Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials: Is There Good Reason to Hide Your Shelter?

There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Is There Good Reason to Hide Your Shelter?

This is part three of my series on 21st-century fallout shelters. Please read the first two installments before reading this post since there is a bit of a storyline that has taken shape. Part 1: Welcome to My Underground Bunker; Part 2: How to Hide a Fallout Shelter in the Middle of Suburbia. And then, Part 4: Down into the Bunker We Go

Today's first order of business--In the previous posting, I asked if you could spot the telltale signs of the buried shelter in the backyard images. No, the images aren't the best, but in at least a couple of the pictures, if you look underneath the benches, you'll spot what I was referring to. Out of respect for my customers, I'm not going to say anything more about those "clues."

I could do more to completely hide the shelter's presence, and at some point I might. But the main idea I want to get across is, a little creative landscaping can go a long way toward obscuring the fact that there is a shelter below ground.

Why Hide It?

To many people, there are obvious reasons for trying to keep their bunkers hidden.

First, in the event of societal calamity such as in an all-out nuclear war, those who are aware of a nearby shelter may very well try to gain access ... perhaps resorting to violence in the process. There are of course capacity limits to each shelter and most shelter owners are only prepared to house and provide for their immediate families, not to become the neighborhood civil defense center.

Second, as we've previously discussed, people are hesitant to reveal their bunker preparedness in the interest of maintaining their reputations as "normal" folks. After all, chances of actually having to use the shelters for the designed purpose will hopefully remain comparatively remote, while day-to-day life goes on. No sense in becoming seen by others in town primarily as the paranoid bunker rat. And if it turns out that the genuine need for the shelter emerges, see reason number one above.

The bottom line is, people who recognize genuine threats out there in the world and who choose today to prudently invest in materials and goods that may mitigate their family's personal risk in the future could one day be sadly proven to have taken an unusually wise path. If that happens, the rest would likely have paid dearly and en masse for their typical shortsightedness.

Inside, There's More than Meets the Eye

In my own installation, my shelter entry comes up inside my home office. The nominal size of the room addition precluded me from putting up a secure closet around the hatch, so I found another way to hide it.

The images here pretty clearly show how I chose to combine form with function. By building by own giant ottoman on wheels that rolls over the hatch, visitors don't have the slightest notion that the shelter is there. It's basically a heavy solid box that may NEVER break ... and though it's not the prettiest upholstery job you'll ever see, the piece is quite adequate and I am happy with it. Heck, it's even big enough for me to take a little catnap on when business is slow.

I think the neat thing is, I also built the ottoman to allow for the option of propping it up (rather than rolling it off) so that we could, if need be, descend into the shelter and lower the hatch and the ottoman back down into place so the presence of the shelter is not readily apparent to intruders.

Next--we have a look inside.

For other posts in this series, see the mainpage.


Anonymous said...

JC It sounds likwe a good idea to have the entrance inside , but how do you get out if the house collapses onto the entrance ??

Jeff Varnell said...

Woo hooo ... a question!

Hi Scrapman. There are a couple of features in the the shelter that specifically anticipate that need to deal with debris or what-have-you over the hatch.

First option, use the 10-ton hydraulic jack that mounts under the hatch. A few cranks of that baby should do the trick.

If not, plan B--there is an emergency escape option at the back side of the shelter (more on that in the next post or two).

And then, there is always the hope that one could simply call for help. The land-line phone is wired into the shelter and there is a cell phone antenna wired into it from above as well.