Today is Part Four of a user requested series: Low Cost Survival Checklist. I will be discussing the use of your home as a survival shelter or emergency shelter and what you should have available as a shelter kit in the case that you must leave your home. I discuss alternative shelters as well.
Before I get into the topic, let me remind you to go to my National Preparedness Month Social Media Post that I have made one facebook and twitter and share it for chances to win cool survival gear! Remember, I have been pushing others to share the post that I have made, so I can track all the shares, so if you share directly from the site, or in your own share or tweet, please send me the URL, so I can ensure that I get the correct count, or you can tag my facebook or twitter pages and then I will see it.
Remember, this is a reader-requested series of posts (Stephen of TN) and I do enjoy covering topics that I am asked to cover. It is a way for me to make this blog OURS, not mine. It allows me to make all of the subject matter about topics that are actually needed by the readers. Contact me if you have any other requests.
I want to start this one by explaining something. Emergency shelters are not desirable. We don’t want to have to use an alternate living as a survival shelter because we will already be under stress as it is. We want to use our primary residence, our house or apartment. Foreclosure or eviction takes some time, so staying in a home is a fairly viable option. So for now we will discuss staying in our homes.
Small things can turn into very expensive emergencies pretty quickly. A small leak in my home while we were on vacation cost us a 25 thousand dollar kitchen renovation. We had someone watching the house, and we found out about the leak, but they knew nothing about how to shut off the services, and we had to wait a day before a plumber could make it out to our home to shut off the leak. There was floor damage, counter damage, tile damage, and lots of mold.
So we want to know the services that run our home, and how to turn them on or off for emergencies. If you couldn’t tell, these are all mental preparations that are low to no cost and will get you ready for lots of different issues. This may seem like something anyone can do, but not everyone can. Think in the case of your 12 year old daughter, or wife and go through the list of services in many homes:
Not only do you need to know these, but everyone in your household that is old enough, needs to know them. I am not saying that they need to know how to fix everything, but they need to know how to turn it off. My failure in the kitchen was the fact that I never took the 3 minutes it took to show the house sitter where all the mains were. I could have avoided waiting. I also could have avoided the problem at all while gone, if I had shut everything off before leaving. My main reason was that they were also watching and feeding our dogs.
But, we had a failure. Fortunately, we didn’t have to pay the full amount. Everything that I paid out of pocket was for material upgrade in the renovation. This is because I had insurance, and had proven that it was not due to neglect or flood. So, I always recommend insurance. You also need to know what constitutes flood and earthquake damage, and if those are covered under your policy. Many policies have no flood insurance unless specifically added by the customer at extra charge. So, if a tree lands on your home, you may get that fixed, but not all the water damage that was done from the rain coming into the huge hole left by the tree.
You have to be thoughtful in your preps in your home as well. Take, for instance, my food preps. Without getting into too much detail, I can say that we are somewhat exposed. Right now we are in the middle of another copy-canning method like I talked about in Low Cost Survival Checklist P3 about storing food for shortage made easy. So, I have much of my stuff in the kitchen. Now I do have some stuff still in different areas, like the storm shelter and such, but my location diversity is lacking right now. The purpose for this diversity is in case half of the hose gets taken out by a tornado or tree. Then you still have half of your preps in other locations. It also would have the added advantage of having unknown food sources if someone tried to rob you of your food in a grid-down scenario. Use storm shelters, closets, your pantries, and some other creative places.
I have heard stories about people that went through the great depression that now have canned goods hidden away in secretly built locations under their coffee tables, in their closets, and under their beds. They have years of food put away in invisible locations throughout the home.
Let me come back to this in just a moment and shift over to Emergency Shelter uses. I think that if you, hypothetically, as a person that never goes camping, except for a KOA with services, and just for a day, think that you are going to be able to live out of a tent when everything is high stress and high tension, you haven’t thought everything through. However… You should still have a tent because it is great for a bug out and is the cheapest shelter you will buy. You need to know how to make many different types of wilderness shelters.
With tents, I do recommend a few items in your emergency shelter kit, which will probably all just be in your bug out bag. You should have a good tent with rainfly. You should have paracord to brace your tent, or to build a shelter. If you have space, I prefer a good sleeping bag. In addition to the sleeping bag, I recommend a space blanket, with a bedsheet for comfort, and a wool blanket. I have a backpacking air matress which is AWESOME. it has a little bag-style pump, so the whole thing takes up as much space as my backpacking hammock. It adds a little comfort, but a bunch of insulation between you and the heat-sink we call the ground.
More importantly than buying the above gear, I recommend you use it for extended periods of time to see what it is like. Practice in peace, and fight in war. Stress will force you to deal with things, but they are easier dealt with on your own terms and in your own time.
Never overlook the possibility of using a hotel room. For what they are, they are much better than a tent and most RVs.
As I discussed in Low Cost Survival Checklist P1 about Survival Skills and Bug Out Locations, you must have a place to go before starting any of this, so I didn’t miss it, if that is what you were thinking. You need multiple places to go, and you should be the place to go for people as well. This is the simplest, cheapest, and a great BOL (bug out location) choice.
Ah, the infamous RV. I actually made a post about Using a Family RV as the Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle. In this post I go further into it, but it isn’t a bad idea to have a cheap 5-6 thousand dollar RV to hold about half of your preps. Make sure that you keep it maintained, though. And in an urban area, it is a good idea to keep the RV in a rented garage or storage unit a little ways from your home, just in case you needed it to not be destroyed when your home is. I don’t have an RV right now. I dont make the money to buy one, and will not go into debt for it. I plan on getting one though. Just don’t think that it is all sunshine and rainbows living in them. The ultimate consensus would be that they suck compared to a house, but they are alot better than a tent. I wouldn’t bet on this being a permanent shelter for me, but a transitional one.
You could also get the quick concrete shelters. They are a pretty cool idea as well. I thought I had done a post on them, but I couldn’t find it, so I will hopefully do one soon.
Enter the challenge for: