You can never be too prepared for an emergency. In the world we live in today, all it takes is a natural disaster or act of war to suddenly leave everyone scrambling to survive. An emergency shelter provides you and your family with a safe harbor where you can ride out the worst effects of a major disaster. Your decision to build a shelter will be even more effective when you follow these steps to make sure that everything is in place.
Choose the Right Size for Your Shelter
Shelters range from small closets that hold two to three people to large bunkers that expand into the underground areas. Start by thinking about how many people may need to take shelter there, and use this as a guide for deciding how big to build it. Keep in mind that you also need to plan for enough room for food storage and sleeping areas.
Consider Waste Disposal
People often think about stocking up for food to the point that they forget about having to handle waste. If you have built a standalone emergency shelter, then plan for a septic tank installation in the building. For homes that already have a system, you may still need to upgrade to a bigger one that is more efficient for handling the new addition. In a true emergency, being able to properly dispose of raw sewage can prevent you and your loved ones from experiencing severe illnesses.
Prepare Food Storage Areas
The majority of food that goes into an emergency shelter should be shelf stable and capable of lasting for a long time without extra care. You can keep things simple by building shelves into the shelter that can hold canned goods and other necessities. Make sure that any food containers you use are air tight, and include some basic cooking and eating utensils in the area. And be sure to include multiple tools like can openers that can be used to open these cans.
Think About Security
During a major disaster, you may be forced to protect your shelter from other people who try to get inside. Alternatively, you might simply need to know that the door can withstand high winds or fire. Look into security systems that include heavy duty locks to keep people from being able to raid your supplies. You might also want to get a camera that allows you to see what is going on outside so that you know when it is safe to exit the shelter.
Once you’ve set up the shelter, remember that you need to check on things periodically to make sure that it is ready in an emergency. Arrange for periodic inspections of the plumbing and septic systems, and rotate the food stock to make sure nothing expires. Maintaining the shelter helps you know that you can quickly move in if a need arises.
About the Author: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan