Quick References

Have You Considered Alternative Shelters to Your Home?

Have you ever considered what you would do if you had to abandon your house? The reason could be as simple as becoming unlivable as a result of a sewer backup or structurally unsound because of a fire or tornado damage. While I fully intend to live in and utilize my home for nearly any scenario I can imagine, I do realize that it may not be usable at all times.

While there are very extreme backup shelters such as those portrayed on Discovery Channel’s Doomsday Bunkers, I’m thinking about smaller scale ideas.

The question is simple: what will you and your family do if you could NOT live in your home for a defined length of time? The answer, unfortunately, is a bit more complex. In large part, the main goal is to keep the elements at bay. In particular, the point is to keep the rain, snow, and wind out. It’s a bonus if the structure can aid with keeping you warm as well.

While there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to each of the following, here are a few suggestions:

  • The most obvious idea is to utilize a friend or family member’s home. If that option isn’t available then perhaps a nearby motel or hotel would suffice. This is where the Family Emergency Plans and Tools would come in handy to help you decide where to go!
  • Another fairly obvious suggestion would be to use a family tent. While this may work out for a few days to a week or more, tent camping isn’t ideal but, at least, it keeps the rain and wind down.
  • A simple tarp or two strung up between trees (or attached to part of your home) might work for a day or two. You might even use this idea in conjunction with a tent.
  • Your vehicle may suffice short term as well. In fact, there are people who actually live in their cars permanently. Of course, this would largely depend on your climate and the time of year.
  • You could use nature and build a tepee, yurt, or other naturally-sourced shelter. I would think that knowledge of how to do this beforehand would be necessary.
  • Perhaps you could find an abandoned house or building to occupy for a while.
  • A few more dedicated options include: your own external root cellar/underground shelter, Conex shipping containers, ex-military tents, and definitely mobile shelters (such as an RV, school bus, or army truck).

There are a few considerations with any of the above ideas:

  • Weight – Can you carry or move your shelter? If you’re on the move then weight is a critical aspect of any alternative shelter.
  • Size – Will your shelter be big enough to support your family, supplies, and maybe even additional people?
  • Cost – If you’re considering a pre-buit option (such as a mobile shelter), what’s it going to cost you and is it worth the expense? At least when compared to using that money for other preps?
  • Time to build – How long will it take you to erect or build your alternative shelter? Some shelters can take days or weeks to build properly, while others can be put up in minutes. Know this in advance and plan for it.
  • OPSEC – Do you want (or care if) others to know you’re there or not? How easily can it be taken down if need be?

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

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