While CRS attempts to avoid storing relief supplies outside, it is not always possible. When indoor capacity is insufficient, or a warehouse has not yet been made operational, the following guidelines should be applied for outdoor storage:
Food Commodities: Only whole grain cereals, pulses and drums of vegetable oil should be stacked outside. No flours, blended foods or canned items should be left outdoors.
Storage sites should be firm and relatively flat (a slight slope is preferable), with good drainage and no danger of flooding.
Pallets or Dunnage: If necessary, create a raised platform out of gravel and surround the area with drainage ditches. It is also recommended the platform be covered with plastic sheeting under the pallets with enough sheeting overhanging that the sheeting can be lifted and tucked between the 3rd and 4th layers.
Cover stacks and equipment with plastic sheeting that is anchored (i.e., tied down) on all sides. Cover stacks with sheeting beginning at the lowest point on the stack and overlay with subsequent sheets moving towards the high point. This creates an effect like shingles on a house and helps resist the penetration of water. Place rocks or other heavy items (e.g., used tires) on the seams to prevent losing the sheets during high winds.