Hardened Structures

Over the last couple of years there has been a huge surge in the number of people investing in underground bunkers and other hardened structures. Whether this means buying a unit in one of the many condominium style bunkers, having a personal bunker, or just a safe-room it’s a trend that’s likely to continue.

Here at Prep-Blog we tend to think that spending a ton of cash on a bunker could be going a bit overboard. Personally, I think reserving space in a fallout shelter that could be hundreds of miles from your house, as most of the “condo style” shelters almost certainly would be, is ludicrous. I mean, how are you planning on getting there? And how much notice do you think Mother Nature gives before a huge natural disaster? Usually, not much. Perhaps a foreign government would be nice enough to email you before disrupting our countries power grid so that you don’t have any problem getting to your bunker in Nebraska. Seriously, not a great plan.

That said, in my opinion, having a personal bunker under your house or retreat location may seem a bit extreme but honestly, if I had the money, I would have one built. If money was no object I would absolutely have one. How cool would that be? Just knowing it was there, secure, stocked, and ready in case of emergency would be nice. Very nice and very comforting. Unfortunately I don’t have the kind of cash it takes to put one together and I haven’t quite completed my basic prepping for more common disasters which I would need to do before taking this next step anyway.

Before considering either bunker option you have to make sure that you have every other basic item in place before you take this giant leap. Don’t spend a ton of cash on any type of bunker if you don’t already have basic food, water, self-defense, and first-aid supplies. It’s no use locking yourself in a safe haven underground if you don’t have the supplies you need to come out alive. I believe we need to methodically and wisely PREP for the disasters that are most likely to happen and not move on to more elaborate planning until our initial efforts are complete.

You also need to make sure that you have the proper skills and training to get through an emergency. As Thoreau has pointed out in the past, you shouldn’t go out and buy medical equipment you’re not trained to use. A safe full of guns that you can’t hit a target with or that have never been fired are of little use outside of barter. Good preparedness includes careful and thoughtful training and education and not just stockpiling.

The first box you need to check off before even thinking about taking the plunge into the world of bunkers and hardened structures is to make your family home as secure as possible without going overboard or spooking the neighbors. If my wife would let me I would have a twelve-foot fence topped with barbed wire surrounding our house. Of course, she’s having none of that and the local community would quickly ostracize us.

On the other hand, solid doors with deadbolts and reinforced steel frames are easy to install and don’t raise any eyebrows at all. Likewise, safety and security window films like those made by 3M don’t change the appearance of your home at all but provide an excellent added layer of protection from break-ins and severe weather alike. You can check them out here. I also recommend keeping enough plywood on hand to fully board up at least your ground floor windows should the need arise. Perhaps a tree branch comes crashing through your sliding glass door. Or, civil unrest in your area gets to the point that you want to board everything up to keep your family safe. Either way, you don’t want to be the guy standing in line at Home Depot waiting to buy plywood in the middle of one of these situations.  Having a few of those big blue plastic tarps around is a good idea as well and will really come in handy should you ever have to patch up your home in a hurry after a storm or earthquake.  Just a few simple ideas like these can vastly upgrade the security of your main residence.

So if you’re someone who thinks having a bunker could be a good idea, do yourself a favor and make sure you get your house in order before you take the plunge. Once you do then maybe you can take a look at vendors like: Northwest Shelter Systems, Hardened Structures, Vivos, Rhino Vault, and undergroundbombshelter.com.

~ Butch

2 Responses to Hardened Structures

  1. If building new, Insulated Concrete Form homes offer a lot of the benefits of having a bunker, and that doesn’t scare the neighbors. Once the siding is on, it’s indistinguishable from a ‘normal’ home from the outside. Over stick/brick homes, they provide much better ballistic protection, better radiation protection factor, airtight (add a HEPA filter and a fan for a clean, positive-pressurized home), fire resistence, rodent proof, better insulation, and tornado/hurricane protection.

    Unlike some other alternative building methods, ICF is mainstream enough that your banker isn’t going to roll their eyes when you tell them what type of house you want a mortgage for either. Sure, more expensive per square foot to build, but reduced heating/cooling costs offset that some. Homeowners insurance is cheaper too. Surprised ICF isn’t more popular with (middle class) preppers considering their benefits over other homes. I don’t sell them, just a very satisfied homeowner that will never live in a stick/brick house again.

    Fully agree on the plywood (5/8″ OSB here) and tarps too. We have the OSB pre-cut and marked for which window they’re for. Probably pretty standard in hurricane country, but a good idea anywhere.