Underground Bunkers Now and Then and The top ten things to consider when planning a bunker

Underground Bunkers Now and Then


Underground protection from weapons has always been the preferred method of survival. As basic as a hand dug foxhole on the battlefield or a deep fortress built into a mountain such as Colorado’s Norad. During WW2 when the cities of Great Britain were being bombed relentlessly by the Germans, families took shelter underground at night time. Deep underground Subways were popular. Some residences made their own shelters.

 One popular shelter was to use exterior basement or cellar stair wells. They were usually built of brick or stone. An arched corrugated metal cover was placed over the stairwell and covered with one or two feet of dirt. There was instance where high explosives landed on the house or in the yard right next to these shelters and the occupants survived. These systems were so effective that the British government began issuing the arched corrugated covers to anyone who had a suitable stairwell.

After Nuclear devices were dropped on Japan at the end of WW2 underground shelters took on a new shape. The fear was no longer high explosives from air raids but instead nuclear weapons that could destroy an entire city in one fell swoop. During the cold war era the United States and USSR had tens of thousands of individual warheads each. The fear from the mid 1940s to the late 1980s was that one country would launch a nuclear attack and the other country would reciprocate with thousands of warheads passing each other on their way to destroy every city in the country. These fears shaped the underground shelters for their era.

The cold war era shelter was a deep underground shelter. It was sized and stalked to be able to be self sufficient for very long periods of time. These nuclear shelters were made of various materials from concrete to corrugated metal tubing buried deep enough to protect from initial nuclear blasts and radiation. Because of the size of these types of shelters, they were expensive. They were also next to impossible to hide the installation of such a shelter. You certainly had to have disposable cash in order to purchase, install and stock such a large shelter.

Because of the history of cold war era shelters, whenever you even mention a Security Shelter people automatically roll their eyes and think you are talking about a big underground bomb shelter. Shelters have changed since the cold war era as the types of threats have changed as well. Thousands of nuclear weapons passing each other in the upper atmosphere on their way to their prospective cities all over the world are no longer the greatest threat. In fact, if nuclear weapons were used it would most likely be a very small number of weapons delivering EMP devices. These devices would be far less destructive than thousands of nuclear weapons aimed at every city in the US.

There are new fears that are helping to shape the attitudes of modern shelters. My studies have found that the threat of nuclear weapons is at the near bottom of the list of most likely to happen. The top of the list of fears is economic collapse, social collapse, anarchy created form the collapse of our own monetary system, pandemic, coronal mass ejections, terrorism and other natural disasters such as tornados and hurricanes. The trend has changed from a deep underground bunker to an urban foxhole style of bunker. An urban foxhole is a smaller security bunker. It is still underground but because of its smaller size it can be installed with no one knowing you have it and can be installed under your existing garage floor in some cases.

The new urban foxhole style shelter can be used numerous ways. Ultimately it is an underground shelter designed for the survival of you or your food and gun stores during any catastrophic event. Because of the smaller size of the unit (compared to deep underground long term stay bunkers) it is far less expensive than old style bunkers. Because it can be installed directly under your garage floor it has the advantage of being accessed from inside your home. This is a very exciting feature. You urban foxhole can be used for a safe room for your children or loved ones in case of home invasion. It can also be used as a secure vault for your valuables and emergency stores while you are away from home. Your valuables can be kept safe from flooding or fires. Because of its constant relative inside temperatures and insulated hull system it is also ideal as a wine room.

Here are a few survival plans demonstrating just how you would use the Urban Foxhole.

Collapse of our countries economy. Under these circumstances your biggest threat at first would be social chaos. You would certainly see wide spread looting as panicked people fought for whatever they could get off of any store shelves. Remember most people have not even considered or believed such an event could take place. Our local law enforcement would quickly be overwhelmed and our military would be brought in to maintain order. You however would have an ample supply of stores protected in your shelter.

Your objective at this point would be to keep your supplies safe and continue to use whatever outside resources is available until depleted. Your supplies would be secure from flooding or fire. If you had to abandon your home temporarily for any reason, your goods should still be there when you return.

 Once public reserves are depleted, social anarchy would degrade to another level. You might see groups banding together, most likely by geography, such as neighborhood or church groups. These groups would ban together for security and possibly to share resources. I recommend you never tell anyone you have a shelter filled with supplies. If people begin looting homes and robbing to survive then the shelter will offer a very safe place for the family to sleep. With the entrance located in your garage loved ones can be safely secured in just seconds. If possible never leave the homes main living space vacant. Armed security should always maintain a presence in the house to keep it from being searched by roving parties looking for something to eat. Your ability to help yourself and your family has priority over friends and strangers.

You will enter and exit the shelter as needed. You will still maintain a presence in society but you will have your own safety net if needed. Sometimes a safe place to sleep is the greatest thing of all. With an air system you could hide as long as your supplies and filters allow you to.


In the case of an EMP delivered by a nuclear weapon you and your family would take cover inside the Urban Foxhole under the garage or patio floor within seconds. Because this device is most likely an airburst delivery the hazards of a nuclear blast would not be long lasting. The security pod air in and outlets are protected with blast valves that will automatically shut off when a pressure wave or loss of pressure wave passes over head. As long as the nuclear detonation does not come in contact with the ground, long term radio activity from fall out will be minimal. For an enemy to cripple our country with an EMP device the targets would be our electrical grid supply system and not our cities in general.

 As long as you are outside a 15 mile range of the detonation you are only required to have a 50psi protection rating on your shelter. Urban Fox holes have well over 500psi estimated protection. You would use your stockpiled stores and emergency communication systems to gather the necessary outside information to decide when to come out. The first 24 hours is the most critical time and you would want to not run your air filtration system if possible. This will depend directly on how many people you have in your shelter. NBC filters are available as are many other filters. When the oxygen level in your shelter drops to a certain point, occupants will become nauseated and light headed. You will turn your air filtration system on and off manually as needed to conserve you air filters. The air system runs off of 110vac/ 12vdc and has a backup hand operated pump system. These shelters can be modified to protect against radiation using geometric attenuation.

Natural Disaster survival. Your urban foxhole will be accessible in seconds from inside your garage. It should be designed to withstand earthquakes and tornados. It should be water proof. You should be able to flee if necessary and know the contents will be safe, secure and dry when you return.

Home intrusion. As mentioned above, with access from inside the house your loved ones can be secure in just seconds. Call for help from inside the foxhole.

Wine cellar. I bet you didn’t see that one coming did you? Many people want a wine cellar but they don’t have room for one. An addition to your home is not feasible or you really don’t want to ruin a bedroom to make one. Well now you can have one right under your garage floor, and it doubles as your safe room!

Secure Storage. An urban foxhole is ideal for securing guns, food, and valuables inside. Not only is it going to be a major undertaking to get into it for the bad guy. It’s going to keep your items dry. Now you can leave home and feel confident about not being robbed.

Where underground shelters were once huge financial investments costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and designed for the direst of circumstances. The modern urban foxhole can provide greater protection in a more convenient and manner directly under your home, and for considerably less money than deep bunkers. Shop around; protecting your family is a lot less expensive than you think.


Barry Knowles

The Top Ten Things To Have In Your Shelter


Security shelters/ bunkers are not used as they once were in the cold war era. There was a time when deep underground bunkers were prepared for long term hibernation. The thinking at the time was that thousand of nuclear war heads would be unleashed by both the US and the USSR causing wide spread destruction and long term radiation.

Wide spread nuclear destruction is now at the bottom of the list of most likely disaster scenarios.  Even if nuclear weapons were used it would most likely be in the form of an EMP device which would detonate in the atmosphere. Because of this new way of thinking, there is a new way to use underground shelters. A new way to use a shelter that reduces the size cost and reduce the possibility that people will know you have a shelter. (This is very important).

Smaller shelters (Urban Foxholes) located with entrances in your own home or under your patio can be used for securing your family and your food and water and arms storage, they can be used as a safe when you are not at home, they can even be used as a wine cellar. In these systems you will enter and exit it throughout the day or night and take cover in it when needed. During times of civil unrest your family can sleep in the shelter, and someone will always stand guard in the main parts of the house. The object is to never let your home look abandoned if possible.  If the home has to be abandoned because of flooding, everything will be safe while you are gone.


The Top Ten Things to Consider When Building a Shelter


1)      Affordability assessment

2)      Risk Assessment

3)      Household Survival Plan

4)      Geological Assessment

5)      Shelter sizing

6)      Choosing a shelter location

7)      Shelter entry system

8)      Shelter Air System

9)      Emergency Escape System

10)   Top things to have in your survival shelter


1)      Affordability Assessment. We purchase car insurance, health insurance and even life insurance for when we die…. How about purchasing some insurance to help you and your family live?? How much are you willing, or can you afford to invest in a survival plan for your family? You have basically 4 choices. 

A “stay put shelter” (Large underground bomb style bunker) and they are the most expensive systems and impossible to hide the installation from neighbors.

“Urban Foxhole” shelters are smaller, less expensive and easier to hide the installation. They can be installed inside your existing garage.

Plastic lined room with an air system

Nothing……… The old wrap the kids in foil and hide behind a tree trick.

Other countries have been preparing their citizens to survive disasters ever since ww2. In fact in some parts of the world shelters are required in all new construction. Here in the US people seem to think the government will take care of us, or that we have nothing to worry about. History proves that every society ever created has had life span and that eventually terminates in its destruction. As a good provider for my family I feel the need to plan for disaster but hope it never happens. To be ignorant of the possibilities is negligence. You must be prepared to take care of yourself.


2)      Risk Assessment. I categorize the risk into 2 categories. Natural disasters or manmade disasters. What disaster are you most likely to be confronted with?


Tornados or Hurricanes. These are the two most likely natural disasters you will face. Over 1,000 tornados and 1-3 hurricanes a year take place in the United States alone. Only the most destructive are reported on nationwide news.  Large long stay underground bunkers or Urban Foxholes’ are both suitable for these events.

Fire and flooding are another Natural disaster. In the case of fires both long stay underground bunkers and Urban Foxholes are suitable with appropriate air systems. Flooding is another story. Anything underground is risky because not all shelters are water proof. Also , once water has risen above your snorkels you will not be able to exchange the air inside the shelter and opening the hatch door with a lake on top of you can only be done by flooding completely the inside of your shelter to equalize the pressure on both sides of the hatch. If your shelter is water proof you can leave your valuables, including food and arms, inside the unit to retrieve later.

Pandemic situations I consider to be natural disasters and something as simple as a plastic lined room with an air filtration system can be the difference between life and death.

Solar Flares or Coronal mass ejection is another natural disaster. The consequences could mean the loss of our power grid and possibly the melt down of our own nuclear facilities. Deep underground and or urban fox hole bunkers like Smart Product Technology Security Pod are both suitable shelters.

Earthquakes are another concern. Usually a earthquake happens with no warning so getting into a shelter is not as likely during the event. However you want your shelter to survive to keep your stores safe and also to be able to have a shelter to get into for after effects and aftershocks. Deep underground systems or Urban Foxhole bunkers like Smart Product Technology Security Pod are both suitable shelters.

Manmade disaster would include events such as;

Nuclear events, most likely EMP devices. Deep underground and or Urban Foxhole bunkers like Smart Product Technology Security Pod are both suitable shelters.

Economic collapse or civil unrest. Every day in and out use of your shelter would be the most effective. Deep underground systems that no one knows about and are accessed from your home or Urban Fox Hole bunkers like Smart Product Technology Security Pod are both suitable shelters. Accessing it from inside your home for everyday use is the key.

Terrorism/ Dirty bomb events. Deep underground systems that no one knows about and are accessed from your home or urban fox hole bunkers like Smart Product Technology Security Pod are both suitable shelters. Accessing it from inside your home is a huge benefit.


3)      Household  Survival  Plan


Are you a stockpile and stay put for a long term family? These shelters are typically your larger deep underground systems and are very expensive. Although they have a better comfortability factor then small shelters there are also some serious drawbacks to the systems. If its not located on your immediate property you may not be able to get to it for starters. Did any neighbor see you craning it into the back yard?? If so… they may respect your privacy for a week or so but eventually when there is no water or food they will come knocking on your hatch. If one person knows outside of your family, that could be the difference between life and death. Another draw back is perhaps just 30miles away things are un affected. You will be stuck in your large bunker stuffed with everything you need because you cant move all your stores. These consequences will cause you to have an enormous need for security.




Are you a “survive the initial event in your smaller shelter” planner that can move when necessary to new locations and return when necessary as fluid events take place. You will need alternate locations to go to. Know your escape routes. Green belts and power line easements are wonderful. Stockpiles can be stored in your security pod. We live 30 miles from the ocean so after a week or two of an event we will make our way to the water and out to see. We will seek out a location unaffected by the disaster. We have buried a few 5 gallon pales with provisions along the routes and have geo cached them. Even small systems can be used for long term stays but they just are not as comfortable as large systems.


4)      Geological assessment


What type of geological substructure are you sitting on? Do you have allot of boulders, Granit, or other hard substrate? Is the ground porous? Clay? How shallow is the water table in the spring and winter? Are there ponds or lakes nearby? These things need to be considered. Water is especially a problem for underground systems. If you think water could affect you will need a water proof system such as the Security Pod by Smart Product Technology.


5)      shelter sizing


How many people will be in your shelter? Keep in mind the amount of food water and air everyone in the shelter will need. The minimum water for a grown man is 10 cups a day. A minimum 1,200 calories a day to keep the body from feeding off of itself. An adult will require approximately 10 cubic feet of natural atmosphere per hour for breathing for an adult.

How long will you occupy the shelter will be another factor in sizing the system needed. The shorter the stay inside the less comfortable it needs to be. That means the less expensive it needs to be.


6)      Choosing a shelter location


Long term stay put shelters.

Remember you cannot move! You are married to your long term bunker. The biggest drawback is the lack of secrecy when installing such a system. If it’s located in your back yard and you live in the suburbs that would probably mean that your neighbors saw you craning it over the house or saw all the concrete and pump trucks in your yard. Chances are you also told someone what you were doing and asked them not to say anything. Asking someone not to say anything is really asking them just to tell their closest friends only….then the closest friend does the same thing and so on and so on. The best security is that no one knows about the bunker! Not even the neighbor. For security reasons it is better to place such a large bunker on remote property outside of the view of neighbors. That creates a new problem… It’s not quickly accessible and that will limit what events it can be used for. People that know you have emergency supplies may respect your privacy the first week or two but when things become desperate you will hear the knock knock on your hatch.

Smaller urban foxhole shelters

It is highly recommended that the shelter be installed with an entrance inside your home or on your immediate property with the entrance only steps from the house. When the entrance is inside your home you will have the maximum use and security for the shelter.  Entering from inside the home allows additional uses such as safe rooms for home intrusions. You can occupy both the residence and the shelter going in and out of either as necessary without exposing yourself to the outside. These systems are far less expensive then the large bunkers but come with air systems and locking systems just like the big ones.


7)      Entry Systems


There are a number of hatches available. The least expensive systems are heavy and hard to manage. To get a good sized opening with hydraulic assists is going to cost between 8,000 and 20,000. This is one of the most important elements of your bunker. This will protect you from blasts, water intrusion, zombies, grenades or whatever you think you need to be protected from. It’s always good to have a 2nd exit incase debris falls on your shelter. Smart Product Technology Security Pods come with a jacking system to hydraulically lift debris off of you from inside the shelter. They also have flush floor hatches that can be driven over by vehicles that are easily disguised on a garage floor with drip pans or carpet. Patio or garden entrances offer other benefits in a hatch such as view ports.


                8) Shelter Air System


You must insure that you have the ability to bring in fresh air and filter the air for different circumstances. Your air system needs to be protected with devices such as blast valves (they will keep concussions from hammering you with pressure waves while you are inside the shelter), overpressure or positive pressure valves. Your snorkel lines need to be plumbed with galvanized schedule 40 steel minimum to withstand earth movement. You system should have battery and manual back up. You should calculate the number and kinds of filters you need to have on hand. Plan how you will terminate your outside snorkels. They can be placed in a rock pot or they can be brought up and turned over and look like oil tank vents.


                9) Emergency Escape System


You never want you bunker to be your coffin, so make certain you have an emergency escape. It does not have to be a separate entrance although I can be, but they cost more money. You can hide an emergency exit in a sand filled hole. You drain the sand into the bunker to open it. Or you can make sure the system you buy has the ability to hydraulically lift the hatch and whatever else might be parked on you up.


10)   Top Things To Have In Your Shelter


1) Dependable air supply and filters

2) Water!!

3) Food Reserves

4) Sanitation Necessities

5) Communication Systems

6) Emergency Exit Plan to Leave the Shelter and the Area

7) Self Defense Tools

8) First Aid Supplies

9) Items to keep people occupied. Small games, card games and dice games are good. Bibles or books to read. Chores and duties for people to perform. Fighting boredom may determine how long people are willing to put up with such restricted conditions.

10)Batteries! and lots of them. Protected in a faraday cage