What do I need to know about Sheltering in Place?

Shelter in place in your own backyard

Shelter in Place

Many people hear the word ‘emergency’ and immediately assume evacuation, but according to first responders and emergency preparedness specialists evacuation is rarely the best route.

Unless instructed to do otherwise, or there is obvious threat to your property (an incoming fire or tsunami for example) then stay home! It’s where all your good stuff is.

Reception centers, roadways, and public meeting places are likely to be crowded with people who may be desperate. Supplies are usually very limited in these places so having your own stores in a familiar place will hugely impact your chances of riding out the disaster in relative comfort and safety.

For many emergencies and rural locations a minimum of 1 week of supplies is recommended for Sheltering in Place. Be prepared to camp out in your yard if the house is unstable/inaccessible.

I have a Bug Out Bag, do I need a Shelter in Place Kit?

Great question! Due to the extended nature of Shelter in Place kits they are often not a portable option.  If an evacuation order is given, or you otherwise need to flee your home, it is ideal to have a kit designed for ‘grab and go’ at the ready.  A good way to combine kits is to incorporate backpacks into your Shelter in Place kit. Include the first 72 hours of supplies for your Shelter in Place kit inside the backpacks so you can move quickly when needed.

Where should I store my Shelter in Place Kit?

This is one of the questions we receive most, and the answer is different for everyone. In general you want to keep your kit somewhere that is secure from pests but easy to access if you need it in a hurry. Popular choices include storing kits inside a vehicle or motor home, in a hall closet near the main exit, at the front of the garage, or in pest-proof containers in a shed. If you don’t have a good location to store your kit don’t despair! In most emergency scenarios you will have the time to grab it, or be able to get to it post-emergency with a little elbow grease.

I don’t have time to put a kit together.

Gathering all the items for a kit can be arduous and daunting, so Total Prepare has done the work for you! Recently revamped, our one and two week kits contain items to cover all eight areas of preparedness. These kits are designed for 2 or 4 people, and plan for a minimum of 4 liters of water per person, per day.

These kits contain Legacy Freeze Dried Food; complete entrée and breakfast meals with a whopping 25 year shelf life! Portable toilet options cover the other end of the cycle, and blankets, ponchos, first aid supplies, and other items will take care of everything in between!

I want to build my own kit, what would you recommend?

Everyone’s kits will be different, tailored to fit your family, lifestyle, and needs. Below, we’ve compiled a list of what we would consider a very comprehensive Shelter in Place kit, but don’t be overwhelmed! These items are only suggestions, and are a good place to get inspired. Not every item will be right for every household, so use your best judgement to create a kit that’s best for you.

Not sure if an item will work for you, or wondering why you might need something? Just want a second opinion on your kit? No problem! Just phone or email our friendly staff and we’ll be happy to talk things over with you.

Suggested Shelter in Place Kit Contents

  1. Potable Water – 4 Litres per person per day.
    1. Store as much water as possible.
    2. If space is short, consider using purification and filtration options.
  2. Food – Aim for 2000 calories per person each day, with a bare minimum of 1200. Long shelf life options are ideal.
  3. Cooking surface/stove and extra fuel. – Noncombustible options are preferable if storing for long periods, or in hot locations.
  4. Cooking/serving equipment.
  5. Fire Starter – At least two methods. Practice with them if the method is unfamiliar (eg flint and steel)
  6. First Aid Kit – Match the skill level of the household.
  7. Solar or Crank Emergency Radio
  8. Solar or Crank Flashlights
  9. Solar or Crank Lantern
  10. A corded land line or method of charging a cell phone.
  11. Sleeping Bag/blankets
  12. Insulation from Ground – Sleeping mat/emergency blanket
  13. Tent & Tarps
  14. Light Sticks
  15. Alcohol based hand sanitizer – doubles as a fire accelerant.
  16. Heavy duty garbage bags
  17. Outdoor lidded garbage cans
  18. Paper towels / toilet paper
  19. Power Generator – Solar is ideal for preparedness
  20. Playing Cards / Versatile Games
  21. A Book or Magazine
  22. Mementos/Comfort Items – Use your ‘important documents’ USB stick for family photos too!
  23. Tool for turning off gas/water lines – Only turn off your gas if directed.
  24. Changes of clothes – pack for different types of weather
  25. Rain Gear – Even a lightweight plastic poncho makes a BIG difference.
  26. Duct Tape
  27. Knife – For cutting rope, shaving kindling, etc.
  28. Multi-tool/Army Knife
  29. Work Gloves
  30. N95 Dust Masks
  31. Toilet Set / Folding Toilet
  32. Scrubba – A modern day laundry washboard. Doubles as a dry bag.

Assess your needs and ensure that you have at least one thing to cover each area of preparedness. Once that’s done you’ll have a great base kit to work from or add to over time using the above list for guidance. Want to learn more about survival kits in general? We’ve written about that here.

The 8 Areas of Preparedness are: Water, Food, Light, Communication, Shelter, Heat, First Aid, and Sanitation.

Thank you for reading! If this article helped you, or if you feel we missed something, let us know in the comments below!

-Written by Zenia Platten

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