Posted by & filed under Bugging Out, In-Home Preparations.


toilet-paper8-100x100Isn’t it funny how we will sometimes stock dozens of cans of beans but only one can opener, or we keep dozens of bandages but only a single scissors to cut them with? Don’t make this common mistake. Have a lot of redundancy built into your emergency preparedness. It is important, and it is necessary.

Three is two

Have you heard of this expression: “Three is two, two is one, and one is none”? Most survivalists will know this saying. Basically, it means that if you have three of a certain item, one could break, get lost or be consumed, leaving you with just two of that item. If you have two, then you really only have one, and if you have one, well, then you really have none. The thought is that if you are only prepared with a single thing, you really aren’t prepared at all. If that can opener breaks and can’t be used, opening a can of beans will be pretty much impossible.

Start building in redundancy with any items that are essential to your survival. This includes tools, food, or supplies. You’ll know where to start building redundancy when you imagine living without that thing. Would you simply be inconvenienced or in a crisis if the item were not available?

When my daughter was a little younger, she went everywhere with a certain doll, including the bathtub and out in the mud. My husband and I named this toy “moldy baby” because no matter how much time it spent in the washing machine and dryer or soaking in bleach, it’s little cloth body tended to get musty and unusable. Being without that doll would have been a real crisis for her and probably for the neighbors too. The solution was for us to stock two extra copies of the exact same doll, which got us through my daughter’s need for her constant companion while keeping her healthy.

Emergency supplies, tangible items that you stock, should not be the only area of redundancy in your emergency planning. You will also benefit from applying the philosophy of “one is none” by building redundancy into your emergency escape plans. You should map out at least three evacuation routes out of town, for example, in case your first route choice is blocked.

Being prepared means thinking ahead, and building redundancy into your emergency planning will put you in the best position to survive and thrive in an emergency situation.

One Response to “One is None: Don’t Ignore the Importance of Redundancy”

  1. Jim

    You are correct about having multiples of important items.

    Since you mentioned can openers I would like to expand on that subject. First, having at least two high quality twist handle openers is a must. Second, each bugout bag should have a multi-blade knife such as a Swiss army, scout, or camp knife, that has a can opener. Third, there should be on your key ring or in your wallet/purse a p38 military style can opener or better a p51 (larger and easier to use).

    Next, don’t rely on just having these on hand; use them and ensure that they work and that you can indeed work them. Things to know about the knife and p38/51 are that they are made primarily for right handed people, so if you are a lefty, practice with them until you are comfortable with their use.

    Emergency opening. The “church key” (cap lifter on one end and triangular penetrator on the other) can be used to open cans by overlapping cuts made with this tool. You will only be able to open the can a little more that half way around before the side of the can becomes too flexible to continue. A knife blade can be used, however it is not easy and it is necessary to learn and practice this skill. Punch the blade into the can lid near the rim, then using the rim of the can as a fulcrum, lever the sharp edge of the blade upward to cut the lid. Fixed blade spear points work best. And last, if you have concrete or a flat rock you can scrub the rim of the can on these until you see a small amount of moisture appear, then carefully pry the lid off. Be sure to have the rim flat on the concrete/rock.


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