US 20070251159 A1
A portable survival shelter that includes a body having a generally elongated shape and a protective outer shell structure, a sealable entrance on the top of the body, and a base upon which the body is formed. The body defines a sealable survival chamber that is large enough to hold one or more persons and strong enough to withstand the impact of falling tree limbs, flying debris, or the like. The shelter is preferably configured with ballast to float in water in an upright orientation and constructed with an exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags. The shelter is preferably of a size that fits within a conventional automobile garage, and preferably incorporates forklift pockets for moving the shelter from place to place with a forklift or recessed pad eyes for lifting the shelter with a crane or helicopter.
1. An escape and survival shelter, comprising:
(a) a body having a length, a lesser width, a height, a top, a pair of opposite ends, and a base, said body including a protective outer shell structure and defining a sealable survival chamber capable of protectably sheltering a plurality of persons for a limited time;
(b) a sealable entrance communicating with said survival chamber and located on said top of said body; and
(c) seating for said plurality of persons within said survival chamber, said outer shell structure being constructed to be resistant to damage from falling debris, and said base being constructed to support said survival chamber stably on a substantially flat and horizontal surface with said body in an upright orientation.
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27. A protective shelter, comprising:
(a) a body having a length, a lesser width, a height, a top, a pair of opposite ends, and a base, said body including a protective outer shell structure and defining a sealable survival chamber capable of providing protection from falling debris to a human occupant of said shelter, yet being light enough that said shelter is buoyant in water; and
(b) a quantity of ballast within said base sufficient to keep the shelter in an upright orientation when said shelter is floating in water.
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32. A protective shelter, comprising:
(a) a body having a length, a lesser width, a height, a top, a pair of opposite ends, and a base, said body including a protective outer shell structure and defining a sealable survival chamber capable of providing protection from falling debris to said one or more persons within said shelter;
(b) a quantity of ballast within said base sufficient to keep said shelter in an upright orientation when said shelter is occupied and floating in water;
(c) a generally smooth exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags; and
(d) forklift pockets within said base and sized and positioned to receive the load handling tines of a forklift truck for moving said shelter from place to place, wherein said body is of a size that fits within a conventional residential garage stall for an automobile and can be moved into said stall through a conventional residential garage doorway.
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The present invention relates to a survival shelter. More particularly, the present invention relates to a survival shelter for providing one or more persons refuge from hazardous conditions such as flooding, falling debris, and the like.
Notorious natural disasters have underscored the need for improved sheltering. For example, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Asian Tsunami or Boxing Day Tsunami, was an undersea earthquake measuring between 9.1 and 9.3 (Richter scale) that occurred on Dec. 26, 2004. The resulting tsunami devastated the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South India, Thailand, and other countries with waves up to 100 feet, claiming over 180,000 lives and leaving another 42,000 missing. Also, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the U.S. Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, and Sep. 24, 2005, respectively, causing severe damage from flooding due to a two-story storm surge, powerful winds, and heavy rains. More than 200,000 people were displaced by the hurricanes and dispersed to shelters in 18 states.
Taking shelter is critical in times of disaster. Sheltering is needed when conditions require that the person seek protection in a home, place of employment, or other nearby location when disaster strikes. However, different kinds of shelters are recommended depending upon the particular hazard. For a tornado, shelter in a lower level or basement room or an interior room away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls is recommended. In contrast, for flash floods or flooding, movement to higher ground is necessary. In the event of a hurricane, shelter from high winds, flying or falling debris, and flooding is needed.
Some consider building a safe room to provide a space for surviving a tornado or hurricane. The recommended safe room includes structural members anchored securely to the ground and strong enough to remain intact during the strongest winds. Moreover, the structure must resist penetration by high velocity airborne debris. However, a safe room is a structure built in a fixed location and is typically designed only for those hazardous conditions deemed likely to occur in the particular geographic area.
Easily moveable survival shelters designed for residential use are needed. A portable survival shelter should be designed to protect a sheltered occupant from a variety of hazardous conditions such as high winds, flying or falling debris, severe flooding, contaminated or unbreathable air, etc. However, existing shelter designs need considerable adaptation and redesign for such use. That is, prior shelter designs do not provide adequate portability or sufficient capabilities to provide effective shelter in a wide variety of situations.
What is needed, therefore, is a survival shelter with improved portability and capabilities for use in a wide variety of hazardous situations such as, for example, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, fires, and bio-chemical accidents.
The present invention overcomes the shortcomings of prior art disaster and survival shelters by providing a shelter with improved portability and capabilities for use in a wide variety of hazardous situations such as, for example, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, fires, and bio-chemical accidents instead of prior art shelters which are generally designed for only a particular type of hazardous situation. The shelter disclosed herein provides several features alone or in combination that are unavailable in prior designs, as defined by the appended claims.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a portable survival shelter includes a body having a generally elongated shape and a protective outer shell structure, a sealable entrance on the top of the body, and a base upon which the body is formed. The body defines a sealable survival chamber that is large enough to hold one or more persons and is strong enough to withstand the impact of falling tree limbs, flying debris, or the like. The survival shelter is particularly well suited for protecting one or more occupants from life threatening flood waters that may be associated with, for example, a storm surge or a tsunami.
In a preferred embodiment, the shelter is configured with ballast to float in water in an upright orientation and is constructed with an exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags so that the shelter more easily avoids becoming caught up in, for example, storm debris, and so that the shelter may be retrieved more easily by search and rescue personnel.
In a preferred embodiment, the shelter is of a size that fits within a conventional automobile garage.
In another embodiment, the shelter includes at least a pair of forklift pockets for moving the shelter from place to place with a forklift.
In yet another embodiment, the shelter includes recessed pad eyes for lifting the shelter with a crane or helicopter.
In various other embodiments, the shelter includes many other features such as communications devices, seating with restraints, various storage compartments, a safe, extra compressed oxygen, batteries and inverter devices, air vents, and other equipment and supplies.
The foregoing and other objectives, features, and advantages of the invention will be more readily understood upon consideration of the following detailed description of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention, the drawings herein illustrate examples of the invention. The drawings, however, do not limit the scope of the invention. Similar references in the drawings indicate similar elements.
In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, those skilled in the art will understand that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details, that the present invention is not limited to the depicted embodiments, and that the present invention may be practiced in a variety of alternative embodiments. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, and systems have not been described in detail.
Turning now to the drawings,
The survival shelter 100 is preferably designed for quick and easy access, and, in particular, to accommodate between one and twenty people for short term survival of disasters or emergency situations such as tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, bio-chemical accidents (or terrorist attacks), intruders or other breaches in security, fires, tornadoes, and so on. In a preferred embodiment, the survival shelter 100 may provide shelter for up to several hours or, depending upon supplies and provisions, up to two days or longer. In one embodiment, an optimal maximum number of occupants for rapid closure of the hatch 110 may be six. For example, the optimal maximum number of occupants may be eight in a situation where the shelter 100 is located at a particular home and is intended to be held available for the residents of the particular home.
The survival shelter 100 is preferably between four feet and twenty feet in length 117 (shown in
To improve portability, a preferred embodiment of the survival shelter 100 includes at least one pair of forklift pockets 120 formed within the base 115. The forklift pockets 120 are capable of receiving the load handling tines of a lift truck so that the lift truck is able to lift the survival shelter 100 for moving it from place to place. The base 115 preferably includes at least one pair of forklift pockets 120 oriented along each of the two opposite sides 122 and at least another pair along each of the two opposite ends 124 of the base 115 to allow access to the forklift pockets 120 from each of the two sides 122 and two ends 124. Each of the forklift pockets 120 may include a hole 125 for fastening the base 115 to a footing, for example, in earthquake or tornado prone locations. Alternatively, the shelter 100 may be left free-standing, for example, in locations which may be susceptible to tsunamis, storm surge, or flooding, to permit it to float to safety.
The water-tight and air-tight hatch 110 on the top of the body 105, as shown, in
In a preferred embodiment, the shelter 100 includes at least one pad eye 140, which may be of the recessed hinged type as shown. Alternatively, the pad eye 140 is a recessed but fixed type (not shown), recessed inward deeply enough so as not to protrude outward beyond the smooth surface of the body 105. In other embodiments, the pad eye 140 may be of a standard non-recessed type. However, in a preferred embodiment, the shelter 100 includes a plurality of recessed pad eyes 140, each one capable of being used for hoisting or pulling the shelter 100 as needed. Also in a preferred embodiment, at least two pad eyes 140 are located on the top of the body 105 and capable of being used to lift the survival shelter 100 by crane or helicopter.
In a preferred embodiment, the protective outer shell of the body 105 is made of welded plate metal and engineered to survive expected risks. In one embodiment, the protective outer shell of the body 105 is made of welded plate metal and engineered to withstand exterior forces of at least 500 psi. The outer shell may be constructed of ¼ inch plate steel, a suitable thickness of plate aluminum, or a suitable thickness of another material capable of providing enough strength to withstand, for example, falling building debris from the collapse of a residential or other building structure or flying debris as would arise in a tornado or hurricane. Even though the survival shelter 100 may weigh between 3000 and 4000 pounds, it is preferably buoyant in water and will float in an upright orientation whether unoccupied or occupied by not more than a predetermined number of persons. Preferably, no more than 85% and no less than 60% of the shelter's 100 volume is submerged when floating in water.
In a preferred embodiment, the body 105 of the survival shelter 100 has a generally smooth exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags to reduce the likelihood of getting caught when floating. As shown in
The exterior surface of the survival shelter 100 may be a very bright fluorescent color such as bright orange or yellow, or another color that is highly visible so as to be easily spotted from an aircraft flying above the survival shelter 100. In addition, the exterior surface of the survival shelter 100 may be stamped with the names, blood types, and other important medical or pertinent information of the planned or expected occupants of the survival shelter 100.
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Just as each seat bottom 222 may be folded up, as shown with one of the seats 205, each seat back 221 folds forward as shown in broken line to expose storage space 235 between each seat back 221 and the respective side 215 or 186. That is, each of the seats preferably includes a releasably fastened, forwardly moveable backrest portion 221, and the survival shelter 100 preferably includes a stowage compartment located behind the moveable backrest.
According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, ballast 240 is included in the lower portion or base 115 of the survival shelter 100, below a floor plate 245 extending horizontally above the base 115 of the survival shelter 100 and forming a water-tight boundary for the survival chamber or sealable occupant space within the survival shelter 100. The ballast 240 located in the base 115 is for stabilizing the survival chamber in a floating condition and is preferably of sufficient mass to keep the shelter 100 in an upright orientation when the shelter 100 is floating in water. In a preferred embodiment, no more than 85% and no less than 60% of the shelter's 100 volume is submerged when floating in water. The ballast 240 may comprise cast lead or iron, cast concrete, or another suitably dense material.
The survival shelter 100 may include a plurality of hand holds 250 fixedly mounted within the survival chamber. A safe or securely closeable protective storage compartment 255 may be included in the survival shelter 100. The safe 255 may comprise a lockable compartment in one of the end portions of the survival shelter 100, where the end portion includes a truncated pyramidal portion protruding endwise.
The generally tapered or sloped shape of the survival shelter 100 preferably has a narrow horizontal top 189 and a pair of opposite sides (left side 215 and right side 186), each of the opposite sides having respective upper and lower side portions (upper left side 265, lower left side 270, upper right side 275, and lower right side 280) sloping outwardly respectively from the top 189 and the base 115 toward a wider middle portion of the survival shelter 100. Each of the opposite sides 215 and 186 of the survival shelter 100 preferably includes a respective middle height portion 282, 284 extending longitudinally, each of the middle height portions being oriented generally upright and extending from the respective upper side portion to the respective lower side portion of the survival shelter 100.
The survival shelter 100 may include a television receiver and radio communications station 285 (which may also include monitors and controls for other equipment, such as video camera 160). The air intake vent 180 and air exhaust vent 185 are positioned, according to one embodiment, where intake air is brought into the survival shelter 100 using the lower positioned air intake 180, and air is exhausted out through the higher positioned exhaust vent 185. The periscope or video camera 160 may be a push-up/pull-down type device. In addition, the survival shelter 100 may include insulation and padding 290 throughout the interior for resistance to heat (using the shelter 100 as a refuge from fire) and protection from shock and vibration due to, for example, falling building debris or trees. The shelter 100 may also include a folding ladder 295 to facilitate safe entry into and exit from the interior space of the survival shelter 100.
As shown in
Lights 325 are preferably included within the survival shelter 100, with electrical power supplied from one or the other of a first set of batteries 330 with an associated first inverter 335 or a second set of batteries 340 with its associated second inverter 345. Power consumption may be divided, for example, with certain loads (such as a portion of the interior lights 325 and television and radio equipment 285) being supplied electrical power from the first set of batteries 330 and other loads being supplied from the second set of batteries 340. One or switchably both of the first and second inverters may be connected to the exterior electrical receptacle 190, as shown in
A bilge pump 350 may be incorporated within the base 115 below the floor plate 245 between any of the forklift pockets 120 or quantities of ballast 240 for removing water accumulated within the base 115. The bilge pump 350 is preferably electrically powered, but may be hand powered.
A modified seat bottom 360 that comprises a commode 365 with a plastic bag waste collection system may be included in the shelter 100. The commode 365 may comprise a chemical toilet similar to portable toilets used with recreational vehicles.
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The shelter 100 may be equipped with an electronic homing beacon for locating the shelter 100 in the event of a disaster. Such device may be incorporated into the communications station 285, or an emergency personal beacon (as known as an EPERB) device may be fastened near the communication station 285 for easy access and activation.
Additional features which may be included in the survival shelter 100 include a small window in addition to or instead of the periscope or camera devices, satellite phone equipment, signal flares and other safety devices, and pet kennel facilities.
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The terms and expressions which have been employed in the foregoing specification are used therein as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, it being recognized that the scope of the invention is defined and limited only by the claims which follow.