RSK shelters can be disassembled very rapidly and removed within minutes to create firebreaks. Once the 4 lashings anchoring the roof to the corner posts have been cut, the roof (and tarp if desired) can simply be carried away intact. Alternatively all the exposed lashings can be cut and the poles carried away in bundles. 

Taking down shelters with traditional lattice roofs takes far longer and is not a practical option when fire breaks out. The 

lattice is attached along its length to the side rafters and is very difficult to break into sections for carrying.

This rapid removal feature of the RSK can potentially be very beneficial in overcrowded camps where an acute shortage of space restricts the building of fire breaks.

The Sphere minimum standards for fire breaks are " the provision of a 30-metre firebreak between every 300 metres of built-up area ". In camps where space is severely limited for shelters this is very difficult to achieve and consideration could potentially be given to using modular RSK units that can be rapidly removed to achieve this standard.

Re- the above plan view diagram:

1. In this example a 10m wide firebreak has been built alongside a 5 metre wide road that runs through a  camp. It provides a total "firebreak 1" of 15 metres.

2. Building a row of 3 double RSK modular units as shown can potentially create a further 15 metres of firebreak. The "firebreak 2" is now 30 metres wide.


3. These RSK modular units are used for services ( not dwellings). The 3 double modular RSK units shown provide over 48 square metres of covered space. Further units can be added to increase space as required.  These service units can be anything from health care facilities to food distribution points.


4.By maintaining central control of their use, it would be possible to  efficiently train people to maintain its secondary purpose as an additional firebreak. 

5. In the event of fire breaking out these RSK service modules can be disassembled and removed within minutes to achieve the full Sphere 30 metre minimum standard.

6. Using these RSK  modular units in 2s or 4s  for services alongside narrower roads within a camp can also provide firebreaks where space is so restricted that none presently exist.

7. The aim of these proposals is to improve fire safety.



The complete bamboo poles used for RSK roofs are less combustible then the thinner bamboo, canes or split bamboo used for traditional lattice roof shelters. This can potentially save vital seconds to help the family to evacuate in the event of fire breaking out.


* Recommended transitional relief shelter. 

6 unit RSK

Double RSK unit opened up (MSF Bangladesh training unit)



Where large scale overcrowding of displaced families is anticipated, using the RSK for its potential inherent fire safety benefits may now be a consideration. We have demonstrated how quickly the RSK shelters can be taken down and removed. With minimal instruction families can now be shown how to disassemble their shelter and rapidly move away from an approaching fire to create natural fire breaks within minutes.


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