Use Your Root Cellar For A Storm Shelter
Those who are interested in survival will often install a root cellar to help preserve their produce. Root cellars have actually been in use for hundreds of years, but they
really came into being in 17
th Century England. When emigration to the New World began, the English settlers brought their expertise in constructing these early
refrigerators with them. Wherever the colonists settled, they made root cellars. The cool temperature and constant humidity enabled them to keep their root crops and other foods fresh longer. The cellars were used to keep dairy and meat products cool during the summer as well.
Constructing A Root Cellar
Root cellars can be made in several different ways. Quite a few people, when constructing a home, will make a root cellar adjacent to the regular basement. This is a very convenient way to access your produce at any time. Alternatively, root cellars can be dug into the side of a hill. The interior should be finished off with cement blocks or wood. If rodents are a problem, it should be lined with hardware cloth. A door should be fitted to the entrance. It is also possible to simply build a structure out of cement blocks and cover it with soil. Some people dig down into the ground and line the pit with wood. These root cellars are generally accessed by a ladder and usually have a small shed built over the entrance.
Besides being great for storing root crops, root cellars are also a good place to keep your
emergency supplies. Your emergency water will be kept cool and out of the light, and the constant low temperature of the cellar will help you get the maximum shelf life out of your emergency food supplies.
A Refuge During Storms
Besides their obvious use for food storage, root cellars can also prove invaluable if you live in an area that is subject to tornadoes. They can serve the same function as a safe room. For those living in ‘Tornado Alley’ they can prove to be a life saver when a
tornado strikes. As a root cellar is basically an underground
room, it will provide sanctuary for you and your family when a tornado warning has been given or you have sighted a tornado. Even if your home is destroyed by the tornado, you will be safe in the root cellar.
If you plan on using your root cellar for this dual purpose, you will probably want to add a few more items to it. A battery powered or wind-up radio should be in the cellar and a cell phone if you have it. Make sure there are several
flashlights available and a blanket or two and some warmer clothing (kept in a plastic bag on account of
the high humidity in the cellar) will also be a good idea. If you already are storing your
emergency supplies in the root cellar, there should be little problem with food and water should you have to take refuge for several hours.