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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Forth Half - Shelter

This is the forth half of the post on shelter. You will find links to other bloggers and websites about the subject for this week.


Virginia Preppers Network - Survival Retreat vs Neighborhood Survival

Secret Lives of Scientists - Zen and the Art of Shooting: Welcome to the Dollhouse

Be A Survivor - Importance of Neighbors

Stealth Survival - Security Landscaping - Part 1 - An Introduction


Wikipedia - Retreat (survivalism)

Cob Cottage Company - What is Cob?

Terra Dome - Earth Sheltered Buildings

Firmitas.org - Shipping Container Architecture
Thanks to Sh*t Hit The Fan blog for this link

Joel Skousen - The Secure Home

Third Half - Shelter

This is the third half of the blog on shelter.

Being a Refugee
Most people will agree becoming a refugee is a very poor idea, but what happens when your home has been destroyed by fire, tornado, war, or another reason.

Where do you go? Who do you stay with?

Can you leave your home? Is it safe to move?

Can you stay on your property? Is it safe to stay?

How about a local hotel or motel? What about neighbors, family, or close friends?

Do they know you might show up? What happens if they were affected by the disaster?

How about out-of-state family and friends? Did you preposition some supplies such as shoes and clothing?

Can you even leave the state? What about your job?

Lastly, are there Red Cross or other shelters available?

In a large disaster, organized shelters may not be available for the first three days after a disaster. Are you able to hold on that long?

Many questions for you and your family to answer. Below are some of my family's answers, my wife and I came up with.

Routes To and From Home
Using PACE, we pre-identified four routes to and from our home. We identified hazards that needed to be avoided and anticipated hazards that might occur during a specific event like a earthquake, chemical spill, or traffic accident.

This hit home twice. Once when there was a fire in the area. The fire trucks blocked one of the routes keeping us from getting home. We had to pull out the local street maps to find a different way home.

There wasn't one. Yep, we didn't have a map.

Now, we keep a local street map, state maps from our state and surrounding states, and a national atlas in our cars.

Some people would say to buy new maps every time they come out. I have found; if we get new maps whenever we find free state maps and buy new local maps when the old maps get really outdated, we are adequately prepared.

We also drive our alternate routes, every once in awhile, to see what is going on in the area of the route. With this stimulus package, there may be a lot of roadwork, so make sure you check your routes to and from home.

The second time, we had trouble, was when we had severe local storms with some flooding. The flooding wrecked one culvert, closing the road. Temporarily, flooded another road, and trees were blown down closing another road.

We decided to stay home. If we had needed to leave, we could have walked out or used the chain saw to cut our way clear, with the neighbors' help.

Staying with Family or Friends
As an extended family, we have talked about having to evacuate. We have agreed to put up with each other for a few days in an emergency. I would suggest pre-position supplies such as clothing to decrease the need to pack or go back home to get things. I figure a footlocker, 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet tall, would hold enough clothes and shoes for a few days, without washing, for a family of four.

I have been using open-head steel drums as storage containers for extra blankets and extra clothing, after a mouse got into my house, for out-of-state friends that might show up with nothing but the clothes on their back.

I find almost new clothes at swap meets, garage sales, and relief society stores. I stock new underwear because most people will reject used panties or briefs. I also buy extra coats, hats, gloves, and sweaters in earth tones because of my threat analysis.

Make sure you check with expected guest for allergies to wool and ask the ladies to send you slightly used bras.

Staying in an Emergency Shelter
I have done some reading and had a little experience staying in a medium-sized camp with a group of people, so here are my opinions.

First, get your back up against a wall and find several escape routes out of the area. I say this because being up against a wall gives you one less route for trouble to approach. The several escape routes will allow you and your family to leave, quickly if needed.

Remember, fires happen at shelters, too.

You have probably heard about "Safety in Numbers," so form an impromptu group, if you need to. You can do this by getting like minded families to sleep together in the same area. This allows responsible teens and adults to watch each other's stuff and younger family members.

Safety in numbers also includes moving around and visiting others. Always move in groups of two and three, four at the maximum. Remember, children never go to the bathroom without an adult or older teen.

Women and men should also always travel together. Yes, for protection but also to give the guys a "softer" look. Which looks more threatening: Four guys walking together or two guys and two gals? Yes, you can imagine a particular skin color.

About that visiting, make an effort to talk to other people. You want to find out what they know about the situation. Confirm those rumors, too.

Third, understand that the staff at the shelter are people. Treat them with kindness and respect. Talk to them, make a connection with them, and if possible give them a hand. Also understand the shelter staff may have different priorities then you and your family have.

Lastly, find a happy medium between being too far from the bathrooms and too close to the bathrooms. They begin to smell after a few days. Oh, make sure to try and get your own roll of toilet paper.


Wikipedia - Safety in Numbers

Week Two -Shelter


Buy a small family-sized tent, a wool blanket for everyone in the family, and store these items in a place where they can be gotten to if the house collapses or is destroyed.

Blog Post:

Shelter protects us from the elements, but in emergency preparedness, shelter must provide protection from so much more.

Now take out your threat analysis list. Read through it. Anybody have hurricanes or tornadoes on their list? How about wind storms? Terrorism? Wildfire? Now, how do you protect yourself from these hazards?

You do research.

One place is FEMA, the United States of America's Federal Emergency Management Agency. It has many resources for learning about the various natural and technical disasters that will confront you. They even have suggestions on how to mitigate (reduce the effects) hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and terrorism.

You are going to learn a lot from the FEMA site, so check them out. They even have a kids page.

But don't stop there because there is more to shelter then what FEMA has on its website.

Let me explain.

Suppose, you have to leave your home, or you are stranded in the wilds. If you are stranded, you might have to improvise a shelter. Do you have a tarp? How about some string? Read M4040's tarp shelter page for some how-to on tarp shelters.

If you don't have these items, you can build a dugout shelter or a debris shelter. Out in winter's cold, you might need to build a snow shelter. Outdoor Action has a "Guide to Snow Shelters." Another article about snow trenches can be found in the links section, also

If you need something more permanent, you could build a log cabin. Mother Earth News has an article about a $100 cabin. Watch out for inflation, the article was written in 1981.

I know, I know. We will never need these shelters because you don't go into the woods, but just in case, read the links. But what happens if you home is damaged.

You will need to keep a few blue tarps on hand to cover any holes in the roof. A few sheets of plywood with some double-headed nails to protect windows. A roll of clear plastic to cover broken windows also helps. Don't forget the hammer, staples, and the staple gun.

The craftsman stapler called the "Easy Fire" seems to be easier than the older model of staplers to use.

Having clear plastic also allows you to form a safe room from a chemical spill or attack. During Gulf War One, the Israelis showed us how to make a safe room for chemical attacks by using the highest room in our homes. The one with no exterior opening such as windows or doors. Don't forget skylights. For most people, this is a hallway bathroom.

If you plan to have a safe room from chemical attack, you can pre-cut the plastic sheeting to cover all of the openings in the room. Doors, windows, and heating vents. You don't have to cover the sink and bathtub faucets in the bathroom. Once you cut the plastic, all you need is duct tape to tape the plastic around the opening, and seal.

If you don't pre-cut the plastic sheeting, you will need scissors. A small supply of towels or rags to help seal under the door will also help to stop or slow down the chemicals from entering your chemical attack safe room.

If you shelter in a bathroom, you could use the water and the toilet during your brief stay. A radio for information and card games, coloring books, or other low-activity games to help keep the children occupied are also important.

If possible, pre-position all of these supplies in the room you will use as a safe room.

Remember those opinions, the CDC has a recommendation for using a master bedroom as your shelter in place for a chemical emergency. If you have some kids and a few pets, it sounds like a good idea. Plus, there is more air to breath.

RAND has a a report on some scenarios that might happen during a biological, chemical and radiological attack. Download the PDF. Save it. Read it. Think about the report then act.

With more countries building nuclear weapons and having the means to launch these weapons, the possibility of a nuclear attack increases. I'm talking about the "big one." The 10 to 100 nuclear weapons coming in from Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Israel, or someone else.

To hear some people talk, you would think you need to buy a $2,000,000 former ICBM site to survive a nuclear war. Nope, you don't even need to buy the $260,000 site.

You do need to get a copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills. The book is available for free as a PDF; additionally, you can view the book online.

Be warned, there is this effect from an exploding atomic bomb called electromagnetic pulse (EMP); it can fry computers and other electronics, so you might need to buy a hardcopy of the book from Amazon.com or the folks in the links.

If you have more money, and you don't want to move; you can buy a shelter. There are two types of nuclear war shelters, a blast shelter and a fallout shelter.

A blast shelter can be a fallout shelter, but a fallout shelter can't be a blast shelter. This has to do with the effects of a nuclear weapon. The fallout will travel farther than the blast. So, if you are in the blast radius, a fallout shelter will not protect you from over-pressurization effects.

If you understood that statement, cool. If you didn't, make sure you read Nuclear War Survival Skills.

There are three shelter builders that I know of, Radius Engineering, Safecastle, and Utah Shelter Systems. Radius produces fiberglass blast shelters. Safecastle builds square/rectangle steel blast shelters. Utah Shelter Systems builds round steel blast shelters. All three will be expensive.

An alternative is to build your own shelter. There are many plans on the internet. The website from Rad Shelters For You has a round up of the various nuclear war shelters.

A mini blast/fallout shelter can be manufactured locally if you are on a tight budget, and you want to prepare for a nuclear war. As you can see the topic of shelters is a long and varied one. You need to think about what you are going to do and practice those techniques you have decided to use.

So study the links, and I'll ...

See you next week!


FEMA - Hazards Index:

FEMA - For Kids:

Equipped To Survive - Tarp Shelters - An Introduction

M4040's - Tarp Shelter

M4040's - Survival Shelter Building Skills

Wild Wood Survival - Debris Hut

E-How - How to Build a Debris Hut

Outdoor Action - Guide to Snow Shelters

Survival Topics - Snow Trench Shelter

Build Your Own Log Cabin

Stormloader - Plainsman's Cabin

Mother Earth News - $100 Cabin:

CDC - Chemical Emergencies

RAND - Report MR1731

Former Missile bases for sale

Nuclear War Survival Skills - Free PDF: http://www.nukepills.com/docs/nuclear_war_survival_skills.pdf

Nuclear War Survival Skills - To Read Online

Nuclear War Survival Skills - To Buy

Radius Engineering International

Safe Castle

Utah Shelter Systems

Rad Shelters For You

Rad Shelter For You - Mini Blast/Fallout Shelter

Food Storage Recipes: Buttermilk Biscuits
from Food Storage Made Easy by Jodi -- Food Storage Made Easy

If you are anything like me, you probably don’t remember to get your rolls ready 4 hours in advance for proper rising. Or you may get home from work at 5 and need a quick side dish to go with your dinner. Well I have found that simple homemade biscuits are just fabulous for a quick dinner and taste better than any store-bought tubes. Here is a recipe I’ve been using that my family really loves.
Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe:


2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (1/2 T. vinegar + 1/2 c. milk* and let sit for about 1 min.)

*You may also substitute this for powdered milk


Combine all dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Stir in the buttermilk until the dough is moist. Knead 6-8 times on a floured surface. Pat out to about 1 inch in thickness. Cut with a biscuit cutter or glass rim. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 F for 17-18 minutes or until lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from one found on allrecipes.com
For other food storage recipes check out:

Our Food Storage Recipes Page
Our sister site EverydayFoodStorage.NET
I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage book
Country Beans book