Backyard Bomb Shelters Are Making a Comeback! What You Should Know
Bomb shelters are the quintessential home add-on for those who tend to expect the unexpected. The 1960s were a time of unprecedented concern regarding the threat of nuclear war and that hysteria hasn’t gone anywhere. Bomb shelters are still popular among many homeowners and the need for one is still booming.
“There’s always been a demand for underground shelters,” said Dave French, a survival expert and business owner of a bomb shelter company. “Most people consider them a must have for weather events, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, financial collapse and that sort of thing.” But shelters specifically for bombs?
“People are concerned about protection from radiation and nuclear fallout, volcanoes, all kinds of things,” he said.”So yes, as threat awareness from all kinds of things grows, I guess you could say backyard bomb shelters are making a comeback.”
However, these are not your parents or grandparents bomb shelters. Many have luxuries the average home does not. Some are “off grid,” powered by solar or propane. Others tap into both standard electricity and solar or wind power. They have bathrooms, showers, washers, dryers and all the conveniences of a regular home – only underground.
If you’re serious about escaping the end of the world as we know it, the biggest bomb shelters in the US are also still available – if you don’t mind living in an abandoned missile silo, and you have a big budget. The properties can be a bit pricey (usually in the $500,000 to multi-million dollar range,) but if you need 15,000 square feet or more in an underground, bomb proof concrete structure – a few million dollars for your peace of mind is a bargain.
There are hundreds of shelter designs to choose from, but French advises homeowners to look for three critical things:
Site visit: “Look for a shelter manufacturer who is willing to take the time to come out to your land or site and inspect the soil. What kind of soil and where you put the shelter is important. Assess the soil, assess the ground. Make sure the ground is actually suitable for a bomb shelter. You don’t want to buy a shelter and install it, only to find out it’s below the water table,” he said.
Position, wind direction, stable soil, water availability and a lot of things can make or break a good shelter. Where you place it is as important as what kind of shelter you buy.
Customizable: “Find a company that will take the time to find out what you need. Do you want more beds or a larger common area? Shelters are customizable. A company that will work with you, and ask you questions about your lifestyle and needs is going to deliver a better shelter than one who doesn’t.”
He also advises homeowners to think about who will be occupying the shelter, for how long, and what your lifestyle is now.
“If you’re not a couch potato now, don’t expect to be comfortable being one for six months underground. Think about everything from entertainment to exercise equipment, cooking, sleeping arrangements, that sort of thing,” he said.
Secure: “Get a shelter that locks from the inside, that’s very secure, that you can go in and lock and not have to deal with that issue. Our shelters have steel hatches that lock from the inside. You want steel doors with multiple locking mechanisms that will keep people out.”
photo: Joel Bradshaw
“Anything is better than nothing,” French said. “Do something. It’s better to be prepared with what you can muster than to do nothing at all.”