Nuclear Survival – Prefabricated Fallout Shelters

Are you are survivalist intent on surviving nuclear war? Check out the fallout shelters from Safecastle. They make big metal boxes that are then buried several feet underground. This looks like an inexpensive way to to. Although, it’s still not cheap. I’ve listed information from their eBay ad further down the page.

Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Fallout Shelters

Safecastle prefabricated fallout shelters are made of steel up to 7/16″ thick. The primary differences between our storm shelters and our fallout shelters are found in modifications to the door, steps, and air vents to make them virtually impervious to radiological, biological, or chemical contamination.

NOTE: Our fallout shelters come standard with a 12-person Swiss-made chemical and biological air filtration system with both electrical and hand-powered capability. We also offer larger systems at additional cost.

To some extent, our shelters also provide blast protection, depending upon proximity to and power of a blast. As with all our shelters, your NBC / fallout shelter is made to your size specifications.

Fallout Shelter with Hatch Door or Entry Door
The most inexpensive approach to installing a Safecastle fallout shelter is to opt for a shelter with a 32″-square blast-door hatch. The door base is built in a way so that you can put two layers of boards and two layers of sand bags to prevent radiation from penetrating that hatch entrance “weak point.” The rest of the shelter is already adequately protected from fallout radiation by the dirt/fill shielding on top of the shelter.

A popular alternative is to install a 30″ x 72″ door which extends 30″ above the top of the shelter.

Reference to our Door Bases
Our fallout shelters come with a standard door base 30″ tall. This will put the door entrance just above the ground level. The top of the shelter will be approximately 30″ below ground. Any door base that extends above the top of the shelter more than the standard 30″ base, has to be hauled separately from the shelter. This door base over 30″ tall will have a door 32″ wide and 32″ long with ladder type steps going down into the shelter.

Visit our Nuclear/Biological/Chemical Fallout Shelters Gallery for pictures and descriptions of options and features.

Check out their eBay ad:

Details on the high-quality fallout shelter offered here as a “Buy Now” opportunity for $29,900 as of 7/12/2008:

  • Your shelter is an underground model, 7′ tall, 7′ wide, 20′ long.
  • Built out of plate steel, from 3/16ths to 7/16ths of an inch thick, with integral heavy-duty channel iron bracing.
  • Is designed by a structural engineer to withstand tremendous physical forces, to include up to 330 mph winds (while many competitors’ are made for 250 mph winds, if at all).
  • Meets or exceeds all F.E.M.A. guidelines for N.B.C. shelters (nuclear, biological, chemical).
  • Topped with a blast door approximately 32″x32″ with heavy duty latches, hinges, and lift cylinders to make the door easy to lift and lower.
  • Steel non-slip ladder-type steps going down into the shelter.
  • Includes a leading-edge VA 40 Filtration System with hand crank and AC electrical function; with ventilator, crank handle for electrical failure, emergency light, cover and set of rubber hoses, chemical/biological gas filter, intake and exhaust blast valves–all mounted in the shelter. This filtration unit is rated for up to 12 people. Larger units are available.
  • Includes prepackaged magnesium anodes for corrosion protection that adds many years to the already long life expectancy of these shelters and delivers triple the expected life span of some others’ shelters. The exterior is also double coated on the outside for flawless moisture protection.
  • It offers the optional security vault feature, adding to the value and functionality of the shelter and the types of protection it will offer your family. The door going into the vault section of the shelter is made of heavy-gauge steel. The door has a heavy-duty, pick-proof, hardened-steel, dead-bolt lock that can only be opened with your key. (The door can be opened from inside the vault without a key, in case you accidentally lock yourself in.) These vaults can protect you and your valuables.
  • Includes the optional safety feature of an 8-ton hydraulic jack in case anything like a fallen tree or debris blocks the exit door. It will lift the door in excess of 20 inches to facilitate your escape.
  • The shelter is to be installed so that the roof is approximately three feet below the surface of the ground above it.
  • The interior is primed, painted, and carpeted.
  • A seal-able opening is provided to allow for your home’s heating and air conditioning to maintain comfort in the shelter (consult with your local HVAC professional).
  • There are inlets for electrical lines and openings for TV cable, telephone, cell phone antennae, etc. A small circuit box is included and attached to the wall, as well as fixture and switch boxes. There are hooks on the ceiling to hang lanterns, lights, etc.
  • Three fold-up bed frames, with mattresses, are welded to the wall.
  • An advanced sewage system, an additional escape hatch, and entryway extensions are available at additional cost.
  • Of course, the space is utilitarian – it also makes for excellent additional storage space or a room for your workshop.

The cost of delivery and installation in most areas of the U.S. is included in this price. Before buying, please email us so that we can confirm that you are in an area that this company will deliver to.

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Fallout Shelters

A fallout shelter is an enclosed space specially designed to protect occupants from radioactive debris or fallout resulting from a nuclear explosion. Many such shelters were constructed as civil defence measures during the Cold War.

After a nuclear explosion, matter vaporized in the resulting fireball is exposed to neutrons from the explosion, absorbs them, and becomes radioactive. When this material condenses in the cloud, it forms dust and light sandy material that resembles ground pumice. The fallout emits both beta particles and gamma rays. Much of this highly radioactive material then falls to earth, subjecting anything within the line of sight to radiation, a significant hazard. A fallout shelter is designed to allow its occupants to minimize exposure to harmful fallout until radioactivity has decayed to a safer level.

A basic fallout shelter consists of shields that reduce gamma ray exposure by a factor of 1000. The required shielding can be accomplished with 10 times the amount of any quantity of material capable of cutting gamma ray effects in half. Shields that reduce gamma ray intensity by 50% (1/2) include 1 cm (0.4 inch) of lead, 6 cm (2.4 inches) of concrete, 9 cm (3.6 inches) of packed dirt or 150 m (500 ft) of air. When multiple thicknesses are built, the shielding multiplies. Thus, a practical fallout shield is ten halving-thicknesses of packed dirt, reducing gamma rays by 1024 times (210).

Usually, an expedient purpose-built fallout shelter is a trench, with a strong roof buried by ~1 m (3 ft) of dirt. The two ends of the trench have ramps or entrances at right angles to the trench, so that gamma rays cannot enter (they can travel only in straight lines). To make the overburden waterproof (in case of rain), a plastic sheet should be buried a few inches below the surface and held down with rocks or bricks.

Climate control
Dry earth is a reasonably good thermal insulator, and over several weeks of habitation, a shelter will become too hot for comfort. The simplest form of effective fan to cool a shelter is a wide, heavy frame with flaps that swings in the shelter’s doorway and can be swung from hinges on the ceiling. The flaps open in one direction and close in the other, pumping air. Attach a rope, and take turns swinging it. (This is a Kearny Air Pump, or KAP, named after the inventor.)

Unfiltered air is safe, since the most dangerous fallout has the consistency of sand or finely ground pumice. Such large particles are not easily ingested into the soft tissues of the body, so extensive filters are not required. Any exposure to fine dust is far less hazardous than exposure to the gamma from the fallout outside the shelter. Dust fine enough to pass the entrance will probably pass through the shelter.

Effective public shelters can be the middle floors of some tall buildings or parking structures, or below ground level in most buildings with more than 10 floors. The thickness of the upper floors must form an effective shield, and the windows of the sheltered area must not view fallout-covered ground that is closer than 1.5 km (1 mi).

A battery-powered radio is very helpful to get reports of fallout patterns and clearance. In many countries (including the U.S.) civilian radio stations have emergency generators with enough fuel to operate for extended periods without commercial electricity.

It is possible to construct an electrometer-type radiation meter called the Kearny Fallout Meter from plans with just a coffee can or pail, gypsum board, monofilament fishing line, and aluminum foil. Plans are in the reference “Nuclear War Survival Skills” by Cresson Kearny.

More fallout shelter information from Wikipedia.

Fallout Shelter Kit