A dictionary definition of the word survival could read as follows.

1. a state of surviving; remaining alive
2. a natural process resulting in the evolution of organisms best adapted to the environment
3. something that survives

(courtesy wordnet.princeton.edu)

and from the Encarta Dictionary

1. staying alive continuation in life or existence
2. fact of living through something the fact of having managed to live through something
3. something from the past a custom, idea, or belief that remains when other similar things have been lost or forgotten

This of course, makes the antonym of survival, death.

So survival is merely the act of remaining alive. The question then becomes for how long do we wish to stay alive. For most of us the answer to this question is easy, for as long as possible. Yet many people will not survive and live in the face of situations for which they are unprepared or are unable to cope with. These situations can be broken down into three main groups based on the amount of time involved with each of them. For our purposes here we will define these three groups as follows.

1st Short term emergency survival for periods up to two weeks in duration.
2nd Medium term emergency survival for periods over two weeks but less than six months.
3rd Long term survival for periods over six months and extending indefinately.

It is safe to assume that in the first instance that this type of survival would be required in the event of a natural disaster and that one would resume their normal standard of living relatively quickly.

In the second instance the same assumption can be made with the addition that it may or will incure a major change in the prior normal standard of living and that a new standard will have to evolve. This could still be due to a natural disaster or it could be from a manmade disaster or event.

In the third instance there is still a slim chance that the predisaster standard will be resumed but at this point it is far more likely that one will be assuming a new and very different standard of living. It is likely that they will be entirely dependent on themselves for their life and survival with death as the only option if they fail. This instance is almost surely to be of a manmade origin and not a natural disaster although it is still possible for it to be so.

In coming articles I will present information dealing with each of these three groups and how one can expand into another. I will present resources and methods for coping with these different groups including ways to minimize the discomforts that will accompany them. Some of these resources and methods will be more appropriate to one part of the country than another. Some will be more appropriate for a larger group while others will only be appropriate for an individual or small family. I will try to give coverage to each instance with each article and not concentrate solely on one for an excessive amount of time. However, there will be far more information presented for the third instance then the second and more for the second than the first so that as time goes by most of the articles will by force be dealing with long term survival.

The next post will deal with the types of events that are associated with each of these groups.