As well as using a lightweight frame roof overhead the RSK shelters has three additional safety features:
a). The roof is load bearing.
Independent tests ( data provided) have demonstrated the considerable load bearing capacity of the RSK roof frame. Due to poor quality bamboo often being used in emergencies we do not advocate these excessive loads.
However, in some circumstances, this ability to support loads is reassuring; especially when a cover of foliage is being used to help cool the shelter in the tropics or a layer of snow has built up in cold climate that would otherwise collapse the roof of a tent.
b). The fire risk is reduced.
The complete bamboo poles used for the RSK roof are less combustible then the split bamboo or thin bamboo canes used for traditional lattice roof shelters. In addition, the RSK shelters can be disassembled and removed in minutes to create a fire break especially in overcrowded camps. This is far more difficult to achieve with lattice roofs and their multiple attachment points.
c). All RSKs have a severe storm option.
The roof frame of any RSK shelter can easily be swung down to the ground to dramatically lower the wind profile of the shelter within 5 minutes.
Once the frame is lowered the edges of the tarpaulin and frame can then be anchored to the ground with heavy bamboo stakes and ropes, or buried in a trough dug around the perimeter of the shelter.
The aim is to prevent the wholesale collapse that occurs with traditional makeshift shelters in severe storms. It also gets the family down and close to the ground at a time when airborne debris, especially CGI sheeting, is most dangerous.
The feedback we have had from individuals living in regions prone to severe storms that have seen the storm option demonstrated has been very postive. We now need to further assess the shelter under very high wind conditions to evaluate its full value.
Storm shelter opened up in MSF training 2018
Anchoring the edges of a storm shelter to the ground Myanmar Delta village 2016
The roof frame is cut free from the two highest posts and the posts removed.
The roof frame is then swung down to the ground.
The survival capsule is anchored to the ground with heavy bamboo stakes and ropes over the top of the roof frame.
The tarpaulin edge is buried under lengths of bamboo in a trough dug around the edge of the shelter.
The wind profile of the prototype tubular steel RSK we tested in a high speed wind tunnel was very similar to that of the storm shelter.
There is every indication from our field work that the bamboo storm shelter frame can perform equally well.