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Shelter - Housing

During an emergency, the minimal needs of proper housing will still need to be met. There will be times when you may need to leave the comforts of your home and there will be other times when you will need to stay put, even quarantined.

Below are some ideas on Housing.

In-Place Sheltering - There may be a time when you are required to stay inside your home for an extended period of time. Click here to learn more about In-Place Sheltering.

Lean-to - This a homemade shelter usually made out of rope and plastic or a tarp. It probably has both ends open, exposed to the elements but it can provide some shelter.

To make a Lean-to:

  • Collect three pieces of nylon rope, a huge plastic sheet (preferably 6 Mil in thickness) or a tarp, some clothespins, stakes, and a hammer.
  • Stake two parallel ropes into the ground a few feet apart. The ropes should be as long as your plastic or tarp.
  • Tie one more rope parallel to both of those to two trees such that the height of the rope is at least 3 feet off the ground (the more the better). This rope should be directly over one of the other two ropes.
  • Stretch your plastic or tarp over the top rope and around the two lower ropes. This will produce a triangular shelter that will allow moisture to run off the sloped top.
  • If there is extra plastic, either overlap it or move some of your ropes.
  • Secure the plastic to the ropes with clothespins or any way you can.
  • If you are able to have one end of the lean-to butt up against a tree or bush, that can provide extra shelter.
  • Dig a trench to channel any runoff water away from the Lean-to.
  • Practice building a Lean-to before the need arises.
  • Note: a Lean-to can also be made out of logs and plywood. The idea is to build a shelter that will allow you to escape wind and moisture.

Tent - These come in various sizes and are usually rated as to how many people can comfortably sleep inside.

Consider the following concerning Tents:

  • Make sure that the Tents you plan on using can be transported easily.
  • Make sure you have all of the ropes, poles and stakes.
  • Make sure you have all the tools to set it up.
  • Make sure you know how to set it up. If possible, store tent setup instructions in a zippered plastic bag with the tent.
  • When you set it up, choose a location that is not in a wash, or a low area that could easily flood.
  • Make sure the tent is not the highest point around to reduce the chance of being hit by lightning.
  • Put a plastic or tarp under the tent to reduce the amount of moisture that will seep into the tent. Be careful that this plastic does not stick out and catch falling moisture, thus channeling it to your tent.
  • After setting it up, dig a trench around the edges of the tent walls so any moisture will run off, away from the tent.
  • Make sure the tent ropes, poles and stakes do not produce a hazard for people walking nearby. If you can, mark anything that could be a problem by using white flags or reflective tape.
  • If you put a piece of plastic inside to cover the floor of the tent, it will be easier to keep the tent clean and dry.
  • Some tents come with a dew cover that will keep dew from settling on the roof of the tent. If your tent does not have one, you can use a light plastic (painter's) with clothespins to protect the roof from direct rainfall.
  • Open all the windows and air the tent out.
  • Do not put anything in the tent that produces Carbon Monoxide such as a gas heater or lantern. Some heaters and lanterns may be safe inside a tent, and if they are, they should be clearly marked. If they are not marked, assume that you should not use it in a tent.
  • Inside the tent, do not let anything touch the walls of the tent.

Winter Hiking and Camping - Click here to learn more about Hiking and Camping in winter conditions.

Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center, Inc.

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