How to Build a Bomb Shelter

The more fearful among us may think that learning how to build a bomb shelter is just as relevant in these uncertain times as it was during the height of nuclear hysteria back in the 1950’s. But paranoia aside, a bomb shelter can have other practical applications as well. For instance, just as it is a shelter from nuclear fallout, it can just as easily be used as protection from harsh weather conditions.

Before building a bomb shelter, one should have everything well planned out first. Find the appropriate area on which to build the shelter. Determine whether the shelter would adjoin the basement (should one’s home happen to have one) or be built apart from the house. If it is the latter case, one would have to dig a hole into which the shelter will be built.

In constructing the bomb shelter, one should use either cinder blocks or concrete blocks. Begin with laying the foundation and the floor, then building from the foundation up to the walls. In order to water-proof the shelter, dig up trenches on every side measuring 1’ in both width and depth, and fill the trenches with perforated pipes and gravel. The trenches should be extended a few distances away from the shelter so that water can be carried away. Waterproofing paint should be applied to the shelter’s interior and exterior before infilling with dirt, and plastic sheeting should be installed to serve as a water-proof barrier.

It is vital that the bomb shelter’s roof be reinforced in order to support the weight of all the dirt that will be lying on top of it, as well as to be able to effectively shield its occupants from radiation, among other potential dangers. Support the roof with horizontal and vertical steel beams, and secure 2 layers of 1” plywood above the support beams. Place a layer of concrete blocks onto the plywood and cover them with water-proof plastic sheeting. Tin roofing material is then laid over the water-proofed blocks, and then covered under several feet of dirt.

As for the door of the bomb shelter, it is ideal to install a commercially-manufactured one framed in metal and cement. The door needs to be suitably heavy and airtight, and as such, the shelter must have ventilation system to provide a fresh supply of air. Build the ventilation with materials used for a typical HVAC system, which includes filters. It is also important to have a fresh water supply for drinking and washing available should one end up taking refuge in the shelter for a lengthy period of time. A well of fresh water may be drilled through the shelter’s floor, and a hand pump should be installed as well. In addition, it would also be wise to stock the shelter with a number of gallons of fresh drinking water.

The bomb shelter should also have an available source of heat for cooking food or for keeping warm in the cold. One may use an airtight wood-burning stove, but the exhaust would still have to be vented out. Keep a supply of wood to fuel the stove. The stove should be equipped with a water jacket that will allow water to be heated constantly. Keep in mind that the ground that surrounds the shelter would assist in keeping its temperature cool, yet stable. When stocking the food supply, make sure that the items are non-perishable goods. As for managing waste materials, make either an incinerator or a trash pit to deal with of garbage, and put in a composting toilet to take care of human waste matter.

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