Just How Unhealthy And Unsafe Are Disaster Shelters?

by | Aug 8, 2018 | Headline News | 31 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This report was originally published by Sara Tipton at Tess Pennington’s ReadyNutrition.com.

    Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: How To Survive ANY Disaster.

    There has been much evidence to support preparing for an emergency and disaster scenario on your own without putting your hopes in crowded shelters or government-operated camps. Even though FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has come out and said they are not efficient nor are they even effective at helping people, most just don’t seem to care, and won’t until it is too late. And a shelter may not have conditions that are any better.

    One of the worst conditions imaginable would be the prison-like atmosphere of a FEMA camp. However, taking your family to a disaster shelter could be just as bad. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many found themselves in non-profit disaster shelters, and many reported conditions that were not healthy or safe for human beings, especially children. As hundreds of thousands of people packed in close proximity to one another in Houston’s convention centers, churches, mosques, and schools all serving as temporary shelters, their basic needs seemed to be met.  Food, water, and a place to sleep were provided.  But the danger of an infection -both viral and bacterial– and subsequent horrible illness was high. And in close quarters, these infections could easily spread sickening many in a short amount of time.

    “The primary concern is communicable diseases,” Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told Newsweek. “When people get in that close proximity that’s sort of the right conditions for illness.” Health care providers, coordinators, and volunteers involved in operating shelters are constantly on the lookout for any sudden signs of illness in those packed in like sardines. Van Deusen says shelter residents are at risk for developing many respiratory illnesses such as influenza or common colds. Epidemiologists, sanitarians and health department workers constantly monitor the situation to ensure these problems remain in their control – meaning even life in a shelter is merely a little better than that of a FEMA camp.

    But a violent bacterial infection from contaminated floodwaters spreading around to hundreds packed into a disaster shelter is far from the only concern. Children, and often young girls whose families have no other option than staying at a shelter often put the safety of their child at risk unknowingly. The risk of suffering from a sexual assault in a disaster shelter isn’t small.  Officials are aware that incidences of rape and assault become more common in the wake of hurricanes such as Irma and Harvey because it becomes easier for predators to find victims. When state-wide evacuations for Hurricane Irma began, Florida’s Polk County sheriff tried to mitigate those fears, by announcing that sex offenders would be banned from all shelters. “We cannot and we will not have innocent children in a shelter with sexual offenders and predators. Period,” he tweeted. But based on how well the government runs their own shelters (FEMA camps) can anyone really trust that they will be able to keep out a sex offender? And if they do, that doesn’t mean there isn’t another creep lurking around the shelter who just hasn’t been caught yet.

    This is all the more reason to prepare yourself and to have the necessary provisions for your family in the event of a horrifying natural disaster. Everyone in the family should learn basic self-defense and be able to understand how to best avoid a dangerous situation that could lead to an assault or rape as many are putting their children in harm’s way unintentionally for a bottle of water and a dirty cot. All of these health and safety concerns can be averted if more of us can become better prepared ourselves and no longer feel the need to put our lives in the hands of others -whether it be a shelter or a FEMA camp.

    For years, we have stressed the importance of having a preparedness plan including a financial plan for when disasters erupt. In the book The Prepper’s Blueprint we walk the reader through a prepping regimen with a guide and easy to follow instructions and give beginning preppers a foundation to build on so that one doesn’t have to rely on government handouts. And isn’t just preppers who look to themselves for their own lives. Even the FEMA Director wants Americans to start understanding the need to take on a prepper’s mindset.

    FEMA’s director, Brock Long, has even repeatedly warned that Americans do not have a “culture of preparedness,” and that’s why so many need the shelters to begin with. To avoid putting children in an environment that is something that is much-needed with the startling uptick in natural disasters. Long has only been the director of FEMA since June 20, 2017, and already has had to deal with a historic number of disasters. “I really think that we have a long way to go to create a true culture of preparedness within our citizenry in America,” Long said in an interview. “No American, no citizen, no visitor to this country is immune to disaster. And we have a long way to go to get people to understand the hazards based on where they dwell, where they work, and how to be prepared financially, how to be prepared through insurance, how to have continuity of operations plans for their businesses, so that we can avoid the suffering, the strife, and the loss of life. It’s truly disappointing that people won’t heed the warnings.”

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria which devastated the island of Puerto Rico, FEMA has admitted to making deadly mistakes when attempting to help those in need. A FEMA After Action report found that the agency was “severely understaffed” and relied on “underqualified” staffers and that the leadership lacked much of the key information needed on the island’s infrastructure; both before and after the storm. The report advises that communities and families in remote areas must prepare independently of the agency for future weather disasters because FEMA is unreliable and inadequate at dealing with much of anything, let alone a disaster situation. And let’s not forget that the United States government is in a massive amount of debt, so FEMA, like all government programs and agencies, will eventually run out of money.

    Health and safety concerns can be mitigated by taking the advice of the not-quite-as-crazy-as-you-thought preppers. Afterall, FEMA themselves are telling you not to rely on them and admitting to making mistakes that could have cost people their lives. One of the best action plans for a natural disaster is to have a backup shelter or a place your family can go on their own away from the infections and diseases of shelters. You will also be more likely to keep your family safe from sexual predators if you’ve got a means to protect yourself away from the crowds of hungry and angry people fighting over the last can of corn.

    (Sign up for our FREE newsletter to get the latest prepping advice, gardening secrets, homesteading tips and more delivered straight to your inbox!)

    Additional Resources:

    The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

    The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals

    Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary

    The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

    SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation

    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her website at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.


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      1. Fema camps are just concentration camps for the sheep.

        • That is correct sir, they are for J3ws and other undesirables.

          • Remember the Dome in New Orleans after Katrina. Take note, you do Not want to go there. So prepare and hunker in place and have multiple back up plans.

            My ancestors have been in America for thousands of years. Other part of my family came to America in 1638 to escape the same tyranny we have here now.

            • If there are any blacks there, then it will be very unsafe.

              • That’s why I moved out of the Commie City to another FL County that is 98% White people. People here are friendly, helpful and love their freedoms, just like when I was growing up as a kid. The Real America Small town feel. Hell yeah, they fly the confederate flag with pride, and are plenty loaded for bear, and surely ain’t putting up with any Minority BS. You kneegrows will disappear forever starting anything here. Antifa BS protests here, would not end well for any of them. And boy do we ever have plenty of White Biker Gangs here that are heavily armed. Nicest people in the world unless you cross them.

          • No wonder you signed your comment anonymous …. should have been analymous







          • Pilgrims landed in 1620, so your family was here 2 years earlier? That took some guts eh? lol If so then your people met my people on the shores. The Mohawks. AKA “Man Eaters.” Fearless and smart, good business sense, fur traders, taught the Pilgrims how to survive. The Mohawks were the furthest eastern Native American TR-ibe on the Atlantic. I still say if the Indians had access to the compound bow, this country would look a lot different today.

            A Little History. Aug 1637
            Chief Sassacus and His Brother are Killed by Mohawks, Their Scalps Presented to Pilgrims as Peace Offerings

            Sassacus and his followers had hoped to gain refuge among the Mohawk in present-day New York.

            However, the Mohawk had seen the display of English power and chose instead to kill Sassacus and his warriors, sending Sassacus’ scalp to Hartford, as a symbolic offering of Mohawk friendship with Connecticut Colony. Puritan colonial officials continued to call for the merciless hunting down of what remained of the Pequot months after war’s end.

      2. Red Cross shelter workers are required to admit anyone, known sexual predators included.

      3. Went in one during a hurricane in the late ’70’s, hid purse in car. You don’t know who the H is hanging out w/you there. Food is horrible so I took some from home.

      4. Just to show how fast you can be isolated,
        The harbors on my island have been closed due
        to Hurricane Hector which is probably due south
        of me right now. No seaborne food, fuel, or goods
        are coming in or will be for a while.
        All we have is what we have prepped for.
        (I did not know I had that much SPAM, we did a quick
        Thankfully Hector is going to pass us by, but tropical
        storm Kristy is right behind and tracking towards us.
        If that grows into a Hurricane( it will, it is over warm
        water), Town people might run out of food and
        bottled water in the stores.

        No chance of me ever going to a shelter, we don’t
        have that many, and chances are my home is more
        hurricane proof than the “shelters”.

        • Hope both miss you my friend.

        • Rellik:

          Stay safe.


        • I survived a catastrophic hurricane and ensuing moderate SHTF.

          Wish I was there.

          Good luck my friend.

          This is why we prep.

        • Hope all goes well there rellik. I’ll be on your island in a couple weeks.

        • Good Luck rellik. And you are right. What you got for preps is all you got, until time passes for resupply. Keep lots of bottled water in reserve. Just in case.

          Our Hurricane season in FL lasts until Nov. All our rivers are at peak right now. All the recent rain we got. A hurricane right now would cause a lot of inland flooding.

      5. If I were by myself in one of those shelters, I would have to be totally exhausted to sleep. You need other people you know and who will take turns staying awake so the others can sleep in shifts.

      6. Those shelters depend on volunteers. Unsanitary, and ripe with bacteria, disease and just like a laborotory petri dish, a culture prime for hepititus, flue, infections, and screaming children. Basically a death sentence.

        Just look at the #1 killer in America, infections from Hospitals. And that is a controlled environment. I hate even touching anything in public. Like grocery shopping carts. You know that push handle and upper cart area where that land just had her baby sitting where her child just crapped its diapers and now where you just set your bananas. Its disgusting.

        • Bingo….

        • Yep! The various antibiotic resistant strains tend to induce septic shock, necrosis and ulcers very quickly. Add in the folks with diabetes, illegal immigrants, paroled felons, the immune compromised folk, as well as the druggies, and the toxic soup is complete.

      7. Just envision cage fighting but on a much broader scale. Or what took place when ‘Nawlins went under water.

      8. Nice AD for a book.

        Yes, a good book, BUT STILL AN AD NOT AN ARTICLE.

      9. And don’t forget that getting on a plane to get out of Dodge is a ticket that puts you in a concentrated, close, bacteria and virus contaminated aluminum tube. Whatever people get on, they are not checked for disease, and they could be from anywhere in the world. That air re-circulating from that overhead blower is full of other peoples germs and bad habits. You don’t know who or what has been in the seat you’re on, or if the clean up crew between flights, or overnight, did anything to disinfect those seats. Only massive doses of anti-biotics saved me from what I caught from traveling on airlines. Stay out of FEMA camps!

      10. With planning, only very local threats could force you to leave you shelter. Once you leave you become a refugee. If at all possible, never become a refugee.

      11. “The report advises that communities and families in remote areas must prepare independently of the agency…”

        Thank God.

      12. Two things are guaranteed from FEMA, misery and death. Better off to take your chances far away from those bio weapons concentrations.

      13. “…sex offenders would be banned from all shelters. ”

        This can’t be accomplished without universal documentation and chokepoints.

        • I read at the stadium Katrina, The black neworlean police officers told the white men to form a circle with the white women and children in the middle. And only go to the restrooms in large numbers. A food handling volunteer had 90% complaints for only sandwiches, no pizza,chicken ,McD, I’ve seen a big reporter say they should be just let loose to go to the non destroyed areas and do what to survive? 1000 at your door? Better have some extra mags.

      14. The US government has a very spotty history regarding civil defense and temporary refugee shelters in times of state disaster.

        Obviously in the Hurricane Katrina debacle this was exacerbated by a moronic mayor who gave conficting information that got his citizens killed or severely harmed physically, mentally, and spiritually.

        Then to add insult to injury, the temporary shelters were so badly made that toxic off gassing created a medical issue. Anyone in construction would know why when using improperly prepared lumber gives off acidic fumes. Just try sometime working around wood pallets.

        Then all of these have mold issues.

        Then the debacle of Hurricane Sandy where the feds couldn’t muster even basic water fast enough. It was abysmally slow that basic utility help was tied down in bureaucratic morass though utility workers from the country heroically stepped in. But moronic residents started doing insane things like leaving feces in apartment hallways and hurling them over balconies.

        Then the Puerto Rico hurricane debacle similarly had rotten treasonous polticians when the feds tried helping.

        Actually UNHCR has probably done more regarding temporary shelters than any nation as they routinely have to design refugee housing, santiation, wells, food and water dstribution, medical supervision, schools, worker training, etc.

        Some very clever inexpensive tiny temporary housing has been designed for homeless populations given it’s analagous to permanent refugee mitigation.

        No one has come up valid security to protect from within and without facilities that are not draconian in effect. Sexual abuse and violence from ethnic tension typically happens.

      15. Disaster shelter crowd control attitude? Bill Burr Philidelphia?

      16. A good neighbourhood with like-minded neighbours is priceless. We don’t have much land, nor do the nieghbours (me, one acre; neighbours 2 and 3 acres) but enough that we could survive with creative planning and land management 😉 My veggie gardens have been doing well this year and I’ve come up with my own fast-growing, sustainable meat chicken 🙂 Plenty of hand tools, including antiques, to get jobs done when the power goes out and the generator runs out of gas 🙂

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