Doomsday Preppers has been a hugely successful show on television. It also led to a spin off show dedicated to building and installing bunkers. I have heard tons of questions and stories about building bunkers and I thought it was a good time to address some of the issues that could arise as well as some of the questions that you might have. Are bunkers safe? Are bunkers necessary and do they have to be underground? How long can you stay in a bunker? What about air systems? What about bathrooms and electrical? All of these are legitimate concerns that need to be answered.
Are Bunkers Necessary?
Bunkers have been around for hundreds of years, and probably even thousands. Bunkers were typically used in the older days for warfare. Soldiers would dig long deep trenches in order to avoid enemy attacks. The bunker was a great way to hide and remain safe. As the times have progressed bunkers have been used for many other things. One of the more common uses for a bunker would be storage. Treated much like a basement the bunker could be used to hold large quantities of canned goods. They were also used for keeping meats cool.
However bunkers have now taken on a new life. Bunkers are now used primarily in survival circles. The idea is that you can have a home buried in the ground and completely secured in case of a major emergency. But the real question is whether or not this is a true need. While I love the idea of having an underground bunker, it’s just not always feasible for every homeowner. I can totally see the appeal and the safety that they offer but I also have to acknowledge the fact that these things can cost upwards of $80,000 if you go all out. That is simply not a realistic number when you are talking about average working folks. Plus, some home locations just aren’t cut out for underground bunkers. Maybe you don’t have sufficient land or your home owner’s association will not allow any secondary structures on site.
Ultimately, building an underground bunker is probably not required, but it is certainly an advantage if you can swing it. In a true SHTF scenario, there is a real likelihood that biological or chemical weapons could be used. Add to that the possibility of a nuclear weapon and you have to see that being underground is a huge advantage. However, there are several alternative methods that you can use to fortify your home against some of these disasters without constructing your own underground hideout.
To put it simply, the call is up to you. If you have the money and the space, then by all means feel free to bunker in! However if you are like the vast majority of the population, then you are not going to have the resources needed to see this project through. Don’t let that stop you from pursuing preparedness. You just have to find a way to work around it.
What Kind Of Bunkers Are There?
Bunkers come in all shapes and sizes. Bunkers can be custom made to fit your needs, or they can be built from scratch. We have a family friend that built a bunker for themselves out of concrete blocks, cement, and lots of steel. It ended up costing a little over $12,000 to build, but for how it turned out, it was a huge savings over the cost of having a custom made bunker installed. Some people are even using old shipping containers to build bunkers. This is a really controversial decision that has both advantages and disadvantages. First, shipping containers are not thick enough to handle being buried under several feet of dirt. The container would have to be reinforced and it would have to be placed on a secure footing.
When it comes to bunker types you basically need to understand that they are much like the homes in your neighborhood. They all have the same function, but some look a little different and some are better than others.
Bathrooms, Wiring, Air Systems
We all need access to a bathroom. We all enjoy electricity. We all have a horrible addiction to oxygen. So how can these things be incorporated into a bunker? It really isn’t hard. Building a bunker for yourself or having one built is just like building a home. You simply design the plan that you like and build it to those specifications. Just because the bunker is underground does not mean you shouldn’t include bathrooms, access to electricity, or ventilation. In fact, underground bunkers need these basic features in order to help you survive. If you are stuck in the bunker for a long period of time, it’s vital that you have a way to use the bathroom and get access to fresh air.
The Bottom Line
Underground bunkers are major assets to any family, but if you can’t afford to build one, don’t let it deter you from your preparedness plans. Instead, you can focus on a different bug in method and really fortify your home. You could add serious window protection, security cameras, and even invest in more firearms and ammo. Talk to your family and decide if building an underground bunker is really a priority for you. Then you can move forward with peace of mind that you are doing your best to make sure your family is well protected in case of an emergency.