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.
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
Utah Shelter Systems
Rad Shelters For You
Rad Shelter For You - Mini Blast/Fallout Shelter