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Considerations in Building an Underground Shelter


Many ideas have been discussed overtime to create an underground shelter. This website will not attempt to cover those ideas, because new ones are being created all the time and so what is written today may very well be outdated before it ever goes to press. If you are located within ten miles of the blast site, you can expect winds up to 2,000 miles an hour.

If you are within ten miles of the fallout site, you will only have a few seconds to take shelter so the best policy is to get as low as possible and shield your eyes and nose. If you live 25 miles away you may have a few minutes to get to your shelter. If you live 100 miles away, then expect to have an hour. If you live 500 miles away expect to have a half day.

The best plan is to place three different materials between you and the radiation. The outside layer should be concrete as neutrons are stopped by concrete. The second layer should be lead as gamma-rays are stopped by led. The third level should be aluminum, as alpha rays are stopped by aluminum.

Some general guidelines can be applied to all shelters. The minimum size of any underground shelter should be 106 square feet for five adults. For any additional people, an additional 20 square feet of living space should be included. This 20 square feet will allow enough space for water for a month, a year’s supply of food and other essential survival equipment.

When the shelter is constructed, if you live in a wet area you will need to reinforce the walls and floors. The easiest way to do this reinforcement is with ½-inch rebars spaced 12 inches apart. The roof should be constructed with at least six inches of concrete and covered by 30 inches of shielding earth. Thirty-six inches is considered the minimum that you should place your shelter underground.

It is important that the entrance to the underground shelter be as small as possible. Some experts suggest that an adequate size is two feet by four feet, while others suggest that you will need four feet by four feet. It is important that a door that can be tightly sealed against radiation protect the entrance. The door should be placed at a 90-degree entrance to the rest of the shelter. It is important that the shelter’s entrance be above the waterline when it rains.

It is important that the shelter to maximize all resources. For example, a worktable can also double as a cooking table. It is recommended that you paint all things in the shelter pure white. This includes the walls, ceiling, floor and furnishings. The minimal amount of light present in an underground shelter will reflect best off pure white.

These are just a few considerations to keep in mind when evaluating underground shelters. The most important consideration is that it needs to be located where you can get to it very quickly.

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