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Shelter - Environment

The environment in which you are forced to exist during your emergency may not be as comfortable as what you are used to. The various major categories of this web site deal, in great detail, with many things you can do to prepare to have as comfortable of an Environment as possible, should an emergency arise. Below are some ideas of ways in which you can increase your comfort level under given circumstances.

If the weather is cold/cool here are some ways to stay warm:

  • Stay as dry as possible - If you get wet, the ambient air and any wind will have more of a chance to draw heat from you and thus you will become cold.
  • Dress in layers - This will allow you to get just the right amount of clothing and not be under- or over-dressed. If you have too many clothes on, your body will start to sweat to cool itself down. Then you are wet and the moisture will wick heat from your body and you can get cold.
  • Use blankets - If you have warm, dry blankets, use them. They can even be shared by people.
  • Use body heat - Huddle together with others to keep each other warm.
  • If your toes are cold put on a hat - Every Boy Scout has heard that and asked how that works. It is simple, heat rises. If your head is not covered, heat will rise right out of your body and this will leave your toes (which are the lowest part of the body) to get cold. Try it.
  • Get out of the wind - The wind can produce a cooling effect and extract precious body heat right away from you.
  • Drink warm, not hot liquids.
  • Build a fire.
  • Get in the sunshine.
  • Use reflectors to build a "Solar Warmer" that can direct heat to one spot - you.
  • Wrap yourself in an emergency blanket

If the weather is hot/warm here are some ways to stay cool:

  • Get out of the sun - Find some shade, somewhere. Make your own, the best that you can. Look at the sun and figure out which direction it is traveling and figure out where the shade will be growing and plan for that.
  • If you are in the sun, put on a hat - Wait, you just learned that a hat will keep your feet warm, and you want to cool off. That is correct, but direct sunlight on the head will be a major source of discomfort. So, it you are hot, cover your head.
  • Find a breeze - Even if you have to create one yourself with some kind of fan.
  • Wear loose clothing - Keeping clothing from clinging to the body will allow air to get inside and cool the skin.
  • Put on long pants and long sleeves - This might sound funny, but if you look at people who live in the desert all their lives, you don't often see them wearing shorts or short sleeves like the tourists do. If you have an emergency, you will not be "on tour" so the main goal is to minimize exposure of the skin to the sun.
  • Drink cool, not cold liquids.
  • If you must work or walk, do so at night if possible.
  • Blow air over your body that has passed through a wet cloth.
  • Go swimming - The body can rehydrate more easily in water, even if the water is uncomfortably warm. After you get out, stand in the shade and let the water evaporate from your body (instead of using a towel).
  • Chew on ice
  • Squirt yourself with a hose.
  • Put wet cloths on your skin.
  • Don't exert yourself.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion and take proper precautions.

Learn about weather and how to predict what is happening. Click here to learn more about Weather Stations.

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