Research on the Self-Help Survival System Disaster Prevention Park in Cold City

by Liu Xiaoguang, Feng Yao, Li Guanghao Associate Professor, SOA, HIT


The low-temperature and freeze disaster as secondary disasters bring serious harm to human beings of cold city who avoid the disaster outdoors in winter. The self-help survival facilities such as thermal insulation (including making fire facilities, shelter facilities etc.), catering facilities (including watering facility, food facilities etc.) are necessary conditions to ensure self-help survival of human being. Landscape area of urban agriculture, urban fishing, urban forestry, and urban camping in Disaster Prevention Park of cold city provide solutions for food, water, materials and camp problems.
Keywords: Cold City, Disaster Prevention Park, Self-Help Survival

1. Introduction

At present, urban disaster is an increasing problem. Disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, typhoons, landslides, disease, and pollution etc., take a toll heavy of life and property every day. Adding insult to injury, the disasters in the cold cities (generally means the cities which average daily temperature is below 0 ℃ for more than three consecutive months in a year. Usually refers to the cities of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Beijing, Mongolia, Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Tibet and other regions in China), with their unique characteristics of low temperature, freezing, storms and snow, even become direct killers. Apparently, the victims in thin clothes will be killed in the biting cold wind in a short time since they have nothing to go by (for more details, please see the film the Day after Tomorrow). Therefore, the winter is the most unfavorable disaster time for cold city, when people go outdoors to avoid original disaster, they also have confrontation with the same dangerous secondary disasters which mainly are low-temperature freeze disasters.
Essentially, the cold city is inevitably in the low-temperature freeze disaster every winter. Simply because the disasters are stopped to actually incur by protection facilities like buildings, they are not paid to due attention. Once the original disasters destroy this layer of artificial barriers, the threat of low-temperature freeze disaster immediately comes to light. Therefore, the original disaster may happen by accident .However, when people go outdoors to avoid disaster, they are inevitably in low-temperature freeze disaster. Based on burstiness of original disasters, the immediacy and seriousness of low-temperature freeze disaster, as well as the hysteretic of the rescue, self-help survival problem (ie. self-aid) is the first problem to be solved in urban disaster prevention and shelter pre-arranged planning.
Unlike most of city landscape for the purpose of tour, the disaster prevention park plays an important role in urban disaster prevention and disaster shelter system. Since it can not only resist earthquake and fire, but also be readily for rescue, with advantages of broadness and flatness. The disaster prevention park in cold city also considers the most unfavorable factor, namely, that is living conditions can only draw on local resources before the arrival of external aid in low-temperature freeze disasters, How to meet the requirements of self-survival is the key problem to be studied and solved in the disaster prevention facilities.

2. Basic survival needs of low-temperature freeze disaster

At the low temperature freeze disaster, vital needs of human is actually simple, namely keeping warm and food, returning to the basic needs of life–food and clothing.
2.1 Constant temperature requirement
Human beings are homoeothermic animal, so they need to maintain the standard temperature at 36.5 ℃. In disasters of cold city, cold and wind will cause loss of body temperature leading to frostbite or death. Medical research shows that when the temperature is at 25 degrees, the body is consciously blurred; below 20 degrees the body will lose consciousness; below 15 degrees it would be unconscious; below 10 degrees it will die in a few minutes. The outdoor temperature in cold city from the day (such as -10 ℃) to night (such as -35 ℃), is enough to kill a person. Therefore, to maintain body temperature is the special problem to be solved in disaster prevention of cold cities first of all.
2.2 Diet requirement
During disaster period, the most important need for human is water except temperature. Human beings should drink 2-3 L water a day on average, at least 1 L. The statistics show that people can survive for three weeks without food, but they can only be maintained for three days without water. So the disaster prevention park must provide water source.
Compared to water, the need for food is also essential, although it is less urgent. Food is the source of body energy, the daily intake per capita should generally be guaranteed at 2000 calories to ensure a normal life. In a cold climate, the body temperature is rapidly lost, it need food to ensure that the body produces heat. The disaster prevention park should provide food sources (such as grains, tubers, nuts, meat, salt, etc.), and processing facilities as possible.

3. Design strategy of self-help survival facility

For above requirements, disaster prevention parks in cold areas shall establish a set of self-help survival facility to ensure the survival of lives that can wait for rescue with adequate physical strength. The self-help survival facility includes two basic parts at least: thermal facilities and catering facilities, which involve four basic aspects: fire, shelter, water, food.

3.1 Thermal facilities
Clothing, shelter, making fire are the three main factors for keeping warm, of which clothing is the first line of defense for human beings. The basic principle of thermal insulation clothing is layered principle in order to remain that the air does not flow. The fluffy filling in the middle layer of clothing plays an essential role of thermal effect. In case of emergency, disaster prevention park should provide materials to be converted into clothing, such as canvas on pavilion tent, reed and fluff produced by bullrush etc.. Making fire facilities and shelter facilities are even more important in the infrastructure system of the park.
3.1.1 Making fire facilities
Making fire facilities that are active warm keeping measure, it is the fundamental solution to low temperature. Fire, which is essential for human beings survival, can not only provide heat, lighting, water heating, cooking, drying fabric, but also be a signal for help. At the same time, fire may provide hot food so as to solve the internal problem of heat input, such as turning the snow and ice into water, the cold food into hot, the raw into cooked. Therefore, Disaster Prevention Park may provide far more possible services for making fires. Making fire facilities consist of five parts: fire, tinder, kindling, fuel, fire bed.
(1) Fire, getting fire by drilling into wood and making fire with flint are the most primitive but effective methods. Getting fire by drilling into wood, that is, with fast rotating of cylindrical wooden stick above the opening plank, heat generated by friction is turned into the fire. The wooden drilling and planks can make use of the trees with medium hardness such as Yang, willow, pine etc.. Making fire with flint means that sparks produced by stone, metal and stone crash is turned into fire. Fine and hard quartz is suitable for flint, and quartz rock, yellow (white) iron may be the substitute. The park should have local area composed of small flint and metal as the landscape, special steel, metal, magnesium rods should also be prepared in the offices and the pavilion of the park.
(2) Tinder, a material that ignites quickly to avoid fire vanishing, may use birch bark, pine bark and hay. Fluffs of bullrush or reed are one of the best tinder.
(3) Fuel, which burns steadily and releases enough heat when ignited may be trees, grass and so on. Park should plant enough arbor trees, shrub and grass, mainly with arbor tree. When necessary, it is permitted to do the cutting, just to make post- disaster re-seeding will be all right. It is not suggested to clean-up the natural litter which should be changed into fertilizer on the spot, and picked up to make a fire in an emergency.
(4) Fire bed, that is, platform between the fire and ground in order to ensure the burning fire, should select the hard ground with stones, usually used as a picnic place. At the same time, it should be located under the wind, combined with a picnic pavilion, seat which can be dismantled (turned into kitchen stove after dismantled), stone bench and other facilities.
3.1.2 Shelter facilities
Shelter, that is passive thermal-insulating measure, is the second external line of defense, such as the pits, holes, pavilions, walls, roof etc. in parks. The first function of shelter is windproof, which can prevent the body heat taken away quickly by wind through direction and leakproofness. The second function is to keep warm. Shelter will effectively raise the local environmental temperature. Take snow cave for example, in the cold period, the temperature is -35 ℃ out-cave, while it is -10 ℃ inside the cave, relatively reducing frostbite and lengthening the time waiting for help. So Disaster Prevention Park should be able to provide temporary shelter. From the closing degree and space approach, shelter can be roughly classified into three types: the caves, pavilions and barriers.
(1) Cave. Many caves in rockery are used as good temporary shelter, and adventure zone and recreation facilities of park may have space like caves.
(2) Pavilion tent. One kind is made of the existing enclosed cotton, canvas, rain cloth, oilcloth etc. It can use the original structures such as pavilions, corridors, or the trees. The appropriate interval of planting between the arbor trees is 3 meters in order to match the tent. Another kind is entirely to take the evergreen trees and more branches (such as pine) as the main framework with plants, covered with branches around the enclosure for the keel, and also with grass, tree branches etc. constituting a shelter. In the area without trees, it can also make use of tall grasses such as reed to bundle as a support framework covered with mats by tying knots.
(3) Barrier. With landscape walls, retaining walls, valleys and others as wind barriers, it can be enclosed by tree branches and masonry. If it is on snow ground, digging snow pits or making snow into the solid blocks is to build snow hole and houses.
3.2 Catering facilities
3.2.1 Watering facility
In addition to the embedded water storage tank, there are only natural waters such as lakes, ponds or snow to provide stable water source. Because outdoor watering facilities in the cold park will let the water drain away in order to prevent frost heave of water in winter, they can not be use for emergency water source. Therefore, the park should set up natural waters as temporary water source which mainly rely on collecting rainwater. Before served as drinking water, snow and ice must be melted into water and through purification, under extreme conditions, the simplest way is to fire water boiling. The melting ice is easier, its water collection efficiency is 2 times higher than the melting snow. It is necessary to provide with the tool for taking ice and container for water.
3.2.2 Food facilities
The disaster prevention park should set growing areas and culture areas for breeding of animals or growing of plants with the edible and ornamental value, which are usually hidden or difficult to eat, used to meet an emergency at a critical time. Such as day lily, soybeans, beans, peas, wheat, sunflower, corn, rice (as rice field in Shenyang university of architecture ) which can be easily grown and kept above the ground; such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts which can be easily grown and kept under the ground, such as the pine trees, acorn, hazelnut, walnut which can be easily grown and kept on the tree; such as the lotus, fish, frogs, etc which can easily live under the water. Moreover they also include a consideration of food processing equipment.

4. Planning strategy of self-help survival system

Given the above-mentioned necessary functions of facilities is integrated, we can conclude that Disaster Prevention Park should plan to form the self-help survival system constituted by the four kinds of basic landscape functional areas. These four kinds of functional areas respectively are: landscape areas of urban agriculture, landscape areas of urban fisheries, landscape areas of urban forestry, landscape area of urban camping, solving the problems of food, water, materials, and camping respectively. Depending on the self-survival system, we can basically meet the special needs of disaster prevention under extreme conditions of winter city.
4.1 Landscape areas of city agriculture
The area mainly supplies the source of food and fuel, growing crops such as day lily, soybeans, beans, peas, wheat, sunflower, corn, rice, etc.. It has large areas available for overall planting to form the urban agriculture .it can provide a unique agricultural landscape, offer popular science education, regularly hold the royal ploughing ceremony, attracting the public participation and attention of farming culture and history. It may also be planning to discrete layout, with the crops as a special type of landscape elements, interspersed between regions in the landscape. It is possible to make a flexible layout of which there may not only be overall, but also be scattered according to requirements.
4.2 Landscape areas of urban fisheries
The area mainly provides water and food sources, as well as building materials. Composed of certain areas of water, it is replenished by rainfall, and is formed urban fisheries by aquaculture. First of all, the water area is used for water source itself; secondly, it can breed fish and frog. it is usually a normal fish pond for catching, but there are some fish left, which may be feeding on in a crisis. It can also use as fishing area to provide fun and operating income. The water of culture zone shall not be too shallow for Overwintering fish and frogs. We can grow lotus, which is suitable for eating in winter. The margin waters should be planting reeds and bullrush, which fluff is both tinder for making fire and a substitute for cotton, filling in the layer of clothes or inside bed mattress to keep heat. Reed, reed leaves can be used to not only make a fire, also set up tents as a material.
4.3 Landscape areas of urban forestry
The main area provides construction materials and making fire material. By planting a certain area of the arbor tree, shrub, grass, vines to form a urban forestry, it is not only the urban ecological green lung, but also a material base. In order to provide the skeleton materials for construction of shelter, more much-branched evergreen trees should be planted, such as pine. And arbor trees which is easy to be processed such as poplar. Hanging leaf trees should also be planted, such as the Mongolian oak so as that tree trunk is directly covered with leaves forming the framework. In order to provide binding material climbing plant like creeper, grape vines etc. should be planted, as well as hemp, willow (which flexible bark can be used) and so on. In order to provide making fire materials, such as getting fire by drilling into wood, more timber tree should be planted in sufficient quantities for obtaining fuel, oil-rich plants should be planted, such as birch bark, pine etc..
4.4 Landscape area of urban camping
The area, consisting of flat camping area, wind barrier area and fire protection picnic area, mainly provides shelter and living spaces. It is ordinarily used as the leisure experience zone for camping and picnic in urban community, when disaster comes, it may be changed into camping site. Camping area should be leeward sunning dale, flat and open so that it is easy to watch and communicate. The floor is preferably hard so as to load the tent, it will be better if setting high platform of wood frame is possible, so as to improve the insulation effect. Barrier area should be located in the upwind direction of camping area to avoid the cold strikes. It can not only use artificial hills, slopes, buildings, structures, etc. As the barrier, also use hedge of dense-planting evergreen shrubs, trees with a certain height and thickness. The picnic areas should be in the downwind of the camping area, also near the water source. The main materials of the floor should be hard so it is ready for resisting fire; it is the best to set the facilities such as stove, pool with conditions for shedding rain, which is easy to maintain and manage usually. When disasters occur it is easier for use directly. Meanwhile, picnic area should be provided with tools such as steel, metal and magnesium rods etc. which are easy to make fire with, to make fire with flint on stone landscape materials. Also the tools used for breaking the ice and construction such as such pick, axes, spades, etc. (made into framework and accessories as landscape); should be provided with, as well as the cooking containers (usually made into metal pots, cans, buckets, boxes as landscape) and other necessary equipment.

5. Conclusion

Under the extreme climatic conditions, the low-temperature freeze disaster after original disaster is impossible to avoid with extensive damage. Since it is easy to be ignored, the damage law needs continued study. The idea that is excessively dependent on the external rescue is a dangerous inclination. Firstly, the rescue has uncertainty, for example, how to deal with the problems such as the obstruction of rescue path, insufficient material to rise. Secondly, once local disaster turned into general disaster, how people react when they are even unable to fend for themselves. Self-help survival facilities are the important strategy to ensure disaster survival. However, we do not make enough research on disaster prevention park design and plan in cold area. The paper only offers some superficial strategic discussions, and hopes to attach attention to it. From the angles of self-help survival, we should develop a thorough study of plan and design of Disaster Prevention Park.


John Wiseman. The SAS Survival Handbook. Beijing: HuaWen Press, 1999.

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