Shelter Site Selection, FM 21-76

SHELTER SITE SELECTION

5-2. When you are in a survival situation and realize that shelter is a high priority, start looking for shelter as soon as possible. As you do so, remember what you will need at the site. Two requisites for shelter are that it must—

  • Contain material to make the type of shelter you need.
  • Be large enough and level enough for you to lie down comfortably.

5-3. You should focus on your tactical situation and your safety when considering these requisites. You must also consider whether the site—

  • Provides concealment from enemy observation.
  • Has camouflaged escape routes.
  • Is suitable for signaling, if necessary.
  • Provides protection against wild animals and rocks and dead trees that might fall.
  • Is free from insects, reptiles, and poisonous plants.

5-4. You must remember the problems that could arise in your environment. For instance, avoid—

  • Flash flood areas in foothills.
  • Avalanche or rockslide areas in mountainous terrain.
  • Sites near bodies of water that are below the high-water mark.

5-5. In some areas, the season of the year has a strong bearing on the site you select. Ideal sites for a shelter differ in winter and summer. During cold winter months you will want a site that will protect you from the cold and wind, but will have a source of fuel and water. During summer months in the same area you will want a source of water, but you will also want the site to be almost insect free.

5-6. When you are considering shelter site selection, remember the word BLISS and the following guidelines:

  • B-Blend in with the surroundings.
  • L-Low silhouette.
  • I-Irregular shape.
  • S-Small.
  • S-Secluded location.
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