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Emergency Shelters

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 quickly.

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 the time.

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 site.

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 Shelters

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 tribal teepee.

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 warming power.

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