Survival Priorities During Emergency or Crisis

Survival priorities

Survival Priorities During Emergency or Crisis

Prioritizing one’s survival priorities while in an emergency situation is key to coming out alive. No two emergencies or crises are alike, each with its own unique combination of factors like setting, weather, people, and events. Nevertheless, a few constants exist. For example, the cold can kill you faster than dehydration; a lack of water can kill you faster than starvation; and a panicked decision can get you killed immediately.

The following information will aid you in determining your priorities for survival during an emergency or disaster.

The “rule of threes” states that a human can only survive:

-3 minutes without air 

-3 hours without shelter

-3 days without water 

-3 weeks Without food

The U.S Air Force came up with a list of 7 survival priorities that helps people make decisions in difficult situations. This list is often referenced within the context of wilderness survival and can be useful for anyone, not just those in the military.

  1. STOP (Stop; Think; Observe; Plan)
  2. Provide First Aid
  3. Seek shelter
  4. Build a fire
  5. Signal for help
  6. Drink water
  7. Food: Don’t worry about it

Survival rule number one: don’t lose your cool. Stop what you’re doing and take inventory of the current situation. Look around you and take note of your surroundings. Once you have a clear understanding of the present, formulate a plan with positive thinking at the forefront.

A Positive Mental Attitude is Essential for Survival

It is important to have a positive attitude and the ability to adapt in order to think clearly. One’s immediate assessment, decisions and subsequent actions are paramount.

With mental toughness, you can better tolerate difficult conditions and take care of what needs to be done. To the best of your ability, remain positive, avoid panic and work hard to solve the worst problem first.

The three immediate survival priorities are air, safety, and first aid.

We need air to breathe and survive. Safety is important to assess any potential threats or dangers. First aid stabilizes the situation if necessary.

Top Survival Priorities

Body core temperature: Hypothermia can set in quickly, and overheating is also a danger.

Shelter: Protection from the environment when necessary.

Fire: If required for body core temp., water purification, or food.

Hydration: Three days without water is not good!

Food: Make sure you’re getting enough calories to keep going.

Transportation: Get to a safe place, by any means necessary.

Operational Security & Defense: If the situation warrants it, take whatever measures are necessary to protect yourself.

– Sleep: You won’t be able to think straight if you’re exhausted, so get some rest when you can.

Other Version Of The Rule of Threes

  • You could die in 3 seconds if you panic.
  • If you don’t have any oxygen, you could die in 3 minutes.
  • Without shelter under harsh conditions, you could die in 3 hours.
  • If you don’t have any water,you could die within3 days.
  • And finally, if you don’t have food, it would only take 3 weeks for starvation to claim your life .

The following survival priority tips come from the US Army Survival Manual: FM 21-76 (October 1970)

Assess the situation and use all of your senses. Don’t rush into things as you may regret it later. Remember where you are and try to act like the locals do. Overcome any fear or panic you may be feeling and improvise if necessary. Life is valuable, so make sure to take care of yourself first and foremost. However, in order to survive, it’s also important to learn some basic skills that will help you along the way.

The emergency has already happened, so there’s no changing that. However, you must stay calm – or at least look calm. Your family needs a leader in this difficult time. If the threat is still ongoing, take cover and protect yourselves. Don’t needlessly exposing yourself to danger – if you can’t overcome the threat, then your death would only leave your family worse off. They need a leader alive, not a dead hero. Make a decision and stick with it; sometimes good enough is better than perfect.”


In conclusion, Survival Priorities are essential in any survival situation. Survival begins with having a positive mental attitude, assessing the environment and formulating a plan of action. Survival priorities include taking care of your body’s core temperature, finding shelter, building a fire, making sure you have an adequate water supply and getting enough food. Additionally, operational security and defense may be necessary in some scenarios. It is also important to assess the situation and not rush into anything that could be potentially dangerous or regretful in hindsight. In times of emergency or danger it is important to stay calm, take charge if necessary and make rational decisions for yourself and your family. By staying aware of your surroundings and following these Survival Priorities guidelines can help ensure your safety and help you in any Survival situation.


This is the end of your Survival Priorities content. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! Hopefully this content will be helpful to those who might need it. Be sure to stay safe and always be prepared!

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