Things have moved on a lot in the field of disaster relief. Gone are the days of just needing a first aid kit until the ambulance turned up. Paramedics and safety officials are expected to act very quickly in the first few minutes of something going wrong and so they need a lot more equipment. Top of the list is a disaster shelter. These can save lives and most ambulances now carry one as standard. They act as a temporary shelter while first aid is administered and it helps to protect the victim from the elements while they wait for help.
When Are They Used?
Temporary shelters have been used in earthquakes, house fires, road traffic accidents and even murders. They provide immediate shelter, and are great for providing privacy for the victim and the people working to save them. When people are displaced, for instance when a house is lost to an earthquake, a temporary canopy acts as a short-term house while things are getting sorted out for them. They are also very good for using when dealing with hazardous chemicals.
In times of widespread disaster for example a tsunami or a wild fire it is not uncommon to see hundreds of these shelters occupied by survivors of the disaster – once they have been treated they can be left to convalesce in the shelter while the emergency workers keep looking for victims.
How Are They Made?
Temporary relief shelters are lightweight and easy enough to put up and take down very quickly. They fold down into a small package and are easily stored in the back of an ambulance or car. They are made from weather-resistant material which is sometimes UV resistant if it is to be used in hot climates. They can have detachable side panels so can be adapted for many different uses. The legs are usually made from reinforced plastic, galvanised steel or anodised aluminium and they are robust and can last for a long time. They can be easily equipped with basic medical supplies and sometimes oxygen and food supplies.
They are usually of modular structure which means lots of small shelters can be joined together to make one big one – offering plenty of versatility to suit every eventuality.
What’s the Future?
Volunteers, paramedics and nurses are calling for more and more of these temporary shelters to become available for their needs. They appreciate being able to work under shelter and in privacy – when they are the first to the scene of an accident or natural disaster they need all the back up and support possible. The future of disaster relief seems to be heading towards more and more of these canopies being available.
The versatility, durability and reliability of temporary canvas shelters mean they are becoming more and more depended upon in times of disaster. They offer a tiny bit of comfort in an otherwise terrible atmosphere and their presence at disasters is certainly linked with an increased number of survivors. And anything that means less loss of life has to be a good way forward.
Clark Douglas, the author of this post, works for MDM Products LLC whichsells rhino shelters and instant garages. He enjoys blogging about his work and life experiences.