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Frequently Asked Questions – Survival Bunkers

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Why do you need a survival bunker?

For anyone who is considering, or who has already built a survival shelter the reasons for wanting to have one depend on each person. Who knows what the future could hold? From climate change-related disasters, nuclear war, deadly and spreading diseases to a zombie apocalypse. People have their own reasons for doing anything. Regardless of the reason, having an emergency survival shelter gives many people a peace of mind that no matter what happens they will have a place to keep their families safe or to store emergency supplies in the event of a disaster.

How much does it cost to put in a bunker?

The cost of building a survival shelter greatly varies depending on what kind of shelter you want to build, where you want to build it, and what kind of amenities you want to include in it. Routing electrical, plumbing, ventilation, entrances and exits, and stocking the bunker with various supplies can get very expensive. And that’s not even considering the initial cost of renting or hiring excavators to dig out the site for your bunker.

Some people choose to pick a location that isn’t in or around their home. They want to be able to escape a disaster and head for the safety of their hidden bunker elsewhere in an undisclosed location so that the neighbors don’t know that they have a safe haven to flee to. Most people want their bunker to be private and discreet to avoid being pillaged by unwelcome survivors. Others want to make sure that they can get to their bunker quickly, so they might build their survival shelter in their backyards or even underneath their house.

When it comes to building under your house, naturally there are going to be some higher costs involved as foundations will have to be broken and it can be very tricky to start digging underneath a building where there is no way to get machines in to help make the process easier. Either way, after the costs of excavation, are out of the way, there are the other factors that are most important that come with hefty price tags.

Ventilation is one of them. A good ventilation system can run you anywhere between $7,000-$10,000, not including the installation. Installation isn’t something you are going to want to do on your own unless you know what you are doing as this piece of equipment is in charge of making sure you have a clear air supply…which you won’t be able to survive without.

Next on the list of must-haves, blast doors or hatches. Again, the price range of sturdy blast-resistant doors and hatches generally range between $5,000-$13,000 per door. They don’t come cheap and you will want to make sure that your bunker has at least two exits. Without a bolt hole, if there is a collapse or some kind of damage done to your main entrance/exit, then you might be digging yourself a coffin, not a survival shelter. And that is just the very bare minimum…there are many, many more costs that come along with building a survival bunker. You can expect to spend, at the very least, between $38,000-$60,000 USD just to get your shelter up and running safely and in a manner that you can depend on in a crisis.

What do you need in a survival bunker?

Aside from the obvious necessities of a good ventilation system, blast door, plumbing, and electricity, you are going to want to make sure your bunker is fully stoked with enough safe drinking water and freeze-dried food to last you for at least 6 months. For a longer duration, Long Term Emergency Freeze-Dried Food Supply stands by its 25-year shelf life!

Each person might have an intention for their bunker and an idea of what kind of disaster they are going to need to outlast underground and will base their supply stock on that. For example, if in the event of a nuclear event, prepping your bunker for at least two weeks is the minimum suggested length of time to avoid radiation poisoning. However, it is, of course, highly recommended that you prepare for a much longer stay underground. If you do plan to make it possible to venture out then you will want to make sure you have safety gear to keep yourself healthy in the possibly contaminated world above ground.

This includes gas masks and protective gear to wear, as well as possible protection from other people who might seek to harm you and take your supplies. Before you even think about leaving the bunker you should have a way to get information about what might be going on above you. A shortwave radio is going to be your best bet for communication with the world in this case. Even if you can’t make contact with anyone else, you may be able to listen in and get some info on what you can expect when you need to go outside.

Next, you are going to want to stock up on medical supplies in case you or someone you are sheltering in place which requires medical care. If you are someone who requires prescription medications, this can be a little more difficult. Most doctors won’t just hand out a prescription for medications in bulk, especially if they are controlled narcotics of any kind. However, it is easy to stock up on Tylenol, bandages and gauze, sleep aids, antacids, antibiotics, and antiseptics as well as anything else you can easily get at a pharmacy. If a nuclear event is what you are prepping for then you will also want to have a large supply of potassium iodide pills or solution to protect you from radiation poisoning.

Warm clothes, bedsheets and blankets, slippers and other clothing items to keep warm are also highly recommended. It can get cold underground and if the nuclear fallout causes the world to go into a nuclear winter state then you are going to want to make sure you can stay warm while sheltering in place. At the same time, you will want to make sure you have comfortable clothing too, just in case it gets warmer than you might expect down there.

Stock up your “tool shed” even though it might not be an actual shed. Depending on what happens, you might find yourself needing to do repairs, dig your way out if there is a collapse or tune-up generators. So, you should make sure you’ve got a lot of tools for many different jobs that might pop up during your stay. The last thing you want is to have a generator break down and be stuck without the proper tools you need to make sure your systems can all remain in safe working order.

Batteries! Light is going to be your friend. If chaos above ground gets to a level where electricity is no longer functioning, you’ll want to be able to see what you are doing and have a way to operate anything you have on hand that can function on battery power. This includes car batteries too as they can be used power many different appliances if need be.

Lastly, don’t forget to keep yourself entertained.
Being stuck in an underground bunker for an undetermined amount of time can make a person go crazy. So, stock up on board games, magazines and books, plants to take care of, pens and paper and anything else you can think of that might help you pass the time!

How long do you have to stay in a nuclear bunker?

The length of time you are going to need to stay underground in the event of a nuclear event depends on many things. This includes the location of the blast, whether or not it was a ground zero detonation or if the nuke exploded in the air. You’re likely not going to be able to tell how far away from your location the blast took place or whether you are downwind of the fallout either, so the best bet is to over-prepare, just in case.

Another thing people often fail to take into consideration when prepping for a nuclear event is the location of existing nuclear power plants in the area. Yes, a nuke dropping is going to cause a lot of problems…but what about your proximity to any nuclear power plants? There will likely not be any people to go in and maintain these plants to avoid them reaching critical mass and melting down causing even more nuclear fallout. One nuclear situation will likely lead to another, so that needs to be considered.

This is, of course, the worst-case scenario. Many people won’t have to worry about this possibility, and considering most aerial nuclear explosions aren’t exactly meant to cause the end of the world entirely, it is likely that after 14 days it would be safe to venture out for a few hours at a time in protective gear to assess the situation. Radiation isn’t something that just goes away though all by itself, take a look at Chernobyl and you can see that 30 years later it’s still far from safe to go wandering around the doomed power plant.

Whatever the case may be, making sure that you have at least two weeks of supplies on hand in your survival bunker is a good plan. The more prepared you are the better, especially when it comes to safe drinking water and food as anything above ground will likely be contaminated and useless to you if you go out looking for supplies. Most preppers try to plan for 6 months’ time underground to ensure that survival will be possible without needing to gather any resources.