of shelter plans whenever you venture out. Even indoors, one of your top priorities will probably be ensuring that your everyday shelter can stay habitable if the power goes out or the propane stops flowing.

But here in the northwest, with rare exceptions, a person could probably hang around outside for a week without shelter — cold, uncomfortable, but most likely not dead. There are a lot of places where you could probably survive a winter in a well-insulated house without heat if you had to. Not comfortably. But without anybody finding your mouldering bones in the springtime, either.

Still … if you have any reason to anticipate losing the ability to heat or cool your abode, having a backup method becomes a priority, even if the only backups you can afford are pretty limited (right now, mine are a couple of indoor-rated propane heaters with a modest amount of fuel; over time, I’ll improve that).

Bug-out kits should be built on the assumption that we’ll have to carry our own shelter with us — whether that be tent or tarp (with rope or paracord to string it between trees) or something else.

Broadly, shelter also includes something warm to sleep in and a way to keep it dry and off the ground. Also, suitable clothes for the climate and sufficient changes of clothing.

Longer-term preparedness usually assumes we’ll be staying in our own home or another dwelling. So we need to ensure that it can be kept habitable even during a power outage or supply-line disruption. But again, that means something different for each of us. We have to look at our own needs and abilities and plan accordingly.


Water? Yep, three days pretty much applies to us all when it comes to staying alive. Less in the desert, a little more elsewhere, less if we’re exerting ourselves, a little more if we’re sitting under a shade tree.

But as Kent McManigal noted, that doesn’t mean one size fits all when it comes to water-storage needs in our preparedness plans. Desert-dwelling Kent has serious need for storing serious quantities of water, especially considering that even a relatively short-duration power outage could wipe out water availability. Kent, I hope you have several food-grade 55-gallon barrels of water and a hand-operated pump or siphon system for getting it out. Or some equivalent. With care, a swimming pool will do.

On the other hand, my main needs for stored water are 1) a few days supply for vehicle kits (because you never know where you might be stuck or for how long) and 2) sufficient water for me and the dogs should we be stranded in the house for an extended period (e.g. in a flood; and yes, most of the stored water is upstairs). Kent says water filters and purifiers would be nearly useless to him. Here, on the other hand, they’re the big backup plan, more important than huge quantities of stored water. Because within four blocks of my house are a year-round stream, a river, and a small reservoir. Not to mention there’s usually water falling out of the sky.

So again, everybody’s needs are different. Fortunately, as long as civilized amenities are available, water is cheap and easy for nearly everybody.

More on water storage and filters in a future blog.


Food. Once again the Rule of Threes serves us well. Three weeks is roughly about how long we’ll last without food.

But we’d prefer not to last even half a day without it, right?

So while our dietary (and food prepping) needs are all over the map, here we really can lay out some basic preparedess rules — though of course, the moment I lay out mine, commentors will speak up to disagree — which makes the world go ’round.

In my opinion, we should all have, or strive to build up, the following for basic preparedness:

One week’s supply, per person, of light, portable foods that require little or no cooking or mixing. These should be kept in a bug-out bag, but can also be used at home if an emergency (ice storm, summer power outage, etc.) compels us to bug-in.

While it’s okay to include a few sugary items like candy bars or granola bars (which, face it, are candy bars, no matter how they’re marketed), this supply should lean heavily on proteins and fats (e.g. nuts, jerky) and should have plenty of fiber (dried fruits, seeds). Sugar may comfort us and give us a short-term burst of energy, but if we rely on it too much we’ll quickly have sugar crashes that actually leave us with less energy and brain power.

Protein and fats give us better energy. But foods with high fat content don’t last long, so these items should be rotated every six months.

One month’s supply of foods that are as “normal” for us as possible but still don’t demand tons of preparation.

For the most part, this means grocery-store, Costco, or home-canned items: canned beans, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, chili, canned stews or hash, boxed foods like macaroni and cheese (with powdered milk and some form of butter to prep it) or rice/noodle side dishes, pasta and canned sauces for it, etc. Dried beans if you have the means and time to prepare them. A one-month supply can also include tasty freezer items or long-lasting refrigerator items, provided you’ve got some way to keep the cold boxes cold.

And don’t forget the spices and condiments that make the bland foods more palatable. And of course, pots and pans and a reliable heat source. (If your stove is electric or one of those modern gas stoves that — annoyingly — require electricity to operate, you’ll want to have an alternative; there are many to choose from, these days.)

Then, gradually, as you can afford it, acquire at least three months worth of longer-term storage foods. This might include more regular caned goods. It might also include things like: MREs; freeze-dried entrees; #10 cans of dehydrated fruits, veggies, soy proteins, soup bases, cheese powder, milk powder, or whatever else might fit into your family’s budget and diet. Not to mention more dried beans, rice, and pasta.

Of course, your home-canned (or vacuum sealed, or home-retort-pouch items) also play a role in longer-term supplies, as do your veggie garden, fruit trees, chickens, and “meat on the hoof” (as long as you can feed the critters and/or preserve the meat). It’s nice to have some sealed heirloom veggie seeds or bean seeds, just in case. And as long as you can keep the freezer going, its contents are part of a three-month-plus plan, also.

Depending on what you expect and what you can afford, “three-month-plus” could mean up to a two year supply. Or more if you think you need it. But don’t ever feel you have to go out and buy some costly, pre-packaged “year’s supply” (which, when you look at the fine print, may not really be a year’s supply at all) of freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Buy as you can — and start introducing these foods into your regular meals so you won’t go into shock should you need to begin relying on them.


Of course, this is far from all we need. But these three really simple, undaunting things — shelter, water, and food — are a great beginning. Just this much gives us a small insurance policy against everything from a natural disaster to a span of unemployment.

Do we need more? Of course.

And every preparedness guru on the planet will be glad to tell you how much more you need — though they do tend to neglect two vital things that don’t fall into the stuff-to-buy category: friends and a good attitude.

More to come.

38 Responses to “Preparedness priorities, part III”

  1. RickB Says:

    Great series Claire. Don’t you feel another book coming on? “Prepping for the Poor and Panicked.”

  2. G.W.F. Says:

    I really like this series of articles….Great Job! It really makes you think about preparing. I always use that John Wooden line when people I talk to think I am off my rocker for preparing, “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

    The numbers I always think of when I prepare goes back to my days in school. We got our butts kicked by the Japanese in all aspects of manufacturing in the 80s. All the business text books attributed to the use of Just-In-Time inventory systems. In the 90s, that was all you heard and we really moved all out business models to use it. To me the problem was always what happens if you have a disruption in supply chain?

    I have always heard that the average supermarket’s shelves will go empty after just 3 days if they do not get the regular daily shipments (that assumes no runs on the milk, break and pop-tart isles). My best guess at the average home pantry is that most people could go 4-5 days on just what they have at any given time….after that these unprepared folks are going hungry.

    I have also heard (no scientific basis that I am aware of) that after 5-7 days without food or water, most people lose that logical/rational part of the brain, so the lizard brain kicks in and they will basically do anything to secure food or water. You have rioting, killing, lawlessness….bad stuff.

    It is great that we are able to operate and get all the shipments, but it just sets us up for a real fall. When I add these numbers, I can see a near break-down of society after just two weeks. This is just from some major supply disruption.

    It would not take much when you think about it.

  3. Matt, another Says:

    So far on the threes you are doing pretty good.

    On Oxygen, it is easy unless your clan includes a severe asthmatic, a person that suffers CPD, black lung or asbestosis victim etc. Stocking extra oxygen canisters or means to run an oxygen generator might be important.

    In the third and second world countries I have visited many have water storage tanks on roofs. When electricity is on the tanks stay full. When electricity is out they provide gravity fed water. Not a bad idea here when feasible. I live in desert as well (high desert) and expect to lose water eventually in the event of a powere outage. I also know where the open water exists, some is really pure others has had cattle rampaging through it. I stock water filters and lots of bleach. I also stockpile water in portable containers.

    Totally agree with the threes on food. It is an easy way to stock up. Some people might take an interest in making their own trail foods. Pinole, pemmican, granola bars, granola mix are easy to make and often cheaper or more wholesome than anything you can by. I’d also suggest working in some proteing powders such as Whey Protein as used by body builders. It can be added to many trail foods to increase the protein percentage.

  4. Knitebane Says:

    I would like to disagree on disregarding the “3 minutes without air” meme.

    I lived in Apex, NC when a local toxic waste storage facility caught fire. No one was really aware that the thing existed. The evacuation line was drawn across the street from my apartment and the prevailing winds were away from us but I really wanted a gas mask handy right then.

    When I lived in Paducah, KY I lived within about a mile of the railroad track that transport uranium hexafloride from the Union Carbine plant there to Oak Ridge, TN for final processing. A train derailment and tank car rupture was certainly something to worry about. Uranium hexafloride is nasty stuff.

    I’ve since moved out into a more rural area but we are still within a few miles of a major east-west rail transport corridor. All kinds of toxic chemicals like ammonium nitrate, anhydrous ammonia, lye or chlorine gas are transported down that line regularly. It’s something that we keep in mind.

    In 1982 a train derailed in Livingston, LA and due to the leaking of the cars full of toxic chemicals people were evacuated in a 5 mile radius. Five miles is probably excessive but it’s a good specific number to use when processing risk factors.

    So while there’s probably no need to worry about crop dusters full of VX nerve agent or mustard gas attacks by the Germans, if you live within a few miles of a major highway or rail line some kind of system to ensure you can breathe safely is probably prudent.

  5. just waiting Says:

    What about a 3 second rule?

    You’ll maybe live 3 seconds if I catch you trying to take what’s mine

  6. Pre-press veteran Says:

    Good job, Claire! I’ve been living self-reliant (more or less) most of my life – but have moved in the last couple years to a whole new environment. It meant starting my preps all over again – with new challenges.

    Even for someone with a lot of experience, the things to think about get overwhelming. So I realized, to organize my ideas, thoughts, concerns — and also to track my progress (for re-assurance!)… a simple yearly day planner was the answer. I have a section where I list as many categories – security, water, food, clothing, shelter… and keep my priorities or critical needs (these will vary based on a lot of factors). Then, my to-do list gets distributed out over the days of a week. Anything not crossed off – moves on to the next week.

    Nothing else goes in this notebook except prep stuff. Even long range goals go here, like learning new skills. I want to get into HAM radio; get some better medical training; learn basic blacksmithing and metal skills… that kind of thing.

    But that book is the real, vital important tool and it fits in a go-bag… which btw: will have redundant copies of important contact information, passwords, account numbers, etc (to back up digital format) as well as route information to certain places. The first thing that goes out for me – brainwise – in a high stress situation is my memory for this kind of information… even my own phone number!!

  7. Claire Says:

    Knitebane and Matt, another — The need for gas masks or breathing aids for lung conditions is definitely part of an individual’s risk assessment.

    The reason I don’t talk more about such things is that my aim is to encourage people to start on the basics of preparedness. Encouraging everybody to think about every possible contingency and every piece of equipment they might need to deal with it just tends to freak people out and actually discourages a lot of them from even getting started.

    People who’ve laid in some basic supplies and discovered preparedness is do-able are more likely to look around and ask themselves, “What next?” Telling people from the get-go that they all need gas masks “because you could need them if you live near a railroad or a highway” or “because there may be a toxic waste dump nearby that you don’t know about” discourages people from getting started.

    Again, I’m not opposed to having such things (used to have a gas mask, in fact; don’t know where it got to). I am opposed to making basic preparedness so daunting that people back away from it.

    Also, I do wonder how many people who have gas masks in their preps would be able to find them in an emergency, would know how to use them, and would find that the mask worked?

  8. ram Says:

    The EPA claims to have the right to regulate “greenhouse gases”, chief among which is carbon dioxide. We may end up needing to do more than just “breathe”…

  9. MamaLiberty Says:

    “modern gas stoves that — annoyingly — require electricity to operate”

    If you’re thinking of those with the electronic ignition, I expect that the gizmo can be disabled or bypassed. Just turn the gas on and light it with a match. I did that on one I had for a while.

    And a hearty AMEN to the last sentence here. The will to survive and the wisdom to form voluntary associations as early as possible… absolutely vital.

    Nobody can do this alone, so the sooner a person makes him/herself a valued and respected part of a voluntary community, the better their chances for survival – regardless of how much “stuff” they have.

    I have lots of “stuff.” If I fell and broke my leg again, I couldn’t do much with it all alone. But I live in such a community and am blessed beyond measure.

  10. Kent McManigal Says:

    I have stocked up on water, but need more. Always more. I haven’t gotten any of those food-grade 55 gallon drums yet. But it is on my short wish list.

    Also, if you have warning, you can fill your bath tub(s)- there are even big tub bags to keep the water clean in the tub.

    I used to know a guy in Colorado who lived in a house without heat. His landlord refused to repair the wood stove, and this guy was too stubborn to fix it at his own expense (so that the landlord could then raise his rent). When it was 30-below zero outside, it was 30-below zero indoors, too. I know because I often visited him; he rarely wanted to come to my warm house (just across the river). He slept fully-clothed, with a coat on, inside a mummy sleeping bag, which was inside a pup tent, in his bedroom. Obviously he had no running water in winter. So, yes, you can “live” in an unheated house, but it creates other issues.

    I have seen small portable wood stoves, and in areas with wood, even “squaw wood”, one of those could make a huge difference in an emergency. I’ve even thought about buying or building one that I could set in front of my fireplace and vent up the chimney in case of a winter power outage. I have some firewood that I bought, and a wood stove would help stretch it out. Of course, it doesn’t usually get dangerously cold here anyway. Not for long.

  11. goat Says:

    Water? Yep, three days pretty much applies to us all when it comes to staying alive. Less in the desert, a little more elsewhere, less if we’re exerting ourselves, a little more if we’re sitting under a shade tree.

    maybe its just me but this sounds all bakwards in this piece you postedabove

    good work alot of people only have limited resources so help them get the basics first …ty claire

  12. Claire Says:

    “If you’re thinking of those with the electronic ignition, I expect that the gizmo can be disabled or bypassed. Just turn the gas on and light it with a match. I did that on one I had for a while.”

    Well, that, too. But I’m actually thinking about some of the sophisticated technologies like gas convection ovens or (even more) gas induction cooktops ( that really, seriously require electricity to function.

    I have no personal experience with them. But I have had friends with modern gas appliances who’ve been unable to cook during power outages. For everyday use the appliances save energy and may cook more efficiently. But for preparedness … useless.

  13. Claire Says:

    “maybe its just me but this sounds all bakwards in this piece you postedabove”

    goat — you’re right. I didn’t express myself very clearly. In the passage you quoted “less” and “more” refer to the time you have without water. The way I phrased it it could sound as if I mean less or more water rather than less or more time. Sorry. I’ll probably go back later and fix that.

  14. naturegirl Says:

    LOL @ “Prepping for the Poor and Panicked.”

    You’re doing a great job, Claire….I look forward to reading more!……

  15. Matt, another Says:

    In years past I learned enough about gas masks and their applicability and the chemicals they are supposed to protect us from that I’ve never had the desire to own one of my own.

    You should prep for asthma etc only if you have family members with such issues, or if yourself have them. I would and do keep a stock of dust masks on hand, they help when outside in high wind days and when there is a lot of smoke from wildfires.

    The last extremely cold spell, double and single digits for almost a week, we didn’t lose electricity. Parts of our city did lose natural gas because of lack of supply. Even though I didn’t lose gas, I added wood to the wood stove, turned down the furnace and loaned my electric space heaters to freinds without natural gas. I did give my neighbor water when her pipes froze because she was to stubborn to heat her house enough to keep them from freezing.

  16. Claire Says:

    “Prepping for the Poor and Panicked” — I don’t know whether to LOL or go hide under the bed.

    Write another book, and on that subject … oy veh. Thanks for the v*tes of confidence, though …

  17. jed Says:

    This is completely off-topic, particularly since you didn’t mention first-aid kits, thus depriving me of a segue. ;) But I just heard this band on Radio Paradise, and I have to tell people about them.

    First Aid Kit: Wolf

    As an apartment dweller, I’m somewhat limited in what I can do for certain conditions, but the landlord, thankfully, will run the building heat with a generator to power the circulator pump and thermostats. We were without power for 3 days last winter, and that certainly put me to digging through my camping gear — stored more inconveniently than I needed at the time. For just myself, I’ve become a fan of small isobutane stoves. Periodically, I buy another can of iso.

    I’ve just gotten myself in the habit of looking for canned goods on sale whenever I go grocery shopping. Sure, I don’t always buy as efficiently as I possible, but spread out over time, my budget doesn’t much notice a few bucks here and there. I live near a creek, and I found my Katadyn filter. Need to put powdered eggs and milk on the list, and canned butter.

    A decent tent has been on my list for a while, but it’s pretty much not in the budget right now. I do own a couple tarps.

  18. jed Says:

    I’m not panicked, but I’d buy that book.

  19. Eck! Says:

    Funny, dealing with “events” is a knowing how along with having supplies.

    Many years back we had a spring snow that was far more damaging to power
    supplies here in eastern MA than expected. My reaction was basic, I needed coffee and something to eat. So remembering an article for a simple camp stove as the electric stove was useless I may an alcohol burner and used 91% isopopanol (common drug store item for first aid) to fuel it. Put it in the sink with a bowl to raise it and use the rack from the oven and set a port of water to boil. Use the water from that to make drip coffee. Refueled the stove and boiled several eggs for breakfast and for later lunch (egg salad). Fired up the fireplace (we have an unusually good one) to keep the house from going too cold. Did this for over three days never got below 63 at night and basically relaxed. For entertainment we had a scanner and radios all powered by solar charged AA NiCd batteries. Food that needed cold ws not an issue with all that snow, heat was letting the sun in to absorb solar heat and closing up at night to retain it plus the fireplace. The only thing we really missed was hot water for a shower. I did find that black plastic garbage bag in a sunny window would warm maybe 2-3 gallons of water to about 95 degrees enough for a a “warm bucket rinse” after using cold water to soap up. Oil lamps and candles with hurricane chimneys provided light and added heat. Our supply of food allowed us to eat well and a fire in
    the fireplace allowed us to try different “primitive” cooking techniques.
    We were relaxed and comfortable. Nothing froze.

    A few basic things were figured out and we rode it on with minimal inconvenience or discomfort. We even enjoyed it to the possible extent of a break from the mad rush. Many panicked. However knowing how to
    solve basic needs was the trick. After that we did get a propane stove
    and a genset but that was for the harder cases. We did use them
    many years later but that was a different set of howtos and planning.

  20. EN Says:

    It only takes one day without food for our bodies to slow down all but the most needed energy using activities. We tend to think more clearly but risk, and move, a lot less. That’s why hungry people are not as dangerous as commonly thought. Good stuff Claire, glad you’re doing this. As one who’s done massive preps at one time, it’s now quite obvious that if I’d put that money in the stock market I’d probably be way ahead, even today. I did myself no good.

  21. jed Says:

    Got a few more neurons firing. In addition to the rule of 3, there’s another important one: Two is one and one is none.

    You mentioned your bug-out kit, and Eck mentioned entertainment. I’d toss a deck of cards in the bag. These days, with laptops and Android phones, I wonder how many people even have a deck of cards in their home. That and a cribbage board, and I won’t get too bored.

  22. EN Says:

    Jed, Good thoughts. Cards and dominoes. As one who’s constantly on my Iphone and other devices it would be very tough to suddenly not have any activities. I’ve just recently started playing dominoes again and find it a lot more entertaining than watching TV with someone. Of course wine or other “spirits” helps also, but can be a little inconvenient in a BOB. ;)

  23. LarryA Says:

    The “3 minutes without oxygen” part is vital, particularly when you’re heating your shelter or cooking inside it. Anything with a flame can quickly use up the oxy you need to breathe. “Indoor-rated” appliances still need ventilation.

    And I started out camping around Barstow, California, not far from Death Valley. There are two seasons in Barstow; the dry season and the day it rains.

    Look up “solar still.”

  24. jed Says:

    A roll-up or foldup checkerboard, and cardboard or plastic disks for checkers or chess pieces, would be very light, and take up little space.

  25. Ellendra Says:

    I’ve heated canned soups using a candle. If you take an empty can and poke some holes in the sides and top, it makes a usable “stove”. Be aware that if you heat soup in it’s original can, it has to heat up slowly or else it’ll boil over.

  26. winston lite Says:

    Couple things I thought up…

    While it gets good exposure on well repsected blogs and in books I honestly think that serious medical stuff is talked about far too seldomly in the prepping community…I see why: it’s not as cool and it’s kinda complicated and expensive and honestly it’s kinda morbid compared to talking about what rifle you carry and what kind of nylon to wear but on that note, if you don’t have a tourniquet and some combat gauze on your chest rig or whatever you plan wearing while fighting the hordes of collander pot wearing psychopaths you’re wrong. Nobody likes to think about being the one to get shot but spend a little money so you don’t just die if it happens! Make an effort to learn medical knowlegde, maybe take some classes…I know that it’s possible to get into the ones that EMTs and firefighters go through. The good stuff costs money, and I know people are tired of the gear queers out there ask “how much is your life worth?” but in this case isn’t your life worth buying some sterile gauze bandage instead of having to stuff a wound with a ripped up dirty pillowcase or something? Everyone here seems to have their head screwed on straight but I dunno, I get tired of seeing peoples pictures of guns and MREs laid out and hardly more than a basic backpacker’s first aid kit in sight.

    Entertainment, like others mentioned…my introduction to real preparedness came when I was 11 or 12 or so and my area had a massive ice storm where roads were bad and power went down for a couple weeks and, while there were no shootouts in wal-mart, just try finding a heater or batteries…not a big deal really. But the boredom…I am only alive today because my mother and father are patient, good temepered people. It took us a few days to figure out that sitting around and staring at the walls just doesn’t cut it. Cabin fever is a threat just like disease and starvation.

    Buy a bunch of mediocre paperbacks at a book sale and stick them in a plastic container marked “Do not open until the worlds ends and you’ve already read all the good books”. Play cards. Play board games, this is the time for the really elaborate ones too. Even the most responsible of adults will do some really dumb things if the boredom is bad enough… A game of spades can go a long way in keeping a group from going nuts.

  27. winston lite Says:

    And oh yeah…all this knowledge we read online on how to do stuff, how to grow stuff, how to build stuff, etc…

    If it’s good and may come in handy…print it off. Keep it somewhere safe. You really think you’ll remember it all off the top of your head when things go south?

  28. jed Says:

    > what kind of nylon to wear

    Black is probably best, but an opaque taupe will set off those flat dark earth pumps quite nicely, without clashing with the mossy oak camisole.

  29. EN Says:

    Winston, totally agree on the first (and likely second)-Aid stuff. I use Dark Angel Med kits on my person. Having Kwikclot, Israeli bandages and tourniquets on your person is definitely a big deal, maybe the most important thing you can carry if one of your children (or me) is shot.

    And definitely important to fight boredom. Last year I had a friend who was well prepared, mostly with my imput. The one thing she did not do was get batteries for her portable radio. They were under hurricane watch (which means heavy rain and winds were already pounding them and the power was out) and stuck in their basement with no power, high humidity, heat and boredom eating at their brains from the inside out… hard times. ;)

  30. winston lite Says:

    But jed, today’s survivalist fasionista ought to know by now that Coyote Brown is the new black…it goes with everything!

    Those Dark angel kits actually look pretty decent though and not too badly priced… I would just add more than one CAT tourniquet and stuff like a small, easily accessible roll of duct tape for chest seals.

  31. LarryA Says:

    Claire, quit apologizing. I never met anyone in any field of study who was so smart or so experienced that they couldn’t benefit from a review of the basics.

  32. LarryA Says:

    A quibble: I would call the Dark Angel-type kits “trauma kits.” That’s what they’re designed for. Someone gets the big hurt, you pop one open and maybe save a life. Then you usually replace it as a unit.

    OTOH to me a “first aid kit” is for minor cuts and such. If not treated they can get infected and be just as deadly as the big wounds. A first aid kit has band-aids, alcohol wipes, tweezers, and so forth that you can use and restock, instead of the kit being one-use.

    Both are essential. Band-aids aren’t going to treat a sucking chest wound, and all the quik-clot in the world won’t remove a splinter.

  33. Pat Says:

    If you’re preparing for big hurts like sucking chest wounds, I’d suggest you study up before the “final exam”. You can do more damage by doing something the wrong way than by not doing anything. A tracheotomy, e.g., requires precision knowledge of anatomy and you only have one chance to get it right. Even the wrong application of a tournaquet has been known to end in amputation. The best medical advice is to know your limitations – what you can and cannot do, what you’re working with, and what you (and the medical victim) can tolerate. It’s not enough to have a first-aid/trauma kit – you have to know when and HOW to use it.

  34. winston lite Says:

    Well there is a difference…even the .mil issued IFAK comes with a separate minor injury kit full of little stuff. And yeah, you do need the knowledge which is I guess why you don’t see all that many people in the prepping community with tourniquets clipped to their gear…if you don’t know then you don’t know. You see someone get shot in the leg in a movie and they always live. In real life, if you end up with femoral bleeding you have at the most 2 minutes to live unless you stop the bleeding, and if you don’t do it right the first time the artery can retract itself into the body and bleed from within. Do you really think that you want to be screwing around with your pants belt and a stick in that situation?

    I know MY own limits. I’ve been taught to immediately save a life and what to say over a radio to get them out. Past that…that’s pretty much for a real doctor or someone who knows way more than me. If I was put in such a scenario without rule of law or whatever, I really don’t know what I could do to keep that person alive and infection free in the aftermath. More often than not that takes a surgeon in a hospital.

  35. jed Says:

    Coyote Brown? Crap. The AR build I haven’t even finished is already out of style! ;)

    Yes, training. I have a CAT. After reading several good cases made for it, I came to the conclusion that if you’re going to be a gun user, then your range bag / 1st aid kit ought to include something to deal with gunshot trauma. I do need to get some classes in. But I do think that if I were shot in the leg, I’d prefer a misaplied tourniquet to bleeding out. FWIW, you can use Claire’s Amazon link to buy a CAT from Grunt Gear. And be aware of cheap knock-offs — yes, they’re out there. The FDA has actually done something useful, and published a guide for differentiating the genuine article.

  36. TTB Says:

    “Having Kwikclot, Israeli bandages and tourniquets on your person is definitely a big deal, maybe the most important thing you can carry if one of your children (or me) is shot.”

    It doesn’t even have to be so dramatic as a shooting. A car accident can do it. The father of a high school classmate of mine did a horrible job on himself while chainsawing firewood. He nearly bled out before the ambulance arrived as he was alone.

    So, when thinking out one’s personal needs, if they include a chainsaw, you might think seriously about KwikClot or similar.

    Possibly for your car’s first aid kit as well, but in 43 years driving I have never been in or responded to a car accident which required it. Nice to have, but not high priority. Unless you are on the chain saw gang.

  37. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit Says:

    Claire – a week in the cold and wet? Noooooooo!!!!!! We had GIs who were borderline hypothermic (i.e. “freezing to death”) after just a night in a wet fighting position. In North Carolina. In the middle of summer. If you want any chance to stay a going concern in the cold, you need to keep dry – much as Kent’s neighbor did, I’m sure.

    And when you do “Panicked Prepping For Panicked Preppers,” I call dibs on half the gun chapter! :D

  38. Claire Says:

    I admit, Hobbit, I may have exaggerated to make a point. However, I didn’t specify that I’d leave poor Mr. Example out in the middle of January. And people do survive outdoors here with minimal shelter. Not on Mt. Hood in February, maybe. But …

    Anyhow, if I ever do write “Prepping for the Poor, the Put-Upon, and the Post-Traumatized” I’ll run it by multiple reality checkers. I promise.

    But given what happens every time anybody recommends any particular sort of gun (“Combat Tupperware!” “You’ll get people KILLED with that recommendation!” “No, no, no, you MUST have the Whiz-Bang Kadoodleflop, but ONLY in .392.5 cal, never the 278.33 cal model!”), I’ll probably just recommend that everybody stick to fighting it out (if any fighting is needed) with styrofoam swimming-pool noodles.

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