The 3 5’s……….


The 3 5’s


We know that in the aftermath of any major event like a hurricane or even some riot brought on by a political differences, society tends to fall apart. Once that happens, we know what comes next. This is what is known as the 3 5s. Check out how this law has played out in real life scenarios.


3-5 Hours Looting Happens

Within three to five hours of an incident, looting starts to happen as people begin to panic. People will do whatever it takes to get the supplies they need to survive or simply things that they want. There are some people who do not appreciate the looting and will go to great lengths to protect their property. A looter is often somebody who is hungry, dangerous and mean. Think back to Hurricane Katrina. People looted abandoned stores to get the food they felt they needed. With resources stretched so thin, there was nobody around to police the people

3-5 Days Store Shelves are Empty

Not everybody will loot. Some people will flood the stores to buy the things they need. Typically, a grocery store is only stocked with enough supplies to last 3 to 4 days. Shelves will be wiped out in the aftermath of any crisis. This was recently exhibited during the Hurricane Sandy situation. People were panicked over the prospect of the “Frankenstorm” and rushed to stock their pantries, resulting in empty store shelves. Local stores were wiped out of bread and other basic items, including batteries days before the storm even hit. Bread and batteries are both key elements of survival. People were doing what they could to prepare for the hours and days they would be without food and power. The mayor of New York City began distributing food 4 days after the storm hit.


3-5 Weeks City Folk Fan Out

After 3 to 5 weeks of coping with a disaster within the city limits, city dwellers will begin to fan out in search of necessities. One of the most devastating examples of this scenario is the Chernobyl disaster that happened in Russia in 1986. The city and surrounding areas were toxic with radiation. People who survived the blast left the city in the hopes of finding somewhere to live. Many were still very sick because of the radiation poisoning and were seeking medical attention. The survivors needed somewhere safe to live and to start over.


3-5 Months Groups Haphazardly Put Together Will Crumble

It is common for people to band together in groups after a major event. Groups are formed by people who have the same religious values, may be of the same race or from the same culture, or similar location. We saw this happen in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s after communism ended. Political leaders managed to destroy these groups with the use of fear mongering directed at opposing religious and cultural groups. This ended up leading to the “former Yugoslavia.”


3-5 Years Normalcy Returns

As humans, we are left with physical and emotional scars after a tragic event. This is true of a society that has encountered any major event as well. Although there is a strong chance society will get back to normal, it is very likely it will not be the same. There will be scars and if there have been any other similar traumas, that sense of normalcy will be delayed.


One way to understand how the new norm is different from the previous norm is to imagine a person’s life before and after a spouse died. It will take a few years, but eventually, the widower will begin to lead a normal life again, albeit a different normal than what life was like with the spouse.


Society is the same. After an event, people will strive to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. It will probably never be the same. It is always a good idea to learn from events that have happened in an effort to avoid or be better prepared for the future.


Craig Caudill teaches about disaster kits both online at Dan’s Depot and also offline at his Nature Reliance School.


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  1. re 3 5s . Good article. I knew some of this but learned a bit also. I will check out Dans Depot

    Today I attended a friends childs birthday party and
    they were running out of this and that so they ran to the local convenience store . I cannot imagine them in a crises.( I have given them basic inf on prepping before)We live in a rural area about an hour from them. I wish we lived even
    further into the Mts.

  2. Gun show. My husband attended a gun show today and parking was at a premium it was so crowded. He bought some ammo and said that even 22 ammo wasn’t available.

  3. my sister lives in a city and a tornado hit close to them and although i have tried to expose them to the idea of being prepared they hadn’t. the electric is out for 4 days no school no way to use a debit card and no checks. maybe now they will understand it isn’t the horrible bad things that can can be as simple as a bad storm.

  4. I love this post. It gives hope as well as inform what we are up against. Hope fully this Rule will hold true. I would be nice if it wasn’t needed. But Life is what happens when your making other plans.

  5. Irish 7 I agree re the normal days being over-we also have intense climate change to deal with-ex. devastating tornadoes in Texas, Kansas and Ok and a huge Volcano eruption in Alaska.
    Hope your legal/health issues are resolved in your favor.
    Some ammo more available here also but higher prices.
    My husband picked up 22 and some other types at a gun show recently.Arlene

  6. Ammunition is becoming available in my area as well. The prices are up, but they may never return to pre-Sandy Hook rates again. Although I picked up some .22 LR recently, I am holding off on ammo purchases for a little bit. My attorney changed projections for Appeals Council dates, and I am now reluctant to spend more until I have closure on my disability case. On another note, I would be ecstatic if these time approximations held true, specifically that things would return to normal in 3 to 5 years. Call me pessimistic, but I am anticipating crisis/disaster scenarios far worse than anything that will heal within a decade. Perhaps, never return to what we now call normal.

  7. Arlene, I look at guns every single day. I get an e-mail from GunsAmerica, which is similar to an Ebay for firearms. Although we own more weapons than we could shoot, I continue to plan for different situations in which our primary guns are not available. I purchased the hardened plastic burial tubes to cache survival supplies. But, I have not dug any holes yet. The question arises “What do I want to bury”? I am reluctant to choose any of the expensive firearms that we own. So, I guess I’ll have to buy some more (used guns)!

  8. On Topic;
    I would like to see the source for this data. I have been thru a few situations and some what agree, but have also seen many exceptions to this timeline. Disaster (Nor people) does not keep to hard and fast rules.
    Dig the holes.
    Make certain you know where they are.
    Place them off of your property.
    Somethings to consider; Do you want to bury your First Line or Second Line of weapons?
    Think it through. Do you want to possibly loose your first line with out a shot fired and have to fight with your cached back-ups, or vice versa?

    You’re caliber collection also makes me dizzy and pretty much speachless given your 30 years military. What concerns me even more is proficency in all of those varied guns. Are ALL involved knowledgable in ALL of your guns, or are you going to be forced into a new training program, on the fly, every time some one is forced to pick up a new weapon?
    Last note: They are TOOLS. Are you gonna trade your life for one of them because you are attached to the COST of it? Regards, D.

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