For many who work in emergency medical response, the shipping container has proven an absolutely critical tool in fast deployment. The advantages offered by a storage container over a conventional building or a tent are countless:
- They’re ready-to-go. No construction is required whatsoever. A shipping container can simply be trucked in and dropped wherever urgent care is needed.
- They’re sturdier than tents. A medical tent may work well enough in fair weather, but it’s unlikely to withstand a storm, and prolonged exposure to sunlight can ruin the canvas.
- Containers are highly customizable. Converting an existing building offers few options if any modifications are to be made. We’ve even seen totally self-contained units with solar power built right into the structure so that the structure is ready to use as soon as it is deployed.
- Labor efficiency. Even the simplest of conventional buildings will require a full construction team to complete, along with several trips back and forth for supplies. This can be a major problem in situations where time is of the essence and resources are limited. A shipping container only needs to be transported to where it needs to be.
- Permanence. Or rather, a shipping container will last as long as you need it. A tent needs to be taken down, a building is there to stay. A shipping container can be picked up and moved wherever it’s needed once it’s fulfilled its purpose here.
- Less paperwork. Put simply: You need a building permit to build. You don’t need one to haul a storage container off of a truck.
Shipping Container Insulated Container Uses
The uses for an insulated shipping container are effectively endless, but in the medical response field they essentially serve two key functions:
1) They can be deployed in remote areas where there’s not much infrastructure. Around the globe, we’ve seen fully functioning hospitals essentially built from little more than one 40-foot shipping container after another. This means that medical professionals can secure a safe, sanitary working environment no matter where they are.
2) They can be used to expand on a medical facility in instances where the core facility is at capacity. No matter how many people you hire and how hard you are willing to work, you can only fit so many hospital beds into a single building. A 20-foot shipping container can provide the extra space that you need in order to meet the needs of a community.
3) They are great for on-site cold storage. Refrigerated or Reefer containers can be repurposed for other uses within a variety of different industries. They are traditionally used to transport food. But refrigerated shipping containers have practically unlimited applications when used for on-site cold, secure storage.
Of course, a 10-foot shipping container or a 20–foot storage container can also be used for, well, storage. A refrigerated shipping container may be able to hold medical samples and temperature-sensitive supplies when the hospital or clinic’s storage is at capacity. But, the life-saving capabilities that these containers offer is what’s really worth highlighting.
The main problem we face in the modern world is not a shortage of resources, but a shortage of access to those resources. In some areas, supplies and services are badly needed, while in others, there is an abundance of these same supplies and services. But connecting the need to the supply isn’t always easy.
Help Where We Need It – When We Need It
There are a lot of people out there who need help right now, but it’s not just “right now.” There are always people out there who need help that they’re not getting. Shipping containers are only one small part of the puzzle. The heart of medical outreach is a devoted team of professionals and the resources to support them. But, as an affordable, accessible, portable alternative to tents and permanent structures, these containers can be a critical piece of these life-saving efforts.