No. 958



To say that we live in perilous times would be the understatement of the century. Of course this century is not very old. I thought of this when I decided to write a column about a fantastic concept that more of us, not just in these United States but all across the world, need to consider. The concept involves being prepared for a natural or man-made disaster.
Because of climate change, wars, national and local disasters and, God-forbid, a nuclear attack at some time in the future, we need to make plans now and not after the event has taken place. Some forward-thinking people in the United Kingdom have an organization called “Shelter Box.” The Web site is
They have organizations in 20 countries and you can see each one on their Web site by clicking on the nation’s flag. ShelterBoxes are provided by service clubs, Rotary Clubs, school and church groups, businesses and individuals throughout the USA and around the world. Materials are ordered from a range of suppliers selected for general use, long life, quality and price. ShelterBoxes are prepared and packed using all new materials as delivered from manufacturers, at the ShelterBox international warehouse based in Helston, Cornwall, UK.
The standard ShelterBox weighs 120 pounds and has approximate dimensions of 33 inches by 24 inches by 22 inches. They are sealed and banded for transit and security. Box contents vary depending on the nature of the disaster requiring their use. When I saw the literature on the ShelterBox, I could not believe they could pack the variety and amount of material in a box this size. I won’t have the space to describe it in a lot of detail but you will have the picture when I finish, plus the fact, depending on where you live, this can also be assembled by an individual or family for emergencies that may arise.
As suspected, first comes the shelter in the form of a disaster relief tent for an extended family. It is custom made by Vango, one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers, and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall. Internally each tent has privacy partitions that allow recipients to divide the space as they see fit. For warmth and protection, there are thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets. Where malaria is prevalent, mosquito nets are supplied, as well as life-saving means of water purification that can provide a typical family up to three years’ worth of clean and safe water.
There is also equipment for self-sufficiency that includes a basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters. This will definitely come in handy when victims are forced to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave. Of course, the ShelterBox itself is lightweight, waterproof and has been used for a variety of purposes in the past -- from water and food storage to a cot for a newborn baby. Also includes is either a wood burning or multi-level stove. The multi-level stove can burn anything from diesel to old paint.
Some boxes have the specially designed wood burning Frontier Stove. This provides the heat of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers. There is also a children’s pack containing drawing books, crayons and other supplies. The ShelterBox people also keep a broad range of equipment in stock so they can adapt the contents of a box to a specific disaster.
Following the Javanese earthquake in 2006, when some resources were available locally or could be salvaged from buildings, the overwhelming need was for water and shelter so they just sent tents, packing two in each box. What a great organization. Please check it out as God only knows when we might need them.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)