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Survival Shelter Underground

Survival Shelter Underground

An underground shelter must have adequate ventilation.

When building a survival shelter underground there are some basic guidelines that should be followed. Protection from water seepage or moisture condensation is one of the necessary problems to be addressed. The same construction methods for protecting basements in areas with a high ground water table should be used for waterproofing the outer and inner underground shelter walls.

Roof widths in underground shelters should be minimized to avoid problems from the weight load caused by the earth covering. This applies only to shelters that are not built under an above-ground structure.

Building a survival shelter underground requires some special considerations for egress. If the shelter is intended to provide protection from a nuclear blast, then a door and frame made of heavy-gauge steel is best. However, a heavy-duty fire-rated exterior door, available at your local building supply store, will work for all except nuclear scenarios.

A good door won’t do much good if you fail to install a fireproof gasket seal around the door or mount the door in such a way that it cannot be opened if outside debris blows up against it. To provide more security and strength to an inward-opening door install several deadbolts and even a couple of bar locks that cross the door and lock into the frame.

For long-term survival situations there are a few other considerations when building a survival shelter underground. Ventilation, lighting, sanitation, as well as food and water storage are major considerations. Loss of power almost always accompanies any emergency situation that would require seeking shelter below ground, as such there should be some provision made for alternative power such as battery, solar or even hand-cranked radios and lights.

Any underground survival shelter should have more than adequate provision for ventilation. Surviving a tornado but dying from lack of air kind of defeats the purpose of the shelter. Don’t just assume that a pipe sticking up through the ground and covered with a little tin roof and some screening to keep out the bugs will be sufficient to provide air for shelter occupants.

Another consideration that will be quite important is the question of waste disposal. For a short stay the bucket and bag system recommended by the proponents of a 72-hour disaster preparedness might work fine. Even better might be the small compact porta-potty with a removable waste storage container that can be removed and dumped; perfect for a couple of people for 4-7 days. If you are anticipating a longer stay, a self-contained composting toilet might be a better choice.

There are a many considerations when building a survival shelter underground, not the least of which are food and water. Government agencies like FEMA or ready.gov recommend at least one gallon of water each day for each person. The shelter should also be stocked with at least enough food to last for 14 days. Dehydrated food takes the least amount of space and has a shelf life of 2-5 years.

When building your survival shelter underground, make sure you do your research. Don’t just assume that you know what to do. Taking short cuts now can destroy you faster in the event that you have to rely on the shelter for survival than if you just taped plastic over your windows and huddled under the bed.

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