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Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 4: Creating a Makeshift Shelter

Sometimes, you don’t have the option to leave where you’re at, and go to a community shelter to ride out a major storm such as a hurricane.

If you’re at work, it’s your shift. You’ll need to stay put. You may need to put in two or three straight shifts, or more. Teammates may not be able to make it in to work. Also, you may need to stay longer to help secure the property so that others – eg. hotel guests – will be safe.

If you’re at the home of a friend or relative, you may need to stay and help secure the place in case the storm hits there. You may need to take responsibility for their welfare and safety.

If you’re at home, you may or may not be able to vacate, and go to a shelter.

So, how do you create a makeshift shelter wherever you’re at? How do you protect yourself, and possibly others for whom you may be responsible? The following tips are based on preparing a temporary shelter in your home. But, they can be applied almost anywhere.

1. Be realistic. Your time and resources are probably limited. Don’t tackle more than you can handle.
2. Select a spot that will offer you the most protection. HINT: Windowless room or space in middle of structure, preferably first floor, sustaining wall. Examples: Closet, bathroom, small bedroom, pantry.
3. Remove everything from the space that might take wing in the big wind.
Examples: Bath scale, hamper, decorative hangings, cups/glasses, furniture.
4. Empty the room so that you can maximize the space. Put smaller items in heavy-duty trash bags. Securely tie shut. Place outside of your “shelter” area.
5. Move large pieces outside of area’s entry. TIP: Use them to help form a barricade around your shelter space. Examples: Oak chest, upholstered chair, table.
6. Inside “shelter” space, select the SPOT where you will actually sit it out.
7.Over that SPOT, lay large, heavy-duty trash bags. On top, place 1 or 2 large comforters. Add for each person: 1 zip-out sleeping bag or 2 blankets, 1 bed pillow/ double-cased, 2 bedsheets. Add: flashlights with fresh batteries, also 2 bottled waters per person.
8. If “shelter” space is a bathroom, set closed 1-to-5 gallon containers of water close to toilet for flushing. TIP: At least 10 gallons. You don’t know how long you will be in this space. Supply with toilet paper, moist wipes, handy-wipes, hand sanitizer; bottled waters.
9. If “shelter” space is NOT a bathroom, turn nearby spot/corner into a lavatory area. “Equip” with one or two, 5-gallon buckets or a large, heavy storage container – all with tight-fitting lids. “Supply” with package toilet paper, pack moist wipes, cylinder handy-wipes, heavy-duty trash bag, tall kitchen garbage bag; bottled waters (for drinking).
10. Fill a small plastic storage container with toiletry and hygiene aids. Secure lid. Place next to spot where you will sit. Suggested items: 2-3 packs moist wipes, First-Aid kit, 2 rolls toilet paper, 1 roll paper towels, 1 tube toothpaste, 1 toothbrush per person, 1 small or medium sized bottle mouthwash.
11. Put foods and healthy snacks that do not need preparation or cooling into another container. Close with tight lid. Place this container near “shelter” spot. Include: can opener, pack of foam or plastic plates or bowls, cups; plastic eating utensils (forks, spoons, knives); roll of paper towels.
12. Within easy reach, set large cooler/insulated container. Last minute, place freeze packs plus foods that need to stay cold. TIP: Limit items, their size and quantity to prevent spoilage, and possible poisoning. Suggested: Foods you can eat or drink from their disposable containers.
13. Within easy reach, set 1 or more cases of bottled water.
14. Within easy reach, place plastic container with “time fillers” inside. Examples: ballpoint pens, box crayolas/colored markers; puzzle booklets, activity books, “finger” puzzles (eg. Rubic Cube, Eboi); box playing cards, small game, 2 notebooks, small all-band radio/fresh batteries; extra packages of batteries, 2-3 paperback books, devotional book, your smaller Bible.

IMPORTANT TIP: Try to set up this entire area so it’s relatively safe and comfortable, also easy to keep clean, hygienic and dry.

See: Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 5: Packing for Riding Out Storm.

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Any potential major disaster needs to be respected, and taken seriously.
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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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