Hurricanes and other storms have sure been in the news a lot lately. Lots of people have lost their house and are waiting for supplies to come in. It’s got me thinking about emergency shelters and started looking at what kinds of things have been invented.
In warm climates, tents are probably the easiest and cheapest forms of emergency shelters that there are. After Haiti had their big earthquake, I saw lots of people living under tarps. In parts of the US, if there was an emergency in the winter time, people couldn’t stay in tents without freezing to death.
There was a building being built near my school this summer using a kind of styrofoam blocks that are hollow on the inside. They piled the blocks one on top of each other (they interlock) to build a wall and then they poured cement in the middle. The styrofoam blocks have webbing that you can attach drywall to directly over the styrofoam and then they put something that looked kind of like stucco on the outside. The blocks are the form for the cement and is also the insulation for the walls.
I had an idea to manufacture solid bricks made from styrofoam, but maybe with a plastic coating so you wouldn’t need anything else to cover the styrofoam. Then you could just build your building really quick just like you would in lego. The bricks would be light for transporting, but they would make a nice insulated shelter really fast. The plastic coating would make them durable so that they wouldn’t get broken so easily. Not only that, but when you didn't need the emergency shelter any more, you could just take it apart again and use the blocks somewhere else!
I did some googling to see if anyone else has invented these and I didn’t find the styrofoam lego blocks, but I did find something else that is really cool. A company called Psychic Factory
has designed a lego-block-like container that is divided into two compartments, one for rice and the other for water. These containers can be sent to area where people need supplies and once the rice and water has been used, the container can be filled with sand or dirt and used as a building block. It looks like they were designed for UNICEF
, but I can’t find anything on UNICEF’s website about it. So I don’t know if they are still planning on using it but sure looks like it would be a good idea to me!