A Question we are often asked is how to prioritise in a survival situation, what do you need to do first?

When prioritising there are a number of variables to take into account from environmental factors to the mechanism by which survival is necessary.

In all cases the first thing to get out of the way is to deal with injuries and any immediate risk of harm.  Move yourself and others away from any potential dangers before focusing on and treating any medical issues.

Once satisfied that immediate health concerns are under control, it’s time to take stock and figure out both where you are and just how likely you are to be rescued.

The Rule of 3’s

A good guiding principle to inform decision making in survival situations is The rule of 3’s.

General survival rates:

  • 3 minutes – without air
  • 3 hours – without a maintained Core Temperature
  • 3 days – without water
  • 3 weeks – without food

Civilisation may be just several or hundreds of miles away and knowing this is going to influence the decisions you make and your next steps.

Once you have established how long you might need to stay in the wilderness then it’s time to focus on choosing a suitable location that meets your individual or your groups needs.


When looking for a good site you need to make sure that it will meet both your immediate and future needs, however long that may be.

Protecting yourself from the elements and maintaining warmth is your top priority but doing so miles away from a suitable water source is a bad idea.  Likewise bedding down near a stream on an exposed hillside without a readily available supply of fuel for the fire is an equally poor choice.

The location you choose should keep you safe and give you easy access to all the things that you will likely need for immediate survival.

A suitable site should provide easy access to or protection from the 5 W’s.


Following these general rules will enable you to establish a safe and suitable base in the best possible location.  To find out more and put some of these principles into practice, why not attend one of our Survival courses?

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