There are many reasons why someone might want to build a personal security bunker. The concept is hardly new, and people who are concerned with personal security and surviving various catastrophes have always made preparations of this kind.
Recently, however, we have seen a renewed interest in this type of strategy. People who are interested in this type of thing are sometimes labeled survivalists or preppers. You don’t necessarily have to embrace such a definition, however, to care about protecting yourself and your family.
In this article, we will be looking at some of the reasons why you might want to build a bunker and some of the things you should consider if you do.
Why Build a Personal Security Bunker?
Reasons for feeling the need for a bunker will depend on where you live, your personal beliefs and what you believe might unfold in the coming years. There are quite a few possible events that could make personal security bunkers a good idea.
- Natural Disasters – earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.
- Terrorism – for example, a suitcase nuke or chemical weapon being discharged.
- Nuclear War – as long as these weapons exist, this remains a possibility.
- Catastrophic Accident – involving nuclear waste, toxic chemicals, etc.
- Civil Unrest – rising crime, home invasions, widespread riots. If there were to be a serous economic collapse, this could be a real possibility.
- Pandemic – flu, bubonic plague or other widespread illness could cause panic and breakdown of society.
These are just a few of the unpleasant but possible scenarios that could make personal protection for oneself and one’s family a dire concern.
Many people assume that the authorities will protect them if something like this happens. The fact is, however, that no government can be adequately prepared for a massive catastrophe. Consider what happened in New Orleans not long ago when Hurricane Katrina hit.
The authorities were either unprepared, negligent or simply incompetent when it came to providing help when people most needed it. If an even more serious crisis were to occur, possibly on a much wider scale, do you really think that you can count on the government to save you?
Essential Qualities of a Bunker
If you are going to build a personal security bunker, you want to make sure that it has certain features. These may include:
Situated in a Relatively Safe Location – This is impossible to predict with certainty, of course. You probably wouldn’t, however, want to build it near a nuclear power plant, a city, a military base or a river that often floods. More below.
Sturdy Construction – This may seem obvious, but it’s essential. A bunker is only secure if it’s solidly constructed and safe from fire, flooding and impact.
Easy to Access – It’s only useful if you can get there when you have to. If it’s built as an addition to your home this won’t be an issue.
Concealable – you don’t want it to be visible to people passing by.
Deep Underground – to protect you from radiation or toxic chemicals.
Well Stocked – We will explore this in more detail below. In general, however, you should be able to spend at least a month, preferably quite a bit longer, in your bunker without lacking anything essential for survival.
Where to Build Your Bunker
The first, and possibly most important single factor to consider before building any kind of bunker is where to build it. This refers both to the geographical location and the specific place on the property.
Many people simply decide to build it in their basement or near their house. This may or may not be a good idea, depending on where you live. If you are seriously thinking about building a bunker, this would be a good time to reassess your present location.
Overall, your geographical location is probably going to have more of an impact on how you fare in the event of a catastrophe than having or not having a bunker. To use an extreme example, if a full scale nuclear war involving Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia were to break out, you would be safer in Australia than in any country affected by the war. This isn’t to say you should pack up and move to another continent. It’s just to point out that you should give some serious consideration to your location.
If you do consider moving, you might want to look for a home that already has a bunker built into it. Some homes were actually constructed by preppers and were made to withstand nuclear radiation and other disasters.
Assuming you are satisfied with your present location, where should you build your bunker? The most obvious solution is to build it in your home. This usually means finishing and fortifying your basement, but it could also mean building a separate structure on your property.
When building a bunker, don’t neglect practical details like building permits. Otherwise, you could face fines or complaints from neighbors who see and hear you doing construction on your property. You also want to make sure you’re aware of the location of septic tanks, power lines, pipes, fiber cables and anything else that might be buried underground.
What to Store in Your Bunker
If you ever need to spend time in your bunker, you will need many essential items. The very nature of this project assumes that you may not have access to normal methods of acquiring things, such as going to the store. Here are some of the essential items to stock in your bunker:
Water –This is obviously crucial. If you have a water source in your bunker, you will still want a good water filtration system. Nor should you assume that you will have running water. For this reason, you should stock at least a month’s worth of water for every person who will be there. Water tanks are good for this purpose. Otherwise, stock up on five gallon water containers sold at many supermarkets.
Food –There are many places where you can buy dehydrated and other types of survival food. Beyond this, any type of canned food lasts for a long time. It’s also a good idea to stock up on energy bars and some snacks as well for variety.
Air –An filtration system is a good addition to a bunker. On a related note, gas masks and oxygen tanks could come in handy.
Weapons –This is a personal choice, but if you anticipate social strife you may want to stock up on guns and ammo. Other possibilities include tasers, pepper spray, combat knives and crossbows. If civilization truly breaks down you may need such things for hunting.
Communications –It’s impossible to predict how or if you’ll be able to communicate or even get messages from the outside world during a crisis. You certainly can’t count on the internet, cell phones or landlines. Some alternatives include ham radio, CB radio or GMRS radio.
First Aid –You will want to have some good basic medical supplies on hand. This includes bandages, pain killers, sterilized needles and thread and anti septic cream. Additionally, if you or anyone in your family takes regular medication for a chronic condition, make sure you keep extra doses stocked.
Everyday Necessities –Keep a good supply of items like batteries, toiletries, warm clothing, sleeping bags and anything else you may not be able to buy during a crisis.
Entertainment –This is also a factor, as living in a bunker might get boring. Keep some low tech entertainment stocked there, such as books, playing cards, board games and other simple ways to stay amused.
Conclusion: It’s Best to be Prepared
To some, personal security bunkers are an extreme measure. Yet from another point of view, they are simply a precaution that can help you feel more confident and secure. You don’t have to be paranoid or living in fear to want to provide some extra protection for yourself and your family.
If you do decide to build a bunker, make sure you plan it out carefully. There are several basic options to choose, such as building a bunker in your home or relocating to a more secure location that is already set up with a bunker.
There are many additional resources you can consult if you want more information. You can, for example, find books and websites that give detailed instructions on building a bunker. There are also plenty of prepper type guides that cover issues like survival, growing and storing food, self defense and other vital issues. Below is a short list of recommended sources for some basic information.
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