Underground Bomb Shelter FAQ

Underground Bomb Shelter FAQ

What is an underground bomb shelter?

An underground bomb shelter is a sheltered room beneath at least 3 feet of soil, the sole purpose of which is to provide maximum protection from nuclear attack, including the blast wave and subsequent radioactive fallout.

Where should my underground bomb shelter be placed?

Your shelter should be placed where it is quickly accessible. How much time you have to reach shelter depends on the location of the detonation, the weather, and your distance from ground zero, so choose a location near your home, preferably in your back yard. The optimum location is situated deep enough to provide at least a 36-inch barrier between the shelter and the surface of the ground, whether that is under the patio or in the basement.

In the event of an attack, how much warning time will I receive?

How much warning you will receive depends on the type of attack. If an attack comes via missile, you may get several minutes warning from the emergency response system. If, however, it comes via a “dirty bomb” (a 1 to 10 kiloton nuclear device), do not expect any warning at all. Anyone close enough to ground zero yet fortunate enough to survive the blast wave will know immediately. If you are 10 or more miles away, you’ll likely have a minute or two to prepare for fallout.

How much time do I have to get into my shelter following an attack?

How much time you have primarily depends on your distance from ground zero. Those who are 5 to 10 miles away will have only a few seconds to react. In this case, ducking and covering literally is your best hope. If you are located at distances beyond that you will have a few minutes to move toward shelter. If you are 100 or more miles away, an hour or more is available. Areas affected by radioactive fallout could extend up to 500 miles or more beyond ground zero, where it may take half a day or more to reach.

How long can I survive in an underground bomb shelter?

How long you can survive will depend on a combination of factors, including your distance to ground zero and your basic supplies. Plan to stay sheltered for at least 4 days. The closer you are to the detonation, the higher the levels of radioactive fallout will be (and the higher the levels over time that you are exposed to). Expect to have to remain sheltered for several weeks if you are within a few miles of ground zero. Regardless of distance, one could survive in a well-constructed underground bomb shelter for months assuming enough supplies and circulating air is available.

How will I know when it is safe to come out of the shelter?

Stock your shelter with several pieces of communication equipment (AM/FM radio, ham radio, etc.) as well as a RAD monitor. The information you receive from radio reports, along with the knowledge you have about the blast will assist you in determining when it’s safe to come out.

How much will it cost to purchase a prefabricated underground bomb shelter?

While costs vary, a complete, professionally installed underground bomb shelter with the very minimal basics for survival costs about $20,000. A large, fully prepared underground bomb shelter can cost hundreds of thousands.

How much will it cost to build an underground bomb shelter?

A basic shelter built to withstand the effects of a nuclear attack will set you back about $2,500 in materials. If you use one of the plans in SFC Carter’s Big Book on Surviving a Nuclear Attack, you can build your own shelter for $5,000 to $6,000. A top-notch facility can certainly be built for less than $10,000.