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Space Blankets for Disaster Preparedness

space blanket

Space blankets are affordable, compact and easy to include in your disaster kit at home, in your car, and in your pack. Here are a few reasons why having space blankets for disaster preparedness is a smart move.

Space Blanket Uses

Space blankets are originally a technology developed by NASA. They are made from a metalized polyethylene terephthalate that reflects 97% of radiated heat. This quality makes space blankets useful for various applications.

Space blankets were commonly used to help treat victims of hypothermia. The patient was wrapped in the blanket and sometimes another blanket was wrapped around it. The idea was to trap body heat and moisture, thereby slowing the body’s natural cooling system so the patient can warm up.

In an emergency situation, you can do something similar by wrapping yourself in the space blanket, also known as an emergency blanket, and then covering with another blanket to keep your body heat contained. This could help you stay warm if your car breaks down in the winter and you must wait for help.

An emergency blanket can also help you stay warm if you get lost hiking or during another outdoor activity. In many areas, even though it may be warm during the day, it gets very cold at night. Having a compact space blanket with the rest of your gear could save your life.

A space blanket is also handy as a windbreaker or to protect you from rain, both of which can rob your body of heat.

Lastly, a space blanket can be used for signaling if you use the shinier side to reflect the sun.

Space Blanket Tent

A space blanket tent as an emergency shelter

If you don’t wrap yourself in the space blanket, you can instead opt to make a space blanket tent. Just tie some paracord, to a couple of trees and drape the space blanket over the top. Another option if you don’t have paracord is to use a long tree branch that can be securely wedged between two surfaces (trees, rocks, etc).

Anchor the ends with rocks or anything heavy that you can find. Close off one end with another space blanket or tree branches or whatever you have around.

If it is hot out, your space blanket tent will provide you with a shaded area to keep cooler. If it is cold, it can provide a little extra warmth as long as you have something else to wear to keep you warm. You can also cover the tent with branches or leaves to provide a bit of insulation.

Reinforcement

Space blankets are thin and can be damaged by the wind and elements when used as a shelter. To reinforce it, carry a piece of plastic sheeting that has been cut to the same size as your space blanket. Put this plastic sheeting over the space blanket to give it extra reinforcement for more protection.

Plastic sheeting is just as easy to carry as a space blanket, so you can keep it in your pack or emergency gear without taking up much space or adding weight.

With so many uses, it is a good idea to have more than one emergency blanket in your disaster preparedness kit.

photo credits: WaveBreaker via photopin cc, michael pollak via photopin cc

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