We are gaining considerable ground in our fight against natural disasters. However, on the other hand, by destroying the environment we are also provoking brand new disasters. Because of this, now more than ever, it is important that we focus our efforts on disaster relief strategies. Many disasters like hurricanes are easy to predict. Nevertheless, in the case of many others, we only become aware of the disaster once it has taken place. Therefore, in such disasters, it is extremely important that we provide some sort of refuge to each person who is suffering from it. In this article, along with ‘Small Shelter‘ we have mentioned four such disaster shelters that could be helpful to people during times of peril.
Small Shelter for instant refuge
This emergency housing provides safe shelter or refuge, other than food and medication, to people during emergencies. It effectively does one of the essential tasks for management and aid workers. A brainchild of Costa Rican designer Arlette Calvo the “Small Shelter” is a temporary installation for the crisis. It helps in rescuing the victims. This shelter comprises of four modules which unite at the center to form a communal space for social interaction.
Furthermore, the Shelter consists of a canvas with thermal insulation and a galvanized steel structure. Whenever you need, you can place the modules separately, each offering adequate space for two people.
Some more disaster shelters that offer refuge during an emergency
1. Survival Rooms
The project, called Survival Rooms, basically takes the concept of a panic room. It tries to implement it on a large scale. With units of the size of a regular shipping container inside an enclosed capsule, the project derives inspiration from use of independent emergency life support systems. In fact, it would be strong enough to protect people in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
The Survivor Room concept may bear an uncanny resemblance to the concept made famous by the story of Mr. Noah and His Legendary Ark, but the project has sound foundations to be built. The unit consists of a reinforced steel frame with insulated bi-steel walls. These could protect people from turbulent weather and possibly from the bomb and nuclear-radiation threats.
The 40 x 8 x 8 units have emergency lighting and life support system which automatically turn on once you shut and seal the door. A state-of-the-art atmosphere control system allows generation of oxygen through the controlled release of compressed air from an oxygen bank located around the perimeter of the unit. In case the unit needs to stay sealed for periods longer than a few weeks, oxygen can also be generated via electrolysis of water.
A CO2 scrubber fitted with a one-way exhaust system would allow a chemical absorbent to filter carbon dioxide from the atmosphere inside and will expel it from the unit. A specialized atmospheric monitoring system would further analyze the air quality by checking levels of gases like oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide etc, and would remove harmful gases periodically.
An onboard computer would transmit an emergency signal once you seal the capsule. Furthermore, it can also communicate with the main monitoring station or other agencies. A manual override, a live emergency communication channel and cameras on the outer walls of the unit, allow the inhabitants to survey the outside environment.
Each unit is wheel-chair accessible and has comfortable seating for seventy people (adults and children). You can the seats according to an individual’s height with protective gears like the headrest and seat bar.
At times of emergency
The main protective area that will house the inhabitants is within a cylindrical tube. It is there at the heart of the unit with an anti-rolling mechanism. This ensures that the people inside remain right side up even if the container itself topples over or rolls. The units are capable of carrying enough food and water for up to a week. Although with just one toilet and one hand basin on board, hygiene may become an issue after a point.
You can transport the unit anywhere. Furthermore, it can also be attached to the ground or merged in existing buildings, or even simply docked at a temporary location to serve as a part of a disaster relief mission.
2. Temp-pack backpack tent
Intended toward disaster victims, the “Temp-pack” by Asher Dunn is a shelter cum cart that folds into a portable backpack for quick and easy transportation. Comprising two pieces, the body and the door, made in recycled plastic, the portable shelter folds open and snaps the door into a right angle to create a dolly. Featuring two straps, with elastic core, to be used as bungee cords, the backpack straps other items either onto the dolly or in front of the shelter when the door is closed. The backpack also includes a handle that extends upwards to roll it on two wheels, while hooks on either side of the handle add more storage options to the unit.
A compartment behind the expendable handle keeps the shelter intact. Made of waterproof fabric, the shelter includes a spring steel wire frame to maintain a freestanding tent structure and extend outward up to seven feet, resting the occupant in comfort. Users may simply push one end of the tent to fold it safely within the backpack.
3. Emergency housing system
Witnessing some of the devastating natural calamities in the recent past, the need for quick rescue and relief equipments has been felt more than ever before. Addressing the issue, designer Peter Anthony has developed a collapsible, lightweight mobile platform that allows an instant shelter to victims during the adversity. Made of waterproof composite material, the self-contained shelter measures 8′ x 8′ x 8′ in dimensions and weighs just less than 200 pounds (90.7 kg). The emergency housing system folds flat for easy transportation that the users can assemble effortlessly, with a single spanner, in just 30 minutes. Featuring aluminum edge extrusions to strength the weight ratio, the portable housing concept can adapt to different circumstances and allow instant shelter within no time.
4. Air Drop House
Designer Andrew Maynard has planned an interesting Air Drop House to rehabilitate people left displaced due to natural calamities such as devastating floods. The practical solution to emergency housing puts standard weapon delivery infrastructure to good use such as the helicopters instead of imported manpower to air-drop the kits. Each kit is 1m in diameter, and soaks water like a sponge when dropped. The kit expands to full 7 meters in diameter and then dragged to dry surface.
Upon drying, the house gets hardened, offering durability and performance. The lightweight pod made from foam polymer can be dragged by the locals to be set up at a location of their choice. The kit is also embedded with seeds which sprout once they take to silt rich waters thereby transforming into vital food producing units. Interestingly the house if left uninhabited slowly decays to become a fertile crop bed.