The survivor's rule of three

November 30, 2009

Print Register Bookmark RSS What's This

Betsy Brantner Smith Survival Insights
with Betsy Brantner Smith

Tip: The survivor's rule of three

Take note of the United States Air Force and “The Rule of Three,” which I learned from Ben Sherwood’s The Survivors Club, a book every cop should own. A human being cannot survive:

• 3 Seconds Without Spirit and Hope
• 3 Minutes Without Air
• 3 Hours Without Shelter in Extreme Conditions
• 3 Days Without Water
• 3 Weeks Without Food
• 3 Months Without Companionship or Love

In other words, watch your self-talk, employ your when/then thinking, keep an energy bar in your patrol bag, stay hydrated, and appreciate those you love. Never forget that faith, friends, and optimism are as essential to our survival as food, water, and shelter.

Stay safe!


About the author

Sergeant Betsy Smith has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, retiring as a patrol supervisor in a large Chicago suburb. A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command and a Street Survival seminar instructor for more than 9 years, Betsy is now a speaker, author and a primary PoliceOne Academy consultant. Visit Betsy's website at

Contact Betsy Smith and Follow Betsy on Twitter

PoliceOne Columnists:

PoliceOne's team of expert writers provides our readers with valuable insight from both on-the-job and classroom experience.

To submit articles or become a columnist click here and include your background/CV and a sample of your writing.

All Columnists

PoliceOne Newsletter

Subscribe Now

Today's Top Stories

Sunday, October 4, 2015
All of Today's News

Officer Down

All Officer Downs Submit an Officer Down

Featured Columnist

Adam Davis
Building Champions
with Adam Davis