Survival... • Foods • Medicine • Gear • Shelters • Techniques
Underground Survival Shelters
A basement may or may not be an adequate survival shelter
Underground survival shelters, in the case of many disasters, will provide the maximum protection possible. Storm shelters are always underground. Many basements are considered safe places, as they too are underground. Being underground during high winds protects you from being swept away. However, during tidal surges, hurricanes or flooding an underground shelter may not be the best place to be.
Digging a Pit
Underground shelters are not always built of stone or concrete. The original underground shelters were made by indigenous people all over the world. Digging into the ground they would make a circular pit. This pit would be covered with animal bones, animal hide, tree trunks, sticks evergreen branches or a combination of these types of things. If you can dig below the frost line, the earth will be warmer and never freeze. Snow falling on this type of a structure will provide an additional layer of warmth.
Use What's Available
Modern versions of this type of a structure have been built by a few people in as little as two days. When concerns about the big computer crash shortly before the year 2000 many survival groups tried out the early 1950s imminent nuclear attack procedures. Volunteers were notified randomly and given 48 hours to leave their homes, proceed to an unknown destination and prepare a shelter for themselves and their families. The groups that succeeded best spent time considering the best location for their shelter, used naturally occurring building materials and brought tools with them in their supplies from home.
Choose the Location Wisely
An important factor in constructing an underground shelter is where you place it. Choosing a spot near trees will mean you will be digging or cutting out roots for hours. Putting your shelter near running water may mean that water will seep into your shelter. Overflowing creeks or run off from rain may flood your shelter leaving you and your gear wet and without shelter. Rocks can be a nuisance however unless they are extremely large they can be moved and used later for other survival needs.
If you plan to make an underground shelter you will need a shovel. If everyone in your group has a shovel, the work will proceed much faster. The dirt that is removed from the ground can be used to cover the roof of your shelter. Placing a space blanket on top of the supports will prevent dirt from falling into your shelter. The depth of your shelter may depend on how much topsoil the area has. In some locations especially those higher in elevation there may only be a few feet of topsoil before you reach bedrock. While this may mean a shallow shelter, underground is sometimes better than above ground.
Caves also work as underground survival shelters. These can provide protection from wind, rain and snow. Depending on how deep they are they may also provide shelter from radioactive fallout. It is important that you check caves carefully before you decide to use them as a shelter. Animals can become dangerous when threatened and many predators like to live in caves. Desert caves may have poisonous insects or reptiles living in them. Check caves thoroughly before using them for shelter.
Pre-fab Works, too
Pre-fabricated underground survival shelters are also available. Ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars, these shelters arrive complete and ready to be placed in a prepared hole. There are many shapes, materials and creature comforts available when purchasing a ready to use underground shelter. Solar powered gadgets, water storage, plumbing and sanitary systems are just a few of the additions that many companies offer.
Basements as Perfect
For the do-it-yourselfer, plans on how to build underground survival shelters are available online and through retailers. Many plans are available which allow you to convert part of an existing basement into a survival shelter. For people who have limited resources or do not wish to alarm their neighbors, underground basement shelters may be the answer.
The world today is filled with many natural and man-made dangers. Knowing how to build an underground survival shelter or dedicating a portion of your basement as one will provide you additional survival protection.
For more specifics about underground survival shelters