Thursday, May 29, 2014

Revisiting the Emergency Cabin

In an emergency, it doesn't really matter the style of your getaway home. What matters is that it's secure enough not to be easily seen, and difficult to break into.  It matters that you can access it in an emergency with your family fairly quickly. It matters that it is stocked with supplies which last some time. It also matters that this is something you can afford.  Vacation cabins come up in many places frequently.

          A lot of people, from Europe, South America and the United States are considering the value of an emergency cabin or an emergency home.  The "vacation home" market is thriving in many places in the world, but many people have no intention of using it for vacations.  Many people live near urban centers with their families in order to take advantage of educational opportunities for their children, and for good jobs for themselves and for their spouses.  When emergencies occur, for example, the attacks on New York on 9-11-2001, many people want to leave town  In prior generations we often have relatives in neighboring states and running to family was a pretty good option.  Today, in many nations, we have smaller families. We also tend to have children later in life than many of us did before. The net result is that like me, many families just don't have a relative with whom they can bunk with their spouse and children for a few days. The addition of age 55 plus housing also can make a difference. In many "mature housing units", more than an overnight visit from relatives is prohibited, even if the room exists. Our parents might be older and may not have the option of providing a temporary home to us in even an absolute emergency.

                For this reason, many people are keeping inherited vacation cabins, and fixing them up.  When the economic crash of 2008 occurred, many people took their retirement account, paid the income tax on an unplanned dispersal, and bought a relatively inexpensive home with acreage should the economic crash deepen or broaden.  Some people sold up their urban holdings, left their good jobs and bought a home or farm in a rural community determined to find a less high powered job, but a more satisfying and simpler life.  Sixteen years ago, my husband and I sold our suburban home, and built a home in the country hoping to impact some important learning for our kids and to find a more satisfying life.  Some years later, we moved to another rural area, and built again, using the money from the first farm we had built and sold in a healthier market.   There are no easy or complete answers. We all have to make the best decisions we can within the context of our families, their needs and our abilities.

                  In short, even if just for inspiration, I will continue this series on cabin or second homes. May this encourage you to reorganize or work on a cabin or small home you and your family already own.  Perhaps it will even be part of the impetus for you and your family to plan to relocate, if this has been something you have been considering.

Having a cabin near water and with its own well can be important in emergencies. At this location, water for washing could be obtained directly from the lake, and could be put through a Berkey before being given to animals.

Your getaway cabin doesn't need to be furnished or as luxurious as your normal home.  Room enough for sleeping bags, mattresses on floors, bunkbeds, etc. would be fine.

Bathrooms with deep shelves, cabinets or other storage are a good idea.   Toilet paper, toiletries, etc. should be stocked.

Two or three bedrooms are desirable.   Children could bunk in one room and parents in another. A third bedroom could be used for other family members or for your parents.

A source of heat which is not electricity dependent is an excellent idea.

A basement or some laundry facilities are certainly nice to have.

Remember to make plans for your pets. In a place you do not live often, there may be hazards you don't know about.

Other links to other posts which relate to this topic that I have written: