In fact, I'm going to completely throw the camo tarp off the blast door to my underground bunker and invite you in for a friendly little visit.
Whoa! Too much too suddenly?
Oh all right, how about a more gradual, gently revealing series of blog tete-a-tetes that will slowly bring you deeper into the understanding of subterranean security? After all, this for many folks who get into preparedness at all, IS kind of the ultimate level of readiness--getting your very own underground bunker. I don't mind for a minute sharing with you some of the inside secrets on these things.
Why so trusting you ask? Well, after all I do sell them now, so that MIGHT be one small reason for taking you into my confidence.
And honestly, I do enjoy sharing and promoting disaster readiness, and this is one aspect that draws a lot of interest from people.
We purchased our own "bunker" last year to coincide with the construction of an addition to our home. We had always been in need of a decent storm shelter at home (our family had had a couple of very scary, close encounters with killer tornados) and quite frankly, there's no time like a major construction project to integrate a shelter or safe room into your house.
Upon deciding that the time was apparently right to add in a shelter, I first consulted with a local concrete contractor who took a great deal of interest in our specs--especially since it became apparent to him that what I was looking for was potentially a brand new kind of job for him, and one that he himself had always wanted to get involved in. Of course, I wasn't just looking for a basement or storm cellar. I was also looking for a genuine fallout shelter that would protect against virtually all reasonable potential threats--nuclear, biological, and chemical, in addition to, of course, your standard run-of-the-mill F-5 tornado. And there would be a few other less notable threats to also consider, but perhaps we'll get to those down the road.
For all the great talks we had and the calculations brought to bear, we eventually determined that I would best be served (read that to mean "get the most bang for my buck") by looking for a prefabricated storm shelter that could easily be dropped into a hole in the ground.
I had seen a few types of prefab shelters on the internet before, but I suddenly became very serious about researching them. I also looked locally offline. The whole price range was game, from plastic bubbles to mega-tonnage prefab concrete hexagons. But it didn't take long to get discouraged. Most were outrageously priced, in my view. That is, until I found what turned out to be the answer.
I fortuitously came across a gentleman who had been building prefabricated storm and fallout shelters for 10 years--for companies, government organizations, and private households all over the country. His steel-plate shelters were engineered to withstand far greater forces than any winds known on this planet, they were built to last an estimated 90 years in the ground, and his prices were comparably affordable ... in fact, in my mind, a downright bargain.
I found the builder/installer to be an unusually polite and honorable businessman, I discovered his work came with the highest recommendations, and I really appreciated the many options I had to choose from. And as important as anything else, I did not feel like either one of us was a little weird when we were talking about the threat protection I had in mind. So obviously, I had found my shelter supplier.
First Steps - Conquering Your Reservations
Since we're going to cover a lot of ground in several blog articles on this topic, I won't move too fast. In fact, I may not even share any photos yet, just to be sure YOU come back in a couple of days for more, and beyond that as well.
But this much we can cover now ... I do clearly remember a couple of initial hurdles at that early stage which at the time seemed immense. Now that I talk with others about their shelter dreams, I realize that those "obstacles" or reservations are fairly common for most people today who get so far as to actually look into getting a shelter of their own.
Rhetorical reservation number one ... (all these a different perspective on the same issue) What will "people" think? What will I tell them? Do I need to tell anyone anything about the shelter? How do I "sell" my spouse or kids or relatives on the need for an underground shelter? Especially a FALLOUT shelter? Egads, have I lost my mind?
Rhetorical reservation number two ... (not at all distinct from number one, but you can't have a list without more than one bullet point) Will the city building inspectors approve such a nonstandard underground shelter? Do they need to know? Can I get away without involving them? Will I get on someone's "watch" list once they know I'm one of those bunker builders? What about the neighbors? Yikes, will I ever be able to look those people in the eye? Or myself in the mirror?
Well, suffice it to say ... in my own experience and in those of others that I have gotten to know of similarly self-flagellating backgrounds ... the overcoming is worth the effort.
For subsequent posts in this series, see Part 2: How to Hide a Fallout Shelter in the Middle of Suburbia, Part 3: Is There Good Reason to Hide Your Shelter?, Part 4: Down into the Bunker We Go.