Emergency Preparedness – Using a Vehicle for Shelter

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,301
    Wilderness expert Tim MacWelch discusses emergency preparedness tips including how to use a vehicle for shelter.

    Tim MacWelch: Hi, I am Tim MacWelch of Earth Connection School of Wilderness Survival and Ancient Skills near Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is our video clip series on emergency preparedness. In this first clip, we are going to talk about the fact that your vehicle is a shelter. So let's say, we have gotten stuck in the middle of nowhere and we are not going to get home tonight. Our vehicle is a waterproof, windproof shelter, no matter where we go. So we can get in here and get out of the bad elements. The only problem in winter time is the cold. The only problem in summer time is intense heat.

    Now in the winter time we are going to have to add insulation to this vehicle to make it warm. So this would be things like blankets, sleeping bags, whatever you have that can create a dead air space around your body. So one thing we would want for shelter would be a blanket. This one comes in this roadside emergency kit. It's a little thin, but it will keep you warm in cool weather, not super-cold but it does have a great color, it's red. This would be a great signal for help. We could even cut off little strips of it to make signals or even mark a trail so that we could find our vehicle again if we wandered out and so other people could find us. Another element of shelter is the sleeping bag. You want to have one of these for every person that could be in your vehicle. It's a nice thick, fluffy sleeping bag to keep you warm for the coldest weather that you think you are going to encounter in your region. If you are going out of your region to a colder area, get an even colder sleeping bag. You want to have something for every seat in your car because that means you could have a car full of people and maybe only one sleeping bag if you only have one in the car. So you want to have something for the maximum number of passenger sits you would have in that vehicle. So other shelter ideas for that car beside the blankets and sleeping bags would be the fact that you can actually fill up a car with leaves, ferns, Pine needles, grasses any type of vegetation and it's going to be a mess cleaning it out later but it could save your life. By filling the car with all these insulated materials, you have essentially turn this into a large nest or a large leaf hut and all that dead air space provided by those dead materials will keep you warm just off of your own body heat. So that's something that we could do as a last ditch effort if the vehicle got too cold in the winter time.

    Now in hot weather, the vehicle can become a liability if we stay inside of it because it can get extremely hot in the car. So we still have the car in hot weather as an element of shelter by getting underneath of the car. Underneath of the car it's shadier there we are not worried about the greenhouse affect of all the sunlight through the glass. So we could sleep in the car when it cools off at night and then actually, rest under the car in the shade during the day time. One of the thing we can do to enhance the comfort of any kind of shelter would be have a fire a safe distance away from it, at least ten feet away from any type of shelter; be that a hut made of leaves or a tent or a car. So we could actually keep elements for making a fire in the car just for emergencies, just for safety and build a campfire at least ten feet away from the car. In this case, we could build the fire behind the car, at least ten feet away from it. This will keep the rain off of us and it will act as a reflector to catch a little bit of the heat from the fire and directed inside. Now that only keeps you warm while the fire is burning and you would have to constantly tend it and add fire with too it. But it's a little bit of comfort when you are a long way from home. Now in our next clip, we are going to talk about the fact that your vehicle is a store house.