#81 K.E.Y. MacGyvering Shelter and Security


12389507_sThis is the last of some basic preparedness suggestions.

I do not wish to belabor the many aspects of preparedness as you can do that research for yourself. Many others have already provided in depth information for you on YouTube and in print.

I do not wish to make it seem as if there is only gloom and doom. In essence a kind of fear porn as it is known today.

However, it is prudent that you know where to begin. So many individuals are woefully unprepared even in their every day living for any disruption.

As stated previously one needs associations, water, food, shelter and security for those items in times of challenge. I have already discussed the first three. Now we will look at shelter and security.

Most preparedness information sites often draw your attention to the idea of being secure with firearms.

I will not suggest that here, though it is an option. For those who are not keen on that form of protection you can utilize alternate strategies. Two I believe can be very effective in many cases are deception or stealth.

First, let’s find some shelter assuming your existing shelter was destroyed for some reason. Or perhaps you find yourself in an area away from your usual shelter.


One of the easiest and effective forms of shelter to construct is in the ground. The ancients, in the most primitive of situations knew that to stay warm or cool, depending on the need, that the Earth itself is a resource.

Approximately 5 feet down the temperature is a constant 50 to 55 degrees almost everywhere on the planet. Some places it is deeper but that depth is a good place to start. The ancient pit house dwellers of the American Southwest and other regions created dwellings at about that depth.

For our purposes we are seeking immediate and easily constructed survival techniques until you can obtain oobetter shelter.

Whether it is in a yard, vacant lot, forest, park or other area … if you can obtain something with which to dig like a shovel you can excavate a fairly big hole for yourself or others to use as an effective and immediate shelter.

If it is just you, I suggest a hole at least as deep as your shoulders when standing in the hole. As wide as your shoulders and an extra foot to each side. Finally as long as your body plus two feet. That is a lot to dig. You don’t have to do it all at once but you should be able to dig that much in a day. Each person you include in the shelter area will need at least that much room as well initially.

You can cover the initial hole with various coverings like wood, branches, tarps, leaves on top of branches even snow on top of some form of framework and tarp or other material. You can do a search on Google with this three word search term: pit house construction and you will see dozens of similar ideas the ancients used and modern survivalists use.

The idea is to create something that resembles this drawing:

pit house idea

It will be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Using the candle style heater you can get it pretty toasty in the winter. There are way too many variations to discuss so I leave that up to you for research. Here are a few on YouTube I found I liked. Of course there are dozens of how to DIY (do it yourself) videos available. These links are not my intellectual property but are believed to be in the public domain and may be referenced in this post under fair use standards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKr806o4wdE      Clay pot candle power heater. No power.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcuSlaecvIw      Clay pot refrigerator with no power.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anGn5_ndShk      Fast simple dugout for short term shelter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILLrsltWa_E      A homeless survival shelter example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTBJJsgUsG8      Survival shelter above ground. Adapt this idea over your underground hole.

Another consideration regarding such a shelter is that it is somewhat easy to hide if covered with material that looks like a pile of trash or even the surrounding areas vegetation. A security feature.

Of course this is a last resort kind of shelter. If would be better if you had a basement or other dwelling to use. Even then though, you need to make it appear that there is nothing of interest in the dwelling to others who might be scavenging.

The idea here is that no matter where you might be, shelter is available, whether it be an abandoned house or the shelter you construct.

Now on to a few security thoughts.

Early on I recommended dried foods as your first priority for storage. Here is one of the reasons why.

They are easy to hide. In the event of an emergency in your area you want to provide for yourself and family first and perhaps a few friends in your association. There will be others who want what you have if it is a long period of emergency. If you are not prepared or able to protect your goods as a warrior then you need to use the alternate strategy of stealth and deception.

In advance of any emergency you can prepare a small space for storage of your dried goods. One such is an out of the way location inside your dwelling that would not be searched. Better is to find a wall area BEHIND some obstruction like a bookshelf, furniture, wall hanging etc… where you can cut out a small part of wall and drop your dried foods in between the wall studs. Not too high up so that you cannot reach in later to retrieve them. You could of course attach strings to the packages for retreival later. In any event, the cut out section is replaced and taped or putty repaired then covered over with the obstructing furniture or other covering. This is step one. Hiding the bulk of your food.

Then leave a few small portions of your emergency supply in a more typical location such as the pantry or other food storage area easily accessed. Anyone who might desire to take what is not theirs will take what is obvious. The hidden supply remaining as your backup.


[Make it appear that your storage place is nearly empty.]

Similar strategy can include what is known as caching. You bury your emergency supplies elsewhere, such as, in your flower garden in the back yard. Again leave a smaller supply inside the dwelling in a usual storage place.

Even if you are prepared with some supplies of one type or another, DON’T talk about them with anyone. Others are already gathering information as you are for future need. People, even friends can do things they would not normally do when panicked and desperate.

When I was part of Red Cross training for hurricane and similar disasters it was made quite clear NOT to wear our Red Cross badges and other clothing in the disaster area so as NOT to become a hostage to desperate people who were once neighbors. People may wrongly assume the person so identified has some special access to food and water etc… You might think people will act civilized … and generally that is true… but not for everyone. Fear changes some people’s priority.

Which leads me to the last suggestion … when in an emergency situation DO NOT appear to have any more than anyone else. If you have a power generator and no one else does … don’t display that fact by using your lights at night. Use it within your associations needs where it can be protected and used by your group protective unit.

If you have supplies stored in a disguised place like the flower garden… DO NOT let anyone observe its recovery.

Ancient strategy of warriors is to make it appear as if you have as little as others so you blend in.

If you can’t protect your goods then make sure one of your association participants is a warrior type with arms to defend you in exchange for your assistance in other areas.

Finally, make sure you have at least one good survival knife in your possession. Don’t skimp. Get a good one like special forces might use. Your outdoor supply shop or Amazon could have what you need at an affordable price.

I know these suggestions are all basic and not everything you might need but, it is a starting place for you if you have no idea where to start.

I hope you never need them.