Preparedness Fundamentals

Temporary Shelter

Temporary Shelter 1834

Shelter is a fundamental need during an emergency of any kind. With severe weather being one of our yearround hazards in southern Oregon, having adequate shelter is a year-round concern. Whether you purchase a
shelter or learn how to build your own, having everything you need on hand is essential. Keep necessary items for your shelter in your vehicle in the event that you’re not at home when disaster strikes.

Sheltering Away From Home

  • Make sure your shelter is wind and rain proof.
  • How many people will you likely need to shelter - who often travels with you?
  • Remember to store sleeping bags or warm blankets along with your sheltering supplies.
  • Consider what you would want under you, not just over you, to stay warm and comfortable.
  • If you had to stay in your shelter for several days before help arrived, could it withstand the elements?
TIP: Your vehicle is a shelter from wind and rain, but not from extreme temperatures. If you cannot run your vehicle due to damage or lack of fuel, it may not help you stay warm or or cool. Don’t count on your car!

Sheltering at Home

  • Your home is a natural shelter, but what if it was not safe to enter when you got home? This could happen in an earthquake, flood or winter storm due to fallen trees. Is there a location outside of your home, such as a shed or garage, to store some of your supplies? 
  • Do you have tarps, plastic sheeting, duct tape, etc. on hand to seal a broken window or even a damaged roof due to a fallen tree or downed power pole? It is important to have what you need to keep weather out.

Other Considerations

  • Be sure to have lighting that allows you to use your hands. A headlamp or lantern will be more useful than a flashlight while building a shelter.
  • Remember, you may be building your shelter in adverse conditions, such as freezing temperatures that make fine motor skills difficult - have warm gloves, socks and a hat in your kit. Extreme heat makes any activity more dangerous due to dehydration. Keep water, a hat, extra sunglasses and a cooling towel on hand. Do not exert yourself during the heat of the day; you will lose a lot of water by sweating.

Using a Tarp

A tarp can make a wonderful shelter. However, a tarp can be very heavy and cumbersome to use. If your tarp doesn’t have grommets, you may have a hard time anchoring it. If you use a tarp, you will need rope or paracord. Rope is also quite heavy and often expensive. If you use paracord, its break strength should be at least 750 pounds.

Mylar/Emergency Tent

A mylar tent is lightweight and easy to use. Because of the mylar material they retain heat, which helps keep you warm. They are also reflective, so they are easy to spot for rescue workers. Depending on the brand and thickness, mylar may be easily torn or punctured. Be sure to check on the strength of your particular tent should you go this route.

TIP: Put a tent up in one room of the house and close off the room. The temperature inside the tent may be up to 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house.