How Modular Buildings Can Be Portable Emergency Shelters
When a disaster strikes, a situation can quickly turn into chaos. Government agencies and humanitarian groups need to act quickly to help kickstart the recovery process. One solution they can use is modular buildings as disaster relief shelters or other relief solutions.
They are a cost-effective solution to help provide safety and security to victims during uncertain situations by serving different functions.
This blog will help you understand emergency management and the benefits of using modular buildings as portable emergency shelters during recovery.
Understanding Disaster Relief
Disaster relief, also referred to as emergency management, involves the actions taken in response to a disaster to aid affected communities. The task of reducing the effects of a disaster usually falls on the shoulders of humanitarian organizations and government bodies. However, the magnitude and scope of the disaster can make this task daunting.
Hazards that arise after the incident need to be managed and reduced immediately, and rebuilding efforts should be carried out as quickly and effectively as possible. This requires cooperation at all levels between governmental and non-governmental entities, which can be incredibly challenging. Nevertheless, well-implemented disaster relief solutions and emergency management are vital for the recovery and restoration of victims.
The Four Stages of Disaster Relief
Disaster relief is comprised of four stages: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
These are measures that eliminate or reduce the impacts of a disaster by taking proactive measures. This involves looking at all the possible outcomes and planning for as many of them as possible.
Having a plan of action in place before a disaster happens is an essential preemptive measure. This plan can establish a chain of command, explain common terms, and define roles within the incident command.
This is how emergency services, including firefighters, police, ambulance services, and specialty teams, react to a disaster including deployment to an affected area.
Recovery happens once the disaster has ended and the restoration process starts. It helps fix broken things and get people working again, which stabilizes the local economy.
Federal Emergency Response System
The Canadian Government established The Federal Emergency Response System to efficiently handle different types of threats and national emergencies. These emergencies include natural disasters, security concerns, and cyber incidents. It includes many activities like setting up plans for handling emergencies and helping local emergency management groups.
Common Disasters Requiring Portable Emergency Shelters
Knowing what natural disasters can occur in your area is an important aspect of emergency management. This information also helps you select the correct modular disaster relief shelter for the situation. We'll explore the most frequently occurring natural disasters in British Columbia.
Earthquakes occur when the Earth's tectonic plates move, causing an abrupt tremor that can persist from a few seconds to several minutes. Their strength and size vary and they can occur at any time throughout the year.
British Columbia is home to some of the world’s biggest earthquakes. Vancouver is close to two tectonic plates, so there's a lot of activity in the area.
Earthquakes have the potential to damage buildings and infrastructure, leading to the displacement of entire communities. Structurally sound modular buildings can easily brought in, however, and become centres for humanitarian efforts and assist victims in rebuilding.
Using modular buildings as a disaster relief shelter is vital in an earthquake’s aftermath. A skidded or container office provides a safe place to store supplies. Since they’re close to the ground, they’re less likely to be moved by aftershocks. This is beneficial since it enables responders to continue providing critical support.
Floods happen when an area experiences a damaging overflow of water. Heavy rains after a drought, failed dams or levees, and natural disasters like hurricanes and flash floods can cause this. While coastal areas are more likely to experience flooding, it can happen anywhere and cause extreme damage.
Droughts can also increase the chances of flooding. If the ground is too dry to absorb rainwater, then it just runs off and can cause floods. At the end of Summer 2023, areas were worried that impending weather could cause flooding.
After a flood, modular buildings can be used as deployable emergency shelters or a central headquarters for emergency services. At Britco, we also offer portable washroom facilities, which can be used for both flood victims and emergency workers.
Heat waves are one of the most prevalent natural disasters, even if they aren’t commonly thought of as one. Heat waves mainly occur in southern regions of Canada but they can happen anywhere in the country. The summer months, from June through September, typically experience the highest temperatures.
From June 25–July 1, 2021, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest experienced an unprecedented heat wave. It was caused by a heat dome settling over the area. Many temperature records were broken, including Canada’s highest temperature—49.6 C. on June 29, 2021, in Lytton, BC.
One of the ways to combat the heat is to open up cooling centres so anyone can stop by to escape the heat if they don’t have air conditioning in their homes. Officials can turn mobile offices or storage containers into cooling centres to help.
A hurricane is a tropical storm with winds reaching a constant speed of at least 79 miles per hour. They are usually triggered by existing weather disruptions, heated seas, humidity, and gentle breezes.
One of the areas hurricanes can form is in the Northeast Pacific Ocean so British Columbia can be affected by them.
Coastal areas often suffer from strong winds, rain, and surges during storms that come close to or hit the land.
Pandemics are outbreaks of infectious diseases that swiftly spread across numerous nations, continents, or globally. They impact a significant portion of the populace and frequently result in severe social and economic repercussions. Some of the most infamous pandemics are the Black Death, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19.
In a pandemic, modular buildings have several uses. These can be used for temporary offices or workspaces for important services. They can also serve as meeting areas for families in hospitals or care homes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Britco outfitted five Bulldog Site Offices for PARC Retirement Living to create Family Meetup Centres so families could visit their loved ones during the pandemic while keeping everyone safe.
Additionally, our modular buildings can be utilized as storage spaces for additional supplies such as masks or medicine. We also provide kiosks for emergencies, which can serve as command or information centers.
Tornadoes are the offspring of powerful thunderstorms, appearing as spinning, funnel-like clouds. They often have strong winds of 30 mph or more and can cause lightning and sudden floods.
These can be made out of water or in some cases, fire. A fire tornado was spotted in British Columbia in August due to the wildfires.
Wildfires, often started by lightning or accidents, can quickly spread and cause great damage in forests, countryside, and wooded areas. Wildfires become harder to control as they grow larger and more severe. These fires can be influenced by other weather conditions such as strong winds or dry periods.
Wildfires are common in Canada’s western provinces. 2023 has become the most destructive and expensive wildfire season in British Columbia. In August, citizens were evacuated from the twin towns of Kelowna and West Kelowna while fire crews worked to keep the fire from reaching the towns.
However, this summer Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario, all eastern provinces, have been hit with out-of-control wildfires so wildfires became a country-wide issue.
Summer 2023 marked the most devastating wildfire season in the nation's history, with fires scorching millions of hectares and contaminating the air, affecting not just Canada but also the United States.
Why Opt for Modular Emergency Relief Shelters
There are many reasons to choose modular structures as part of your emergency management process. We’ll explore several of these so you feel confident about leasing or purchasing a modular building that works for you.
For Their Durability
Britco's modular buildings, constructed from wood, steel, and concrete, are reliable and structurally robust. Wood provides excellent insulation, boasts remarkable strength, and is fully biodegradable. Since wildfires can be an issue, we use steel and concrete since they’re fire-resistant, require few raw materials, and are more consistent than wood.
Because of Timeliness
Emergencies caused by natural or human-induced calamities necessitate the immediate provision of temporary modular housing. In contrast to conventional construction, modular structures can be set up swiftly, particularly if you rent a pre-owned unit that's readily available. Our pre-built trailer structures and skid-mounted units can be positioned at the disaster location within a matter of days or even hours.
In the end, our modular structures can offer the required space up to 50% quicker than conventional construction, making it the clear selection for disaster response.
Because of Cost-Effectiveness
In many instances, communities are financially constrained and aim to conserve as much funds as possible following a catastrophe. Since most disaster relief calls for temporary modular shelters, leasing a building is the best option. When leasing a modular building, there’s no significant upfront expense or need to borrow money.
Additionally, adaptable lease conditions guarantee that you only incur costs for the structure during the period you're utilizing it.
Because They’re Green
These modular shelters are designed for disassembly and reuse, not demolition, which reduces material waste and aids in environmental conservation. They also limit disturbances to nearby natural areas and decrease toxicity levels as the construction materials are not subjected to weather conditions.
For Their Versatility
Modular buildings can be moved to any location, even remote ones, for emergencies. You receive assistance in the area you require it the most, more quickly and at a reduced cost.
Here are just a few ways modular buildings can be used as a disaster relief solution and emergency management:
- Disaster recovery office space
- Emergency operations management centres
- Emergency shelters
- High-security spaces for government agencies
- Isolation zones
- Medical facilities
- Restrooms and shower trailers
- Supply warehousing
- Testing facilities
- Triage units for patient care
Working With Britco
We know that when a disaster hits, time is of the essence. Being prepared can make the difference between minor relief efforts and a wide-scale tragedy. Our job at Britco is to help you find the best quality modular shelter solution for your emergency plan.
And if you can’t find one that works for you? Then we can help you create a modular shelter that is customized for your needs and works with your emergency plan.
Having a reliable portable emergency shelter is a key part of emergency management and helps get life back to normal quicker for everyone who’s affected.
Want to add a portable emergency shelter to your disaster relief plan?
Request a free quote from our team so you’re prepared when disaster strikes.
Ready to solve your space needs?
Modular buildings are the way to go. Request a quote or contact us today to get the conversation started. We’d love to talk to you about how modular can meet — and exceed — your needs.