When an Underground Bunker is Reasonable and Prudent

I am NOT a fan of underground bunkers in the name of preparing against a nuclear fall-out scenario.  In my opinion, it’s just plain overkill in light of what I believe to be practical. I recently watched a cast member of National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers” show who spent at least six figures just to install an empty underground bunker, located an hour and a half away from his home—which also means that he had to drop a pretty penny for the land as well. 

Then he went on to purchase all of the tools, furnishings, etc to fill it. There are so many things wrong with this scenario though. First of all, it’s way too much focus just to address one possible—and for the record, LEAST likely scenario. This was manifested when they were asked by the producer, “What’s for dinner?” “Dinner” consisted of ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese.  Yes, I realize that was most likely for the cameras and at the request of the field producer, but seriously?  I wouldn’t even be able to come up with that meal—cameras or not. It’s just counter-intuitive to spend so much time, effort, focus, and resources for an underground, nuclear proof bunker, to not even attend to having proper nutrition.

Secondly, it’s unrealistic to believe that IF such a scenario presented itself that it justified running to the hills to get to the underground bunker, um… good luck getting there—especially when it’s an hour and a half away. This makes absolutely NO sense at all. Out of all of the realistic scenarios for which we’d need to prepare to endure, there are very few which would merit this kind of a shelter.

Now, having said that, I should be clear in stating that I AM a big fan of retrofitting areas in your home which can serve as a panic room, a place to discreetly store essential items for long-term self-reliance, and/or a place which can provide a greater level of security in the event of a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake. Now THAT makes perfect, practical sense. And I believe that I’ve found the perfect, most cost efficient and least intrusive method to make this happen for most homeowners.  And yes, you can do it without using an entire year’s salary; and without letting the entire neighborhood or even the municipality in on the fact that you’re taking such measures.

I found this great solution at a recent trade show. It was love at first sight—the product, that is—both the inventor and myself are happily married. *grin* Picture this—a non-claustrophobic space, with enough storage space for a year’s supply of real food and other essentials for a family of 5 (modifications available), that is put in without the purview of your neighbors or local building inspector, and that runs less than $32,000 for the “Cadillac version”! Oh, and did I mention that you don’t need to put an addition on your home?  Instead, you put an addition underneath the one part of your home that most homes ignore—the garage!

Picture this. You have someone who’s just broke into the home. You have the kids trained to immediately respond to the first sign of danger to go out to the garage, jump down the hatch and securely lock the door--eliminating the emotional exposure to the potential danger and also taking them out of the formula of being used as leverage   against you. (This video will help you visualize it a bit better. ) Those kids won’t hear a thing and no one, with or without dynamite, is going to be successful very easily in  getting your family out of there. This is just one of the many scenarios I envisioned after speaking with Barry, the inventor of this product.

Barry’s background is in construction. So when he got to the point that he wanted to be better prepared for a disaster that might impact his home, he found himself very frustrated and even “angry” as Barry says, to discover that NONE of the underground options available could assure him that they would be able to handle flooding. This was something serious for Barry to consider since his home backs onto some gorgeous lakeside property.  So, Barry did what any smart person would do. “If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em” is what I always say, and that’s exactly what Barry did. He worked with skilled designers and architects and put together a perfectly strong and safe and AFFORDABLE solution for his family. He loved it so much he knew he had to start sharing it with others.

I love how Barry clearly thought of everything when designing this solution--including air flow, storage space, claustrophobia, water penetration, earthquake resistance, and so much more. Heck, he even came up with a great process to make sure that your neighbors don’t have a clue what you’re doing to your home. For all they know, you’ve just foolishly spent some money on a customized hot tub. If you were to look at the garage floor in Barry’s home, all you would see is a standard oil mat that covers the hatch door to the pod.  Even the air flow pipes coming out of the garage look just like any normal pipes that I’ve seen a dozen times around homes. Nothing out of the ordinary but truly an extraordinary feat. While this isn’t what I would consider as an alternative shelter for my home under a lot of crisis scenarios, it certainly does make my home safer as it provides me with an added level of security in the event that hard times bring about social unrest or Mother Nature throws a temper tantrum. I also like that gaining access to it doesn’t require that I own some kind of hardened armor car that’s loaded up with 100 gallons of gasoline. It’s right where a person would need it, making it the perfect place of refuge from a bad guy or two or even a tornado.

Mosey on over to Barry’s site and take a look at all of the possibilities. For some of you, this is a realistic next step and for others it might be more realistic of a plan to save up for.  Be sure to check out this interesting video. You can see that under some circumstances it IS acceptable for a grown man to still have G.I. Joe Barbie Dolls. :-) There are some other videos on his site too that you should check out as well.


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Comments

I will say that a couple situations I can envision for having a underground shelter "linked" to your home would be.
1. if you live in a place prone to wild fires. It is possible something could happen overnight or when you do not get warning and as a result you can retreat underground.. And Also
2. Living in a place that is prone to tornadoes.

At best we would have 18-30 minutes warning of a nuke strike. Your bunker being an hour and half away won't do you much good for that emergency. I was a NBC NCO in the Army and I was always stunned about certain mindsets. From you will never survive to you got all time in the world to react.
I agree with you do your best with a basement, or getting below ground level/ retrofit of living quarters. You need to survive about 2 weeks after the initial blast. Time should take care of most of most of the radiation. Just like all preps store safe food, water to drink. Oh sure you are at an extra risk of cancer, But there was a guy that got hit by 2 atom bombs both Hiroshima and Nagasaki and died this year or last at 85+ years.
I don't think a nuke would be used at ground level when an Nuke shot for an EMP would be so effective without all that nasty radiation to deal with.
A dirty bomb is diferent and I think more along lines of what a terrorists could do on a shoe string. But also easier to protect against, Plastic sheeting over windows and doors. Overpressure your home and use only exhaust fans should take care of most folks. Be ready and have masks and decom stations, Bucket for clothes outside, Strip, wash down outside, step through to a clean area wash and and have safe clothes to put on. It will be tough if you are body shy. But you don't want to bring any radiation in with you and is in the dust.

The privacy hut that is sold by Chemi-san is a great option for having a strip down area.

Where did you watch that episode of the nuclear bunker guy? They're coming to my house in a week and I'd like to watch it before they arrive. I don't have cable TV, though.

It's imbedded in the link on the article I wrote. You can also go to their site and click on "media" or "videos" and see them too.

This is a good looking product with a lot of great features. I like the idea of installing it under the radar. But the prices are still way out of my league. I live in a mobile home in north Florida with no basement or garage, so I am looking at some of the tornado underground shelters for storm safety and also a safe place for myself, my daughter and grandson when things go south. I found one that will fit six people for $6,000 installed. Figured there would be a little extra room for storing supplies like a tent (in case the house blows away), some food, water, cooking equipment, clothes, important papers, etc. I won't have the convenience of having the entrance in my home, but it can go right outside the back door. Still a big expense, but will give me peace of mind. Some states are giving rebates on these, but then big brother will have a record of it - not so under the radar then.

LOVE this site and I love all of the comments everyone writes in. I've learned so much from everyone so thank you!

In my opinion, anything that Big Brother has to know about isn't really an option for me at any price. I love the approach to installing this without everyone else's knowledge. So even if this particular option isn't viable, it should still provide options for from a strategic standpoint.

If you look at the video I linked to, you'll see that cell phones work in the first level of the structure. But the good thing too is that if it takes a few days to dig you out, you've got supplies in the structure to comfortably wait for excavation.

Use a cell phone to call for help? Uh, OK... If I run out of water in an emergency, should I use my cell phone to call Culligan for home delivery, too? Un-bookmarked.

Uh. Yes. A Cell phone. You didn't say anything about a nuclear attack. Geesh. I think you may have this site confused with one that only considers "end of the world" zombie scenarios. In which case you should know that I don't believe in preparing for end of the world scenarios. If God's intent on finishing everything, then far be it for me to think that I'm going to outsmart Him and survive anyway. Next...

For the rest of you, keep in mind that Communication is indeed one of the 10 Principles of Preparedness. In a scenario like this, it's important to consider that principle as well and plan accordingly. One of the things that makes a panic room viable and protected is the use of underground land lines and even emergency use cellular phones. Also, the fact that the door/hatch has hydraulics attached to it, it actually would serve as an excellent lever in getting some debris moved from the hatch, though that might pose difficult until you're able to determine the damage.

I have a tornado shelter from Sever Weather Pods. If you search "porch pod" on youtube, you'll find it. Part shelter, part root cellar, part neighborhood clubhouse. We're still working on getting it integrated into the landscape, but I'm very pleased with it.

I can't afford a bunker but I'm getting wood and concrete bricks for a reinforced area/root cellar for the basement. While we are at a fairly low earthquake risk in SW Idaho. Our structures are not built withstand even a moderate quake. I do worry a bit about fire a few Molotov cocktails thrown at homes will create major problems for me. Is it likely, no probably no more likely of a 6.0 earthquake. Is it possible? I think yes. I'd like to think folks are rational and think things through but after seeing some of the footage of #OWS I don't think they are quite rational. That scares me a lot. I may get passed over in the bedlam that these folks seem to want to create. But I sure don't count on it.

Hi Kellene!!!

I just wanted to weigh in on a few things.

There is a way out of the Security Pod if the entire house collapses on you. In the upper section there is a steel beam that pulls out over the the entrance tube. From inside you can remove 8 large nuts form the bottom of the hatch lugs and use a hydraulic jack (bought from a auto store) to lift the hatch and ant debr off of you.

I also looked at the proch shelter, its interesting but only for Tornados and even then........ its still half above ground... Im not sure what would happen if a big tree came along and smacked it. Its a shame you cant enter it from inside.....

Love your blog Kellene!!!

Guess I missed the place on his website that discusses how to install this with neighbors only thinking you are installing a hot tub? Aren't we talking backhoe, dumptrucks and a small semi to bring the pod in?

Great idea Barry I do love it. All for it or some sort of underground shelter, but I do have to say I was shocked at the prices. We have just a standard tornado shelter buried under a concrete slab and it works well for our application.

Could you elaborate on how are you flying under the goverments radar Kellene? Can't your purchase be tracked? Even a cash purchase of over $10k has to have a special form. I'm probably missing the obvious here sorry!

Ironically, it's when a person actually knows the laws and applies them to their life that their life doesn't become an open book for nosy folks. People call this kind of stuff loopholes. I call it laws they've been unsuccessful eliminating thanks to the freedoms we have IF we will learn them and apply them to our life. Cash for everything is also nice, Erin. I've sold a lot of things that were over $10K. (millions worth in a year, as a matter of fact,) and I never had to fill out or request any "special form."
Erin, I suggest you review Barry's website. He's got plenty of information on there.

Barry, the porch pod is ridiculously thick steel, It will stand up to anything an F5 tornado can throw at it, so a big tree isn't a problem. The same company sells underground shelters which can be entered from inside the home/garage. This one is specifically designed for mobile homes, though I have a regular house. I had to go with partially above ground because I am claustrophobic and needed something that I knew I would enter without hesitating a moment.

1. I see nothing wrong with having a long term shelter hours from your home in a secludef area. A nuclear shelter hours from where you are is debatable.

2. If the house collapses or debris falls on that hatch then everyone inside the pod will begin a long period of screaming.

Otherwise, it is neat!

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