Shelter - Your FIRST Priority
This may seem strange to call the the "FIRST" priority, however, you can live without water for about three days. How long do you think you will live if you get hypothermia or heatstroke? Only Hours!
After the Japan Earthquake, I've been thinking about this and have decided that I needed to rethink this problem through due to the length of time you may be without a home. The shelter problem can be broken into three categories; Emergency, Temporary and Permanent. Here, I will not deal with the subject of a permanent shelter.
The choice for an emergency shelter is any place warm and dry. The ideal would be a tent of some type. One of these can be purchased relatively inexpensively. You can check out the Tent link on my site at the bottom of this page.
Now, I've been camping in a tent many times in my life. I do find camping quite enjoyable. However, I've always come home and relaxed in a better atmosphere... simply more creature comforts. When camping, I've found that the bigger tents are more enjoyable because I don't have to crawl in and out of them. I do like to stand up. I also don't like sleeping on the ground... I have a cot. Also, I think we can learn allot from the military folks here. There are the ongoing jokes about the difference between how a Grunt lives and Air force folks... I'm one of the Air force folks... and yes we did have a FLOOR and a REFRIGERATOR in our tent.
One of the other things which happens during camping is rain. Cooking or eating out side during a rain storm is not what I particularly like to do. To put this into perspective, the more creature comfort the better. Therefore, a small tent to me is just that... a camping or emergency tent. I certainly don't want to live in one for more than a week.
After a disaster, the best of all possible shelters would be your own intact home.
However, you may be without utilities or sewage. You will need to go through a post-disaster
inspection for safety before you start reconstruction and cleanup.
Here is an example of a Return Home Checklist.
To me a motor home or travel trailer would be the next best thing and contain all you needed.
The third best would be to follow the military and use a larger shelter structure. I know that some of these structures are quite expensive, however, I've found an exception. For the price of about a medium to large tent you can purchase a canvas covered carport.
Now, before you say that is ridiculous, let me explain. I've camped in one for a week. It was a 10 x 20 foot one. It was roomy, you could stand up, you could have a group of friends sitting in camp chairs and was very comfortable. When it rained, there was plenty of room for a small table. I've been in one which had rugs on the ground and an actual door. To say the least it was very, very comfortable... like home. The only drawback I found was that it is not that portable. But for long term temporary shelter, longer than a week, it certainly was better than a small camping tent.
My grandparents lived in an empty train boxcar for several years during the depression. As a matter of fact it was placed next to Uncle Dell's log cabin and was still there as I grew up. We used it for storage. I'm told that this was not unusual. I guess you can use just about any BOX type structure as a shelter if need be.
So, here, I'm thinking in terms of "Just a BOX". Here are some suggestions.
- Camper shell on the back of a pickup truck.
- Semi truck container.
- Portable Storage Unit.
- Portable car garage.
- Boat shelter.
- Bread Truck.
- Overturned Trash Bin.