Experts in container rentals, sales & customization
Let us help you today! 800.686.9114

How Portable Storage Space Helps Public Entities

Share this Insight:


Start Today

Whether you are looking for container solution to Rent, Buy or Modify, our custom container solutions will be perfect for you!

Get A Quote

Public entities like state and local government, city and county police departments, libraries, schools, community colleges and state vocational rehabilitation agencies need portable storage space for various reasons. Many state and local governments, agencies and offices struggle with space limitations and a lack of funding to construct new buildings or renovate existing ones.

Portable storage space often provides an easy, cost-effective solution for public services that need temporary space or something more long term. This can be especially true during a busy election season, an office remodel, or an emerging public health crisis. In this blog, we examine five ways public services can utilize portable storage space, how organizations can benefit from it, and a few examples of public entities using them right now.

Portable storage space used as a classroom.
Modified storage spaces can be used as a portable classroom for students.

5 Ways Public Entities Use Portable Storage Space

1. As Extra Space for Schools

Public school districts often need additional space to use as a classroom, for teacher meetings, or supplemental storage. School districts have used shipping containers for storage, science and technology labs, dorm rooms, gym lockers, hearing and vision testing, event ticket booths and concession stands at sporting events. Steel containers allowed some school districts to build in areas that were previously inaccessible by traditional construction, allowing students to start or continue their education seamlessly.

There are many examples of a portable storage space providing a benefit for schools. At Bard College in New York, the Department of Experimental Humanities’ Lab is constructed from four recycled shipping containers. At Ege University in Turkey, 35 secondhand shipping containers were used to construct a new research community on campus. In Africa, DigiTruck is a mobile classroom that brings digital skills and education to remote areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the DRC.

2. To Aid Public Transportation

Public transportation isn’t just about how people get to and from their destination. It’s also about the buildings and areas people use while waiting. In the Netherlands, a rail service survey found that travelers thought waiting times were too long at the Barneveld Noord station. This made some riders feel unsafe, especially since many stations in the county were desolate and unmanned by travel personnel. To make waiting for trains more enjoyable for passengers, the country installed shipping containers to enhance the look make it a safer station.

Following the Barneveld Noord revamp, the project continued across the. Netherlands. In total, 20 new stations we reimagined as part of the Prettig Wachten (or “Pleasant Waiting”) campaign. These destination points give passengers more comfort while waiting, and the lighting installation made the stations safer, especially in rural areas at night. Using containers helped to reduce the repair or replacement of stops and benefited in giving the particular public service a better reputation.

Portable storage space can be vital for highway construction projects, new building construction and to house supplies for holidays, festivals and other public events run by local and state governments. Public entities can also use movable storage for mass transit bike storage, items for public buses and tools for work trucks.

3. For Environmental Protection

Protecting the environment has become a pursuit for many public entities and services. Using sustainable materials not only helps to reduce harmful effects on the world but, in many cases, can helps reduce costs. As we noted with schools, some areas can’t use traditional construction due to its rugged or inaccessible environment. Portable storage space is often a wise alternative to traditional building methods. Steel containers are environmentally friendly and help reduce construction costs. Since they’re movable, it makes them advantageous to public services like education or emergency, as they can be easily relocated. And, because shipping containers are being repurposed or recycled, it reduces waste.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality needed a facility to monitor ambient air quality. It asked Southwest Mobile Storage to create a solution. The answer came in the form of a modified shipping container to keep important pollution monitors safe and secure.

Firefighters battle a blaze by spraying water in the center of the inferno.
Fire is just one of many natural disasters that occur worldwide. Portable storage spaces can be relocated to needy areas fast to assist with disaster relief efforts. Modified shipping containers are also used for firefighter training.

4. As Training Facilities for Firefighters

Portable storage spaces can also help save lives. Trained public service personnel, especially those in emergency services, are essential in keeping the public safe. These services require a specific skill set and expertise. This is especially true of fire departments. Lack of training for firefighters can result in death, not just for those in danger but for the firefighters themselves. According to Yale Climate Connections (at Yale University), the total cost of damages for the 2020 wildfires was $16.5 billion.

Fire training is crucial but can sometimes be challenging. Purchasing fire towers can be costly to fire departments, especially when these towers often have the same layout. This can be a disadvantage to firefighters, who need to adapt to an ever-changing environment when called into duty. Fire training structures created using ISO steel containers serve fire departments by giving personnel unique layouts to train. These include navigating corridors, climbing stairs, or observing different aspects of fire.

Fire Training Structures is a sister company to Southwest Mobile Storage. FTS builds stationary or mobile structures, depending on a fire department’s needs. These customized structures can help training scenarios because they allow firefighters to battle blazes in different environments. By doing this, it creates better real-world situations for training.

5. Portable Storage Space for Disaster Relief

For public services like ambulances, fire trucks, and search and rescue, the destructive power of disasters like tornados, earthquakes and hurricanes means that aid needs to come to victims swiftly. Shipping containers provide needed structure and plenty of space. A portable storage space can be relocated to needy areas quickly. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a nonprofit organization was able to deliver a container hospital to replace the main children’s hospital, which had been destroyed.

During a public health crisis like COVID, the number of people looking for help can overwhelm services (such as hospitals). During the recent pandemic, hospitals and medical clinics could use containers as additional ICUs, patient rooms and testing labs. This helped in treating not only patients suffering from COVID but those patients who were admitted for other ailments. You may have seen many companies using shipping containers during the pandemic to help expand or move their services to accommodate their customers. Public services faced several hurdles related to COVID, including a reduction in store capacity due to social distancing, shutdowns and supply shortages.

Buy or Rent Portable Storage Space

Southwest Mobile Storage rents and sells portable storage space for public associations and groups. We have branch locations in Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Los Angeles and San Diego. You can rent from any branch location. Our certified experts also modify custom containers that you can buy nationwide. No matter what industry or business you are in, we can meet your unique needs. Get a free quote now.

Related Content

Our blog is regularly updated with helpful news and tidbits about the ever-evolving world of shipping containers. Click on a link below to learn more!

Get A Quote Today!