Storm Shelter

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Tue Nov 02, 2021 1:55 am


Having recently moved to Missouri, where thunderstorms, tornadoes and disasters have been known to occur frequently, and having to shelter up once already, I got to wondering how many guinea pigs parents have shelter from the storm for their piggies or are they forced to leave them and hope for the best for them. Does anybody even think about it? Luckily we didn't sustain any damage, but towns as close as 50 miles from us weren't as lucky. Our house has a basement, but just going down there isn't enough since there is a door that leads directly outside. We have a small 15 foot long, 4 feet wide room down there that is our shelter.

In addition to the 5 humans, there are 3 dogs, 2 cats and 12 guinea pigs (the dogs and cats get along fine, luckily). There isn't a lot of room in the shelter so we have to cram in. We didn't have many threats from disasters in Reno and all of them came with plenty of notice, so I didn't concern myself too much, other than having a plan for evacuation. Here, they strike without notice, so we have to have a plan. Getting us, the dogs and cats to the shelter is easy enough, but what about the guinea pigs?

I have 2 carriers that can fit 2 pigs in each one long enough to get them downstairs and we can get the other 2 larger carriers very quickly, but it's awkward and we still can't get them all down at once. There's also the problem of how to house them after we get them into the shelter and how to keep them safe from the dogs and cats as well as the storm. I need a better plan and I have an idea that I'd like to get opinions on.

Part 1: I am going to get enough small animal carriers to get them all down there in one trip. With 5 of us we should be able to carry them all.
Part 2) I am going to convert part of the shelves in the shelter into temporary cages for them. Take a look:

Image

There are actually 2 columns of 5 shelves, but the picture only shows the 6 I need and they are at the top so the dogs and cats cannot reach them. I can easily make cage doors out of the extra pieces of the collapsible pens I have. I am also going to store extra bedding for them. I will also need to come up with a way to keep at least a days worth of hay in there and make it mouse proof. A tote won't work by itself because mice can breech them fairly easily. I was thinking of using those vacuum sealed bags inside of the totes. That way the smell of the hay will be masked and there's a double layer of protection. What do you guys think?

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Tue Nov 02, 2021 4:01 pm


Glad to see you are being proactive in thinking about this.

I might rotate out the hay so there is fresher hay if you need shelter. Extremely tight quarters for all of you. How is the shelter constructed? Concrete walls? What kind of ceiling?

I am sure you will have lots of water down there. You will have to also consider supplying water to them all. Do the carry cages have waterers attached?

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Tue Nov 02, 2021 11:11 pm


I plan on rotating the hay and all of the pet supplies every couple of months or so. The shelter is concrete, but the entry door is a regular wooden one. The door to the outside is over 50 feet away on the other end of the basement and it's below ground level. Even if it blows open, we'll be ok. The pressurisor for the well water is in the shelter and it has a valve on it, so we can get water out of it in an emergency, but we keep cases of water in there anyway. With two regular sized totes, we can keep enough food to last a couple of days for all of the pets.

I'm getting new water bottles for all of the guinea pigs, so I'll keep the old ones for the shelter. I don't have a way to keep fresh veggies down there, but as long as they have hay, pellets and water to last a day or two, they will be ok. The carry cages have a way to attach a water bottle, but it's not necessary for getting them to the shelter, as they'll go directly to their emergency cages, which will have water bottles for them. The biggest problem with this whole shelter project is keeping the mice out of their supplies. A good rotation of fresh items every month or even every other month should suffice.

It was pretty scary for us city folk being told that there was a tornado warning and to shelter up immediately. We scrambled to get everyone down there and didn't grab the piggies because there was no plan for that and no way to house them safely. I ended up staying upstairs with them and keeping watch on the night sky as best I could. It really got me to thinking about that. It wasn't a particularly good feeling having to leave them upstairs at the mercy of mother nature and I won't be doing that again.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Wed Nov 03, 2021 11:56 am


I understand about the mice. Tight metal boxes/trash cans can help.

We had a member lose her house in a tornado/storm some years back. It was scary.

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Wed Nov 03, 2021 1:08 pm


Sounds like a good plan - especially the bookshelves turned into cages. I don't have any ideas about the mice.

Do you have good reception for St. Louis (or maybe Little Rock) tv stations? Channels 2,4,5 have great coverage with the meteorologists telling you exactly where the tornado or circulation is & where it's headed and when to take cover. I was watching during this last round of tornadoes. I found out the hard way, if you have satellite tv you lose the signal during bad storms (I think that happened to our GL member). That's when I need it most so I dumped it as soon as I could.

I've lived most of my life in Kansas City and St. Louis and been through many, many of tornado warnings - only 2 close calls. Bottom line being it's still very unlikely you will be in the path of a tornado. But I always go to the basement when the sirens go off, with my family & pigs of course. I need to talk to the girls about how to deal with all 7 pigs in the small basement bathroom where we shelter. You won't be down there for long.

It's always good to have plans & supplies for emergencies. You probably know this: SE Missouri has some earthquake risk from the New Madrid Fault in the Boot Heel.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Wed Nov 03, 2021 11:13 pm


We're in the Springfield viewing area. They had damage that night near Mountain Grove. I've been told that it has been several years since the Mansfield area has had a tornado and we don't get them often, but when we do, it's usually very bad. I look at severe weather disaster the same way I do home security. You may never need to be ready, but if you aren't it's catastrophic to you. We got regular earthquakes in Reno from the many faults, but the fault system isn't anything near what they have in California and aren't capable of generating catastrophic earthquakes.

I have to finish repairs on the house from the bad roof. It's apparently been leaking for some time and finally gave way. When I got into it, I found quite a bit of water damage. Luckily it was all on the patio covering and none over the house. I've replaced the sheathing and reroofed the spot, but I have to rebuild the damaged side of the patio covering. Once that's done, I'm going to start on the shelter project. Oh, the perils of home ownership!

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Thu Nov 04, 2021 12:46 pm


If you have anyone in your family who's been a fan of the "Little House" books, you should know that the author, Laura Ingalls Wilder spent most of her adult life living on a farm outside of Mansfield. It's still there & husband & I went to see it many years ago. Husband calls it the shrine (ha,ha).

ClemmyOddieIndy

Post   » Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:10 pm


There is typically some warning that there will be a severe weather day ahead. During severe season I keep an eye on the weather and if there is a risk of tornadoes get everything prepared (kennels out, blankets ready, etc.). If a tornado watch is issued I watch the storms and when they get within 10-15 miles of my house I put them into the kennels and move them to shelter. That way if a warning is issued I only have to move myself, and if I wait until the storms are within 10-15 miles distance that will typically mean they're only in the kennel for 30-40 mins max. If a severe thunderstorm watch is issued I will watch closely and have everything ready, but I'm less likely to put them into their kennels unless the storms have a history of producing tornadoes. The average warning time for a tornado is about 10 minutes, so if you keep vigilant during severe weather season you should be fine.

Also, hopefully you won't be stuck in the basement long enough to need supplies. Tornadoes are typically quick events, and while people can get trapped in their basements more likely than not you'll be able to get out even if you take a direct hit, which you probably won't.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Thu Nov 04, 2021 10:15 pm


We've already visited Laura's Mansfield home. My wife is a big fan. She even named our oldest daughter after Caroline Ingalls.

When a tornado watch is issued, that's when we will gather the carriers and get everyone ready to go to the shelter. That's when I'll break out the bedding for the shelter cages and make them up. I use fleece blankets for bedding, so it will be easy to put it down and get the cages ready. I should be able to button everything up and repack it for the next storm when the danger passes. I even have extra tunnels and huts to go into them so the piggies have a place to hide. I imagine they'll need it under those circumstances.

ClemmyOddieIndy

Post   » Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:57 am


Also, don't forget to prepare for yourself as well as your animals. Make sure you're wearing a pair of solid/real shoes (not flip flops or sandals). Have something you can use to cover your head (bike helmets are great). Don't forget to grab wallets/purses. Have a weather radio.

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Fri Nov 05, 2021 12:53 pm


All good points, ClemmyOddieIndy.

I have a Caroline! My great-great grandmother was named Caroline, but Caroline Ingalls influenced my choice too. Laura's sister, Carrie was a Caroline also.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:29 pm


I have my shelter cages all figured out now. I have fitted the parts of one of the outside pens as doors. They actually fit well over the front of the shelf vertically. I'll have to add a lip on the bottom of each shelf to fill about a quarter inch gap and so I'll have something to latch them closed with. They're about 8 inches too short width wise, which I'll have to fill with plywood. That's not a bad thing, as it'll give the piggies a hiding spot.

I also found my locator beacon. I got it from the base fire department. If we get trapped under debris, we turn it on and it lets out a very loud and high pitched beep so rescue know we're there.

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Shanna
Supporter in '19

Post   » Tue Jan 11, 2022 8:12 pm


We had a storm shelter outfitted for us and our piggies. We rotated bedding, food, etc. 100% worth the piece of mind.

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