People say that history repeats itself and we should learn from the past. Being faulty human beings, we just don’t. That’s why it’s time to start building bomb shelters again. Apparently, we didn’t learned a thing from the Cold War.
During the 1950s, schools conducted drills that taught children to hide under desks and file into fallout shelters. At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, bomb shelters were a booming American business. In the 21st Century, we face nuclear proliferation once again. Any half-baked terrorist group has the potential to get their grubby hands on enriched uranium and detonate a dirty bomb. So, before the bombs start bursting in air, here’s how to construct a bomb shelter.
Step 1: Prepare the Ground
Before you ever do any digging, contact the utility companies to mark any electric or gas line in the area. Dig a trench to fit the size of your bunker. Existing hill sides are excellent. Keep in mind that you’ll be putting a low door and stairs up to a surface door. Also, three feet of earth will cover the shelter to protect against radiation.
Step 2: Working with Concrete
Level the base to prep for a concrete slab/foundation. Pick a spot for a toilet. Dig down four more feet there and a width of about four feet. Drive metal stakes to form a three-foot circle in the hole. Wrap with several rounds of wire mesh and fill the outside with gravel, leaving the center vacant. Cover with 2X4s and plywood. Place a toilet-sized piece of PVC standing straight up through the middle. You’ll remove the pipe later.
Build the outside forms to house the concrete out of 2X10s and secure them with strong stakes. The edges should form a thicker footing. Dig down there at least 8 inches deep for the outside 12 inches. You’ll be building on top of that. Put down four inches of crushed stone as a base. Lay out #10-gauge wire for reinforcement. Once prepped, pour the concrete and level.
Step 3: Setting Cinder Blocks
Construct cinder block walls set in four inches from the slab’s lip. Account for the installation of a metal insulated door. Some people like to pour soft wet concrete into the blocks for additional strength and air tightness.
Step 4: Building the Roof
Once you’ve achieved the desired height, use strong pressured treated lumber to construct a roof. It needs to be air tight and waterproof. Incorporating a thick plastic veil isn’t a bad idea. Looks are irrelevant, everything will be buried anyway.
Step 5: Install an Entrance
Install stairs, the lower level door that opens inward and a blast door at the surface. A standard thick-metal bulkhead door will suffice.
Step 6: Ventilate and Plumb
Install two, 4-inch PVC air ventilation pipes through the roof and one for power. You can incorporate filters and a small, battery-operated fan to circulate clean air. Several manufacturers make Air Supply Ventilators that are effective. Duct boosters with fans can be added inside as well. Wrangle out the toilet pipe and install a waterless unit over the hole.
Step 7: Power it Up
Set up a powerful solar generator. Get, or make one that provides you with several weeks’ of energy. Run the lines up through your PVC pipe to panels and seal. Install LED light fixtures and a surge protector.
In the event of a dirty bomb explosion, the heaviest radioactive fallout happens in the first 24 hours. Prevailing winds will determine how long you’ll need to stay underground. If upwind, you may be safe after just 72 hours. Downwind shelters will take longer. Estimate two weeks minimum and stock accordingly. For all our nuclear disarmament progress, we’re heading underground. Welcome back to the 1950s.