1. BASIC CRITERIA FOR SHELTER. (WSVX.02.04a) Any type of shelter, whether it is a permanent building, tentage, or a survival shelter must meet six basic criteria to be safe and effective. The goal is you must Prepare For Some Very Hard Days.

a. Protection From the Elements. The shelter must provide protection from rain, snow, wind, sun, etc.

b. Free from Natural Hazards. Shelters should not be built in areas of avalanche hazards, under rock fall or "standing dead" trees, which have the potential to fall on your shelter.

c. Stable. Shelters must be constructed to withstand the pressures exerted by severe weather.

d. Ventilation. Ventilation must be maintained, especially if burning fuel for heat. This prevents the accumulation of carbon monoxide. Ventilation is also needed for carbon dioxide given off when breathing.

e. Heat Retention. It must have some type of insulation to retain heat, thus preventing the waste of fuel.

f. Drying Facility. A drying facility must be constructed to dry wet clothes.

2. NATURAL SHELTERS. Natural shelters require less work or time.

a. Caves or Rock Overhangs. Can be modified by laying walls of rocks, logs or branches across the open sides.

b. Hollow Logs. Can be cleaned or dug out, then enhanced with ponchos, tarps or parachutes hung across the openings.

c. Hazards of Natural Shelters. (WSVX.02.04b)

(1) Animals. Natural shelters may already be inhabited (i.e. bears, coyotes, lions, rats, snakes, etc.). Other concerns from animals may be disease from scat or decaying carcasses.

(2) Lack of Ventilation. Natural shelters may not have adequate ventilation. Fires may be built inside for heating or cooking but may be uncomfortable or even dangerous because of the smoke build up.

(3) Gas Pockets. Many caves in a mountainous region may have natural gas pockets in them.

(4) Instability. Natural shelters may appear stable, but in reality may be a trap waiting to collapse.

a. Considerations.

(2) A low silhouette and reduced living area will improve heat retention.

(3) Avoid exposed hilltops, valley floors, moist ground, and avalanche paths.

(4) Create a thermal shelter by applying snow, if available, to roof and sides of shelter.

(5) Locate in vicinity of fire wood, water, and signaling, if necessary.

(6) How much time and effort is needed to build the shelter?

(7) Can the shelter adequately protect you from the elements?

(8) When in a tactical environment, you must consider the following:

(a) Provide concealment from enemy observation.

(b) Plan escape routes.

b. Snow Wall. The snow wall is an extremely expedient shelter for one or two men. This shelter is constructed when the elements will not afford time to construct a better shelter.

(1) Basic principles for construction.

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