You've heard the saying, "Stuff happens."
Well, it's true. And you never know when an unthinkable disaster
that you've never planned for might happen to you.
If you're a survivor in an airplane accident,
if hazardous weather conditions occur and your vehicle gets
washed off the road in a flash flood or mudslide, you must act
Or if you're out on a boating excursion and suddenly
your boat begins to sink causing you to hit the beach on a coast
that you're not familiar with or that may be far from civilization
you'd think your first course of action should be to find food
or water, but it's not.
You need to find (or create) shelter for yourself.
In conditions like this you'll have to know how to built emergency
shelters from whatever materials you have around you. But fear
not. Building emergency shelters without the aid of a nearby
hardware or home center is very possible and people do it all
Creating Emergency Shelters Works When You
Follow a Plan and Use Your Head
Anyone who needs to build an emergency shelter
should follow some simple rules first:
Don't let panic take hold. In an emergency, you'll likely be
disoriented, stressed and even the most experiences outdoors
people will have some sense of fear. Keep your cool and think
as clearly as you can.
Make an assessment of your situation. Once you've
had a chance to catch your breath, take a physical assessment
of the geography around you, and of yourself. The geography
around you, whether it be hilly, or flat, near a river or in
the trees, all these things will help determine what kind of
shelter you need and what materials you will have to work with.
Also check yourself and your companions
if you have any. If anyone's injured, that will determine
how far you can go from where you are to a possible shelter
Check to see if you have any tools on hand. Sometimes
the simplest things in a person's pockets can make the best
tools for creating emergency shelters.
Improvisation Is the Key to Building Emergency
One of the reasons for not letting panic set in
is because you have to think creatively to improvise. Instead
of looking around at your immediate surroundings and fretting
because you can't build emergency shelters without a pile of
pre-cut lumber and hammer and nails, look around and as you
do, try to think about what you can build with what you see
in front of you.
And think of creating with efficiency too. Out
in the elements it may be cold and damp and you'll burn calories
quickly. This means you need to build your shelter with the
least amount of time and energy possible.
Some Types of Emergency Shelters You Can Build
Before you start building, remember that whatever
got you where you are is a resource for a shelter. If you were
in a boat and the boat is still with you, you have a great starting
point for a roof. If you've been in an aircraft accident, various
pieces of aluminum of various sizes should be around you which
can be utilized. And obviously an automobile, even if it's seriously
damaged, will likely have pieces of material that you can use.
A common shape used for emergency shelters is
what's known as the A-frame. It's simple to build and can be
a great shield from both cold and precipitation.
Use large sticks or boards or the remains
of a rigid frame or anything sturdy that will bend but
not break. Begin by building a frame similar to a native
Then using whatever you can find such as large
tree branches, a tarp, or bits of metal, build a covering over
the frame. Keep the frame short as possible. Keeping the structure
as compact and as short as possible will help keep you warm.
Another type of structure you can build is a lean-to.
This kind of shelter is best for staying dry and out of the
rain or snow. It may not provide as much protection from winds
but it is very easy and quick to put together. Emergency shelters
like this can utilize things like a large rock wall or overhang
to give you a starting point for building. If you have pieces
of aluminum or lightweight metal for the sides and/or a roof,
you may be able to build a small fire inside to keep yourself
warm and the metal will reflect the heat, thereby doubling you