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If you’ve ever watched the TV show, Naked and Afraid, you know how important it is to get the shelter up, build a fire and find a source of food and water. While you most likely won’t have your emergency occur in an exotic location or while you’re totally without clothing or access to clothing, getting a shelter to protect yourself from the elements is a top priority, even before food and water. That’s because most emergency situations don’t require a long-term solution, but just one for a day or two.
Personal emergencies, such as getting lost skiing before a storm or a major natural disaster can make the difference between surviving and perishing, particularly if the weather is extreme. Weather that’s too hot requires shelter from the sun, while frigid and damp weather warrants protection from the cold.
If you’re lost in the woods and a violent rain storm suddenly looms on the horizon or a heavy shower of snow starts to fall, it’s an absolute priority to create a shelter. It protects you from the elements and helps keep you comfortable until help arrives or you can make your way to a more permanent location. You need a place to rest and the shelter provides that. Harsh weather can take its toll in just a few hours, so rather than continue toward your destination, setting up a temporary shelter to make it through the storm is important.
After a natural disaster, many people will be homeless. If you don’t have a public shelter close at hand and must walk a distance, an emergency shelter will keep you warm at night, while also providing a private area for elimination if you have a container. Having shelter in a major disaster can keep you alive until help arrives.
When creating an emergency shelter, it’s all about location. If you’re lost and know there will be a search, make your shelter as obvious as you can. However, if you’re heading for a bugout location or escaping the confines of the city because of a social collapse, you’ll need a shelter that hides you from view.
Your shelter should be on dry, well-drained ground that’s free of rocks and close to water. It should have plenty of material available if you’re building a fire, as well as available material for the shelter if you don’t have a tarp and other supplies. Wind and rain are just two of the enemies you face in the open. Your shelter should provide you with protection from both. Once you get wet, you’ll get cold faster. Keep your shelter on higher ground to avoid dampness, but not so high that you’ll be plagued by winds.