ShelterBox: Emergency Shelters & Tools
Sadly, we’re no strangers to natural disasters, and we’ve been particularly hard-hit by them over the last few weeks. Hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding — the news is full of frightening scenes of people scrambling to safety and searching for their family and friends. Whole towns and neighborhoods have been flattened, and their water supplies and utilities have been ripped out.
ShelterBox tailors its response to every kind of emergency, providing aid that helps families rebuild both their homes and their lives. While the immediate need for shelter, food, and clean water is obviously foremost in any response, the organization stresses that “[it knows] that a home is much more than bricks and mortar or tarpaulin and tent pegs: [its] kits and boxes contain the items that help transform shelter into a home.” This level of investment in the future is empowering, and it gives people hope that they’ll be able to rebuild and recover after a disaster.
“Our sturdy green ShelterBoxes are designed to help people who have lost everything,” the team says. “They are filled with practical tools and utensils that help to create the framework for everyday life. Each contains a family-sized tent that protects people from the elements and provides a safe space in which people can start to recover from physical and emotional trauma.”
Beyond that, the contents differ depending on the type of disaster involved. The local climate is also a factor. In regions that have lost power, you might expect to find solar flashlights in the ShelterBox. Elsewhere, you might find things like water storage and purification equipment, thermal blankets to prevent exposure to cold weather, and cooking utensils so families can start setting up their homes again.
The ShelterBox solar lights can last up to 16 hours on a single charge. They’re also lightweight and capable of floating in water, making them useful in a number of emergency situations. When the immediate danger has passed, it’s important for families to settle back into a daily routine, and they can use these solar lights when they’re cooking meals or when their children want to read and catch up on schoolwork.
The company even offers another option to ensure that education is restored as quickly as possible: the SchoolBox. ShelterBox stuffs these crates with all the supplies a teacher could need to deliver effective lessons. There’s also a wind-up radio in the SchoolBox, so teachers can tune in to educational programs even when there’s no electricity. Use the kit’s chalk and paint to transform flat surfaces into impromptu blackboards.
“Individual activity packs mean that children have something of their own and the resources to express their feelings — at a time when their whole world has been turned upside down,” the ShelterBox designers explain.
The organization also ships out ShelterKits. These packages include tool kits, ropes, fixings, and heavy-duty tarpaulins for constructing emergency shelters, repairing damaged buildings, and laying the foundations for new homes.
“We customize these kits to suit the location and the needs of each community,” says the ShelterBox team. “Sometimes they include corrugated iron to help make resilient roofing, or even room dividers and mattresses to make warehouses habitable — whatever it takes to help people recover from disaster.”
ShelterBox says its kits and boxes are constantly being evaluated based on feedback from the families who use them. “This fuels us to be innovative and to continue evolving.”