Title:
Portable survival shelter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable survival shelter that includes a body having a generally elongated shape and a protective outer shell structure, a sealable entrance on the top of the body, and a base upon which the body is formed. The body defines a sealable survival chamber that is large enough to hold one or more persons and strong enough to withstand the impact of falling tree limbs, flying debris, or the like. The shelter is preferably configured with ballast to float in water in an upright orientation and constructed with an exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags. The shelter is preferably of a size that fits within a conventional automobile garage, and preferably incorporates forklift pockets for moving the shelter from place to place with a forklift or recessed pad eyes for lifting the shelter with a crane or helicopter.



Inventors:
Wagner, Michael P. (Newberg, OR, US)
Application Number:
11/415615
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
05/01/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D29/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael P. Wagner (Sherwood, OR, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An escape and survival shelter, comprising: (a) a body having a length, a lesser width, a height, a top, a pair of opposite ends, and a base, said body including a protective outer shell structure and defining a sealable survival chamber capable of protectably sheltering a plurality of persons for a limited time; (b) a sealable entrance communicating with said survival chamber and located on said top of said body; and (c) seating for said plurality of persons within said survival chamber, said outer shell structure being constructed to be resistant to damage from falling debris, and said base being constructed to support said survival chamber stably on a substantially flat and horizontal surface with said body in an upright orientation.

2. The shelter of claim 1, wherein said body is of a size that fits within a conventional residential garage stall for an automobile and can be moved into said stall through a conventional residential garage doorway.

3. The shelter of claim 1, including at least one pair of forklift pockets in said base, both of said at least one pair of forklift pockets being oriented along one of said length and said lesser width and sized to receive the load handling tines of a conventional forklift truck.

4. The shelter of claim 3, said base having a pair of opposite sides and a pair of opposite ends and including at least one pair of said forklift pockets accessible from each of said sides of said base and at least one pair of said forklift pockets accessible from each of said ends of said base.

5. The shelter of claim 1, wherein said body is configured to float in water in an upright orientation whether unoccupied or occupied by not more than a predetermined number of persons.

6. The shelter of claim 5, including a quantity of ballast located in said base to stabilize said survival chamber in a floating condition.

7. The shelter of claim 1, wherein said body has an outer surface substantially free of protruding snags.

8. The shelter of claim 1, wherein said body has convex end portions.

9. The shelter of claim 1, wherein said body has an outer surface equipped with a plurality of recessed pad eyes.

10. The shelter of claim 1, including a first row of seats arranged side by side within said survival chamber, said first row of seats extending lengthwise with respect to said body.

11. The shelter of claim 10, including a second row of seats within said survival chamber, the seats of said second row facing the seats of said first row and each seat of said first and second rows being oriented with its back proximate a respective side of said survival chamber.

12. The shelter of claim 10, including a seat belt associated with at least one of said seats.

13. The shelter of claim 10, including a plurality of hand holds fixedly mounted within said survival chamber for use by an occupant thereof.

14. The shelter of claim 10, wherein each of said seats of said first row has a releasably fastened, forwardly moveable backrest portion, and wherein said survival chamber includes a stowage compartment located behind said moveable backrest.

15. The shelter of claim 10, wherein at least one of said seats has a seat bottom portion hingedly mounted and releasably fastened in a seating position, said survival chamber including a storage compartment below said seat bottom portion and accessible by releasing and raising said seat bottom portion.

16. The shelter of claim 1, wherein said outer shell portion is of welded plate metal construction.

17. The shelter of claim 16, wherein said body has a narrow horizontal top and a pair of opposite sides, each of said opposite sides having respective upper and lower side portions sloping outwardly respectively from said top and said base toward a wider middle portion of said body.

18. The shelter of claim 17, wherein each of said sides includes a middle height portion extending longitudinally, each of said middle height portions being oriented generally upright and extending from the respective upper side portion to the respective lower side portion of said body.

19. The shelter of claim 16, including a floor plate extending horizontally above said base portion of said body and forming a water-tight boundary of said survival chamber.

20. The shelter of claim 1, further comprising a securely closeable protective storage compartment within said body and accessible from within said survival chamber.

21. The shelter of claim 1, wherein at least one of said ends of said body includes a truncated pyramidal portion protruding endwise of said body and including a storage compartment therein that is accessible by an occupant within said survival chamber.

22. The shelter of claim 1, further comprising at least one of signal lights, a radio transceiver, a radio receiver, a television receiver, a audible horn, and means for sending or receiving messages from within said survival chamber.

23. The shelter of claim 1, further comprising at least one of an air intake vent, an air exhaust vent, a compressed air tank, and means for providing breathable air for a person within said survival chamber.

24. The shelter of claim 1, further comprising at least one of a periscope, a video camera system, electronic sensors, interior lights, and means facilitating visual inspection from within said survival chamber.

25. The shelter of claim 1, further comprising at least one of an interior electrical receptacle, an exterior electrical receptacle, interior batteries, an interior power supply, and means for managing electrical power for said survival chamber.

26. The shelter of claim 1, further comprising at least one of an electrically powered bilge pump, a manually powered bilge pump, a one-way valve, and means for managing bilge water.

27. A protective shelter, comprising: (a) a body having a length, a lesser width, a height, a top, a pair of opposite ends, and a base, said body including a protective outer shell structure and defining a sealable survival chamber capable of providing protection from falling debris to a human occupant of said shelter, yet being light enough that said shelter is buoyant in water; and (b) a quantity of ballast within said base sufficient to keep the shelter in an upright orientation when said shelter is floating in water.

28. The shelter of claim 27, further comprising a generally smooth exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags.

29. The shelter of claim 27, further comprising forklift pockets within said base and sized and positioned to receive the load handling tines of a forklift truck for moving said shelter from place to place.

30. The shelter of claim 27, wherein said body is of a size that fits within a conventional residential garage stall for an automobile and can be moved into said stall through a conventional residential garage doorway.

31. The shelter of claim 27, further comprising seating for said one or more persons within said survival chamber.

32. A protective shelter, comprising: (a) a body having a length, a lesser width, a height, a top, a pair of opposite ends, and a base, said body including a protective outer shell structure and defining a sealable survival chamber capable of providing protection from falling debris to said one or more persons within said shelter; (b) a quantity of ballast within said base sufficient to keep said shelter in an upright orientation when said shelter is occupied and floating in water; (c) a generally smooth exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags; and (d) forklift pockets within said base and sized and positioned to receive the load handling tines of a forklift truck for moving said shelter from place to place, wherein said body is of a size that fits within a conventional residential garage stall for an automobile and can be moved into said stall through a conventional residential garage doorway.

33. The shelter of claim 32, further comprising seating for said one or more persons within said survival chamber.

34. The shelter of claim 32, wherein said outer shell includes a plurality of recessed pad eyes.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a survival shelter. More particularly, the present invention relates to a survival shelter for providing one or more persons refuge from hazardous conditions such as flooding, falling debris, and the like.

Notorious natural disasters have underscored the need for improved sheltering. For example, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Asian Tsunami or Boxing Day Tsunami, was an undersea earthquake measuring between 9.1 and 9.3 (Richter scale) that occurred on Dec. 26, 2004. The resulting tsunami devastated the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South India, Thailand, and other countries with waves up to 100 feet, claiming over 180,000 lives and leaving another 42,000 missing. Also, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the U.S. Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, and Sep. 24, 2005, respectively, causing severe damage from flooding due to a two-story storm surge, powerful winds, and heavy rains. More than 200,000 people were displaced by the hurricanes and dispersed to shelters in 18 states.

Taking shelter is critical in times of disaster. Sheltering is needed when conditions require that the person seek protection in a home, place of employment, or other nearby location when disaster strikes. However, different kinds of shelters are recommended depending upon the particular hazard. For a tornado, shelter in a lower level or basement room or an interior room away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls is recommended. In contrast, for flash floods or flooding, movement to higher ground is necessary. In the event of a hurricane, shelter from high winds, flying or falling debris, and flooding is needed.

Some consider building a safe room to provide a space for surviving a tornado or hurricane. The recommended safe room includes structural members anchored securely to the ground and strong enough to remain intact during the strongest winds. Moreover, the structure must resist penetration by high velocity airborne debris. However, a safe room is a structure built in a fixed location and is typically designed only for those hazardous conditions deemed likely to occur in the particular geographic area.

Easily moveable survival shelters designed for residential use are needed. A portable survival shelter should be designed to protect a sheltered occupant from a variety of hazardous conditions such as high winds, flying or falling debris, severe flooding, contaminated or unbreathable air, etc. However, existing shelter designs need considerable adaptation and redesign for such use. That is, prior shelter designs do not provide adequate portability or sufficient capabilities to provide effective shelter in a wide variety of situations.

What is needed, therefore, is a survival shelter with improved portability and capabilities for use in a wide variety of hazardous situations such as, for example, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, fires, and bio-chemical accidents.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the shortcomings of prior art disaster and survival shelters by providing a shelter with improved portability and capabilities for use in a wide variety of hazardous situations such as, for example, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, fires, and bio-chemical accidents instead of prior art shelters which are generally designed for only a particular type of hazardous situation. The shelter disclosed herein provides several features alone or in combination that are unavailable in prior designs, as defined by the appended claims.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a portable survival shelter includes a body having a generally elongated shape and a protective outer shell structure, a sealable entrance on the top of the body, and a base upon which the body is formed. The body defines a sealable survival chamber that is large enough to hold one or more persons and is strong enough to withstand the impact of falling tree limbs, flying debris, or the like. The survival shelter is particularly well suited for protecting one or more occupants from life threatening flood waters that may be associated with, for example, a storm surge or a tsunami.

In a preferred embodiment, the shelter is configured with ballast to float in water in an upright orientation and is constructed with an exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags so that the shelter more easily avoids becoming caught up in, for example, storm debris, and so that the shelter may be retrieved more easily by search and rescue personnel.

In a preferred embodiment, the shelter is of a size that fits within a conventional automobile garage.

In another embodiment, the shelter includes at least a pair of forklift pockets for moving the shelter from place to place with a forklift.

In yet another embodiment, the shelter includes recessed pad eyes for lifting the shelter with a crane or helicopter.

In various other embodiments, the shelter includes many other features such as communications devices, seating with restraints, various storage compartments, a safe, extra compressed oxygen, batteries and inverter devices, air vents, and other equipment and supplies.

The foregoing and other objectives, features, and advantages of the invention will be more readily understood upon consideration of the following detailed description of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, the drawings herein illustrate examples of the invention. The drawings, however, do not limit the scope of the invention. Similar references in the drawings indicate similar elements.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a survival shelter according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional end view of the survival shelter shown in FIG. 1, taken along line 2-2.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the survival shelter shown in FIG. 1, taken along line 3-3.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of the hatch area of a survival shelter according to one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, those skilled in the art will understand that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details, that the present invention is not limited to the depicted embodiments, and that the present invention may be practiced in a variety of alternative embodiments. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, and systems have not been described in detail.

Turning now to the drawings, FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a survival shelter 100 according to one embodiment of the invention. The survival shelter 100, as shown, includes a body 105 having a generally elongated shape and a protective outer shell structure, a sealable entrance (or hatch) 110 on the top of the body 105, and a base 115 upon which the body 105 is formed. The body 105 defines a sealable survival chamber that is both large enough to hold one or more persons and strong enough to withstand the impact of falling tree limbs, flying debris, or the like. Further, because the survival chamber is sealable, the survival shelter 100 is particularly well suited for protecting one or more occupants from life threatening flood waters which may be associated with, for example, a storm surge or a tsunami.

The survival shelter 100 is preferably designed for quick and easy access, and, in particular, to accommodate between one and twenty people for short term survival of disasters or emergency situations such as tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, bio-chemical accidents (or terrorist attacks), intruders or other breaches in security, fires, tornadoes, and so on. In a preferred embodiment, the survival shelter 100 may provide shelter for up to several hours or, depending upon supplies and provisions, up to two days or longer. In one embodiment, an optimal maximum number of occupants for rapid closure of the hatch 110 may be six. For example, the optimal maximum number of occupants may be eight in a situation where the shelter 100 is located at a particular home and is intended to be held available for the residents of the particular home.

The survival shelter 100 is preferably between four feet and twenty feet in length 117 (shown in FIG. 3), with a cross-sectional width 118 (shown in FIG. 2) and height 119 (shown in FIG. 2) from three to ten feet, and designed to rest substantially horizontally on a substantially flat surface upon the base 115. As shown herein, then the length 117 is about 15 feet, the width 118 is about five feet, and the height 119 is about 6½ feet. The survival shelter 100 preferably fits within a conventional residential garage stall for an automobile and can be moved into the stall through a conventional residential garage doorway. However, the survival shelter 100 may also be placed in any location such as, but not limited to, a carport, parking lot, or yard, or anywhere convenient for rapid access in the event of an emergency.

To improve portability, a preferred embodiment of the survival shelter 100 includes at least one pair of forklift pockets 120 formed within the base 115. The forklift pockets 120 are capable of receiving the load handling tines of a lift truck so that the lift truck is able to lift the survival shelter 100 for moving it from place to place. The base 115 preferably includes at least one pair of forklift pockets 120 oriented along each of the two opposite sides 122 and at least another pair along each of the two opposite ends 124 of the base 115 to allow access to the forklift pockets 120 from each of the two sides 122 and two ends 124. Each of the forklift pockets 120 may include a hole 125 for fastening the base 115 to a footing, for example, in earthquake or tornado prone locations. Alternatively, the shelter 100 may be left free-standing, for example, in locations which may be susceptible to tsunamis, storm surge, or flooding, to permit it to float to safety.

The water-tight and air-tight hatch 110 on the top of the body 105, as shown, in FIG. 1, is preferably square shaped, measuring between twenty-four and thirty-four inches on each side, and may be opened from the inside of the survival chamber or from the outside. The hatch 110 is preferably large enough for quick entry to and exit from the survival shelter 100. A recessed wrench fitting 130 may be used for unlocking the hatch 110 from the outside. The hatch 110 preferably includes at least one handle 135, which may be recessed, as shown, so as not to protrude outward beyond the smooth surface of the body 105. The hatch 110 may include a locking mechanism usable by a person from within the survival shelter 100 so that the survival shelter 100 may be used as a safe room for a building structure adjacent or immediately proximate to the survival shelter 100. That is, the shelter 100 may be used as a secure space into which a person may seek refuge. For example, the shelter 100 may be used to provide protection from an intruder.

In a preferred embodiment, the shelter 100 includes at least one pad eye 140, which may be of the recessed hinged type as shown. Alternatively, the pad eye 140 is a recessed but fixed type (not shown), recessed inward deeply enough so as not to protrude outward beyond the smooth surface of the body 105. In other embodiments, the pad eye 140 may be of a standard non-recessed type. However, in a preferred embodiment, the shelter 100 includes a plurality of recessed pad eyes 140, each one capable of being used for hoisting or pulling the shelter 100 as needed. Also in a preferred embodiment, at least two pad eyes 140 are located on the top of the body 105 and capable of being used to lift the survival shelter 100 by crane or helicopter.

In a preferred embodiment, the protective outer shell of the body 105 is made of welded plate metal and engineered to survive expected risks. In one embodiment, the protective outer shell of the body 105 is made of welded plate metal and engineered to withstand exterior forces of at least 500 psi. The outer shell may be constructed of ¼ inch plate steel, a suitable thickness of plate aluminum, or a suitable thickness of another material capable of providing enough strength to withstand, for example, falling building debris from the collapse of a residential or other building structure or flying debris as would arise in a tornado or hurricane. Even though the survival shelter 100 may weigh between 3000 and 4000 pounds, it is preferably buoyant in water and will float in an upright orientation whether unoccupied or occupied by not more than a predetermined number of persons. Preferably, no more than 85% and no less than 60% of the shelter's 100 volume is submerged when floating in water.

In a preferred embodiment, the body 105 of the survival shelter 100 has a generally smooth exterior surface substantially free from protruding snags to reduce the likelihood of getting caught when floating. As shown in FIG. 1, the survival shelter 100 includes recessed pad eyes 140, recessed handles 135, rounded convex ends such as convex end 145, and other flush or low profile features. The smooth exterior surfaces and generally tapered or sloped shape of the survival shelter 100 reduce the frictional forces exerted upon the exterior surfaces in the event the survival shelter 100 floats into a jam or becomes stuck. If the survival shelter becomes trapped, the smooth exterior surfaces and generally tapered shape will improve the likelihood that rescue or other emergency relief personnel are able to pull the survival shelter free.

The exterior surface of the survival shelter 100 may be a very bright fluorescent color such as bright orange or yellow, or another color that is highly visible so as to be easily spotted from an aircraft flying above the survival shelter 100. In addition, the exterior surface of the survival shelter 100 may be stamped with the names, blood types, and other important medical or pertinent information of the planned or expected occupants of the survival shelter 100.

Still referring to FIG. 1, access steps 150 may be used for convenient and rapid access to the hatch 110. The access steps 150 are shown hooked onto a recessed fixed type pad eye 155. However, other methods of access may be used. For example, a ladder may be used instead of the access steps 150, or the survival shelter 100 may be housed in auxiliary building or incorporated in or retrofitted into a home so that there is easy access from above. In such locations breakaway walls may be included in the building, especially in areas in storm surge or tsunami threat zones.

Other features illustrated in simplified form in FIG. 1 include: one or more periscope or video cameras 160 (shown retracted/inoperative) and 165 (shown deployed/operative) for viewing outside the survival shelter 100 from within the survival chamber; antenna structures 170 for radio receiver, radio transmitter, GPS, television, or other electronic sensors or devices for sending or receiving electronic communications; a signaling light or audible horn 175 for visual or audible communications; and air intake and exhaust vents 180, 185 for providing fresh air to the interior of the survival shelter 100. Each of the above features is preferably mounted to the generally horizontal top surface 189 of the survival shelter 100. Alternatively, any of these features may be mounted elsewhere. For example, one or more of the antenna structures 170 may be located on a sides 186 or an end 145 of the survival shelter body 105 or one or more of the antenna structures 170 may be recessed or flush with an exterior surface 188 of the survival shelter 100. Likewise, any of the other protruding features shown on the top horizontal surface 189 of the survival shelter 100 may be recessed or repositioned elsewhere on the survival shelter 100.

Finally, with respect to FIG. 1, an exterior electrical receptacle 190 may be included for providing electrical power to the survival shelter 100 when the shelter is on standby or is in a charging or external power mode of operation.

Next, as shown in FIG. 2, the survival shelter 100 includes seating for a plurality of persons within the survival chamber. For example, the survival shelter 100 preferably includes a first row of seats 205 arranged with each seat situated adjacent to the next in a side-by-side manner and with the row of seats extending lengthwise with respect to the body of the survival shelter 100, as may be seen in FIG. 3. In a preferred embodiment, the survival shelter 100 includes a second row of seats 210 with the seats 210 of the second row facing the seats 205 of the first row and each seat of the first and second rows being oriented with its back proximate a respective side 186 or 215 of the survival shelter 100. The first row of seats 205 are shown oriented with their backs proximate to the left side 215 of the survival shelter 100, and the second row of seats 210 are shown oriented with their backs proximate to the right side 186 of the survival shelter 100. Each seat preferably includes padding on the seat back 221 and seat bottom 222, a seat belt 223, and hand holds 224 on the seat bottom 222 of the seat. The hand holds 224 may be situated just below the top surface of the seat bottom cushions so that an occupant of the shelter 100 can recline lengthwise across more than one seat bottom cushion. Each seat belt 223 may be a combination lap belt with shoulder belt, similar to the configuration available in automobiles, as shown in FIG. 2. Each seat may also include neck brace structures (not shown) for improved protection of the seated occupant.

In FIG. 2, the bottom 222 of the seat 205 is shown in a partially raised position, exposing an opening or storage area 225 below the seat 205. Each of the seats 205 and 210 in the survival shelter 100 preferably includes a similar storage compartment, and when there are adjacent seats aligned in a side-by-side manner, the storage compartment 225 under those seats may be a contiguous storage compartment, or there may be a separate (partitioned) storage compartment under each separate seat. As shown, the bottom 222 of the seat 210 is in a normal lowered position, closing over the storage area below in which there is a compressed air tank 230 for providing breathing air for occupants within the survival shelter 100 (for use when, for example, outside air is unbreathable).

Just as each seat bottom 222 may be folded up, as shown with one of the seats 205, each seat back 221 folds forward as shown in broken line to expose storage space 235 between each seat back 221 and the respective side 215 or 186. That is, each of the seats preferably includes a releasably fastened, forwardly moveable backrest portion 221, and the survival shelter 100 preferably includes a stowage compartment located behind the moveable backrest.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, ballast 240 is included in the lower portion or base 115 of the survival shelter 100, below a floor plate 245 extending horizontally above the base 115 of the survival shelter 100 and forming a water-tight boundary for the survival chamber or sealable occupant space within the survival shelter 100. The ballast 240 located in the base 115 is for stabilizing the survival chamber in a floating condition and is preferably of sufficient mass to keep the shelter 100 in an upright orientation when the shelter 100 is floating in water. In a preferred embodiment, no more than 85% and no less than 60% of the shelter's 100 volume is submerged when floating in water. The ballast 240 may comprise cast lead or iron, cast concrete, or another suitably dense material.

The survival shelter 100 may include a plurality of hand holds 250 fixedly mounted within the survival chamber. A safe or securely closeable protective storage compartment 255 may be included in the survival shelter 100. The safe 255 may comprise a lockable compartment in one of the end portions of the survival shelter 100, where the end portion includes a truncated pyramidal portion protruding endwise.

The generally tapered or sloped shape of the survival shelter 100 preferably has a narrow horizontal top 189 and a pair of opposite sides (left side 215 and right side 186), each of the opposite sides having respective upper and lower side portions (upper left side 265, lower left side 270, upper right side 275, and lower right side 280) sloping outwardly respectively from the top 189 and the base 115 toward a wider middle portion of the survival shelter 100. Each of the opposite sides 215 and 186 of the survival shelter 100 preferably includes a respective middle height portion 282, 284 extending longitudinally, each of the middle height portions being oriented generally upright and extending from the respective upper side portion to the respective lower side portion of the survival shelter 100.

The survival shelter 100 may include a television receiver and radio communications station 285 (which may also include monitors and controls for other equipment, such as video camera 160). The air intake vent 180 and air exhaust vent 185 are positioned, according to one embodiment, where intake air is brought into the survival shelter 100 using the lower positioned air intake 180, and air is exhausted out through the higher positioned exhaust vent 185. The periscope or video camera 160 may be a push-up/pull-down type device. In addition, the survival shelter 100 may include insulation and padding 290 throughout the interior for resistance to heat (using the shelter 100 as a refuge from fire) and protection from shock and vibration due to, for example, falling building debris or trees. The shelter 100 may also include a folding ladder 295 to facilitate safe entry into and exit from the interior space of the survival shelter 100.

As shown in FIG. 3, the survival shelter 100 includes two truncated pyramidal end portions 145, 310 forming two storage compartments, a storage compartment 305 at one end 310 and another storage compartment 315 at the opposite end 145, accessible by an occupant within the survival chamber 100. One or both of the storage compartments 305 and 315 serve as closets for first aid supplies, food and water supplies, a security safe for storing valuables, life jackets, cell phones, and radio and television devices. In one embodiment, below seat storage such as under seat compartment 225 is used for survival suits, extra oxygen or compressed air, and extra battery packs.

Lights 325 are preferably included within the survival shelter 100, with electrical power supplied from one or the other of a first set of batteries 330 with an associated first inverter 335 or a second set of batteries 340 with its associated second inverter 345. Power consumption may be divided, for example, with certain loads (such as a portion of the interior lights 325 and television and radio equipment 285) being supplied electrical power from the first set of batteries 330 and other loads being supplied from the second set of batteries 340. One or switchably both of the first and second inverters may be connected to the exterior electrical receptacle 190, as shown in FIG. 1.

A bilge pump 350 may be incorporated within the base 115 below the floor plate 245 between any of the forklift pockets 120 or quantities of ballast 240 for removing water accumulated within the base 115. The bilge pump 350 is preferably electrically powered, but may be hand powered.

A modified seat bottom 360 that comprises a commode 365 with a plastic bag waste collection system may be included in the shelter 100. The commode 365 may comprise a chemical toilet similar to portable toilets used with recreational vehicles.

As shown in FIG. 3 an electrically driven squirrel cage fan 370 may be provided for moving air through the air intake vent 180. Also shown is a lever 375 for use by an occupant of the shelter 100 to open a snorkel inlet 380 at the external end of the vent 180. Hatch 110 is shown in an open position with the folding ladder 295 in a deployed or extended position.

The shelter 100 may be equipped with an electronic homing beacon for locating the shelter 100 in the event of a disaster. Such device may be incorporated into the communications station 285, or an emergency personal beacon (as known as an EPERB) device may be fastened near the communication station 285 for easy access and activation.

Additional features which may be included in the survival shelter 100 include a small window in addition to or instead of the periscope or camera devices, satellite phone equipment, signal flares and other safety devices, and pet kennel facilities.

Finally, as shown best in FIG. 3, and to provide the tapered or sloped shape of the survival shelter 100 a pair of opposite upper end portions 385 slope outwardly from the top horizontal surface 189 toward the opposite ends 310 and 145 and a pair of opposite lower end surfaces 390 slope upwardly from the base 115 toward the rounded opposite ends 310 and 145. The overall shape of the shelter 100, as shown, allows the shelter to be more easily pulled out of jams or conditions where the shelter has become covered with debris or buried.

Referring to FIG. 4, the hatch 110, as shown, includes at a seal 410 capable of providing an air-tight and water-tight seal. Attached to the hatch 110 is a ladder holding bracket 415, to which the folding ladder 295 is hingedly connected.

The terms and expressions which have been employed in the foregoing specification are used therein as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, it being recognized that the scope of the invention is defined and limited only by the claims which follow.