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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Emergency Shelter

Norwegian map symbol for an emergency shelter ...Image via Wikipedia
With July upon us, here’s some information I believe you’ll find useful, especially if you’re out camping or hiking. The following article comes courtesy of The 7 Store Emergency Preparedness Newsletter, issued June 27, 2010, and is posted here with permission.

Past articles have covered how to stay warm and dry during winter weather conditions. While this is certainly a possibility and a serious enough issue to warrant the prior coverage, summer heat and storms can also become threatening and need to be prepared for just as earnestly.
Shelter sufficient to keep you safe and dry following emergencies can be accomplished using many things, both naturally occurring and hastily constructed. Recognizing your immediate circumstances and possibly occurring situations is where you start.
Do you have rising tides or overflowing rivers to deal with? Are you in a narrow valley or gully susceptible to flash flooding from sudden or extended down pours? Maybe your greatest concern is protecting yourself from lightening strikes or heat stroke from the blazing sun. Paying attention to all of these issues makes it easier to find or create appropriate shelter.
General Issues
Certain common sense rules need to be followed in particular circumstances no matter what else is going on. If flooding is happening or likely, you need to find higher ground. At the same time, if lightening is happening or possible, be sure you are not the tallest object around. Nor should what you are using for shelter be near the highest objects around such as trees, large rocks, etc.
Trees, tree branches, overhanging rocks (sometimes cold outcroppings) can provide anywhere from minimal shelter to something keeping you completely dry. If, however, you have prepared well for emergencies, you’ll have and know how to use certain items that will provide the maximum comfort and safety during the first few days of turmoil.
Keeping Dry
Your first line of defense is to use hats and ponchos, even umbrellas. These provide personal, minimal protection but certainly better than nothing.
Tarps, tents, lean-tos, huts, laavus (Finnish) and yurts are all types of temporary shelters, each of which provides varying degrees of shelter. Just as there are hundreds of tent styles and sizes, so are there many sizes and kinds of tarps. The term hut is used for many structure forms but most often refers to something temporary or at least rough hewn and unfinished. The primary purpose of each of these is to keep you dry from storm.
Regular tents are far too large and heavy to be included in any reasonable kind of emergency kit that can be picked up and carried any distance when you consider everything else you need to take with you. Tube tents make semi reasonable shelters as long as there is not too much wind. By closing one end with strong spring clamps, you improve its capabilities considerably. But because they are small and cramped, they can increase a different problem.
Huts, lean-tos, yurts, etc. all require materials that may not be available immediately following some disaster. So what is the best solution?
Keeping Cool
Many parts of the world experience and are use to high summer temperatures. Under stress, even moderate temperatures can cause problems for those not use to high heat. When you plan on shelters for summer emergency situations, think not only of staying dry, remember to plan on shade and air circulation.
One of the easiest methods is to use a tarp of some type. Preferably use something that is silver and reflective at least on the outside. Even Mylar blankets and cu sleeping bags can be supported with sticks to make a simple lean-to shelter. The reflective surface reduces the heat beneath the shelter and when sloped properly, causes the air to move from floor to ceiling and out the top, providing a more comfortable place to avoid both heat and wet.
Special Issues
If your emergency plans realistically allow you to remain on or near your property, just not necessarily inside you house, you may wish to investigate and prepare to be able to construct a temporary shelter with additional benefits. One of my favorite options is a simple structure known as a hexayurt. Look it up at
You can ignore all the political bantering about the hexayurt’s use in places like Haiti and just scroll down to some of the informal videos that explain and demonstrate the hexayurt. It makes a very fun and educational project for a family to do in the back yard. Just be careful of the materials you choose and follow the guidelines given in the videos. There is good reason to pay attention here.

The 7 Store offers tube tents and reflective tents for just a few dollars each. The brief product descriptions that follow come from their Web site.
Tube Tent
This two person Tube Tent is an inexpensive, lightweight and compact method of protecting you from the elements in an emergency. The tent measures 8 feet in length and is easily set up between two trees, poles or anything else available for tying two ropes.
Reflective Tent
Reflective material helps conserve body heat. The Emergency Tent is a lightweight and compact emergency shelter. It is wind and waterproof and easy to set up. It is 8 feet long and roomy enough for two people. This tent is made of Mylar material reflecting body heat and is intended to be used in colder weather.
Click here to go directly to The 7 Store’s home page. Type either tube tent or reflective tent in the search box, and you’ll be taken to a page showing the item you’re interested in. Order there or click on the image for a little more info, then place your order.
If you’re interested in a shelter to protect you from storms or bomb blasts, click on the banner below and get acquainted with what The 7 Store has to offer to meet your needs.

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