There are basic survival plans and then there are survival plans that have been well thought out and will actually work. It is natural human instinct to want to survive. If you have children, your instinct to protect your offspring and ensure their survival is extremely strong. It is crucial to have a serious survival plan in place in the event of a major catastrophe. You just never know when things are going to happen.

The following list is the 7 most crucial components of any serious survival plan. Without these things, your chances of survival drop dramatically. The prepared survive and thrive.

When establishing a plan, you need to base it on the Law of 3s.

  • You have 3 hours to regulate your core body temperature.
  • You have 3 days to find water.
  • You have 3 weeks to find food.

1 – Safety

Your safety is of the utmost importance and should always be your first order of business. If your home’s structure is compromised by an earthquake or some other event, you need to get out. If you are dealing with an act of war or civil unrest and your neighborhood is unsafe, you need to bug out. Personal safety is the most important factor in a survival plan. If you feel comfortable with weapons, you may want to consider having one to help ensure your personal safety. However, a weapon can be taken from you and used against you. It is best to avoid confrontation if at all possible. Move at night and take advantage of the darkness to avoid detection. And last but not least, make sure to have a first aid kit prepared.

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2 – Shelter

You will need to have the materials necessary to build a shelter if you are forced to leave your home. If you have the means to setup a retreat, do so. Your retreat should be somewhere off-the-grid and somewhat hidden. You don’t want other people taking refuge in your shelter and using up your supplies. If you don’t have a shelter to retreat to, you need to have at the bare minimum a tarp and cordage in order to construct a makeshift shelter to keep you out of the weather. This will help you fulfill the law of maintaining your core body temperature. Take the time to learn about other shelters that can be built in nature if you don’t have a tarp on hand.

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3 – Water

Our bodies need water to stay functioning. You can only survive 3 days without water. However, that second and third day are going to be tough if you haven’t had any water. You want to avoid dehydration at all costs. It is imperative you store water in your shelter. If you don’t have a shelter, you need to have purification tablets or some other purification method on hand to clean water you do find. In average weather, you will need 1 gallon of water every day to survive. If it is hot outside or you are expending a great deal of energy and sweating, that number will increase. Learn how to find water in the wild as part of your prepping plan.

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4 – Fire/Warmth

Fire may need to be your first order of business if you have been thrust into the wilderness. Every survival situation is different. You will need to evaluate whether a shelter or a fire needs to be taken care of first. If you have more than one person in your group capable of taking care of one of these jobs, divide and conquer. A fire can provide warmth as well as purify water. Fires are key in a survival situation. Because they are so important, it is a good idea to have a minimum of 2 ways to start a fire. It is too important to leave to chance.

5 – Food

While the body can go 3 weeks without food before death comes calling, it is certainly not pleasant to do so. A severe calorie deficiency can make it extremely difficult to even walk across your camp to try and find food. A lack of food can also wreak havoc on your mental stability as well. To prepare for a massive reduction in food supply, you should have a very minimum of 3 days of food on hand. You don’t need full meals, but you need something to keep your body going. Energy bars are perfect for this. While you rely on your food stores to keep you going, you can work on procuring more food for the coming days, weeks or possibly months that you will be left without the luxury of a grocery store.

6 – Gear

In order to do all of the things in the first 5 steps, you have to have the right gear. Things like purification tablets, a cup for heating water, cordage and so on are all necessary components of a bug out bag or a part of your preps. If you don’t have these items, survival becomes much more difficult. Survival gear doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Buy a little at a time and tuck it away for that day you really need it. Another factor to consider is your ability to use your gear. If you get thrust into a survival situation and have a bag full of gear you have never used before, you are still going to be struggling. You need to use it and become familiar with your equipment. Trying to make a shelter out of a tarp isn’t always easy, especially if there is a lot of wind, rain or snow. A disaster situation does not leave a lot of room for a learning curve.

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7 – Mindset

Your survival hinges on your state of mind. If you are filled with grief and despair and decide there is just no way you can go on, you won’t. It won’t matter if you have the best survival plan or every piece of gear a survivalist could ever want. If you don’t have the proper mindset, you will not survive. You must be prepared to deal with extreme situations and be willing to improvise to survive. Every survival expert will tell you your mindset is one of the most crucial components to any survival plan.

These 7 components are only half of your survival plan. You have to be willing to do what it takes to survive. That will include being a little uncomfortable and going without some of the luxuries we have all taken for granted. Planning and practice are everything. Knowing what to expect and how to overcome things like starting a fire in the rain or finding water are part of the training process. Don’t get caught off guard. Start your training today.