Constructing a bunker is a long and expensive process. However, the payoff is that you and your family can shelter inside and be protected from outside threats.
The problem with relying on a bunker for your survival is that it will be more of a trap than your salvation unless appropriately stocked.
The good news is that all it takes is a little planning, common sense, and some imagination to construct your ultimate DIY bunker kit.
Before you start putting your kit together, you need to understand what emergencies and disasters you are preparing for. Usually, someone would build a bunker to protect their family from the effects of a nuclear attack.
Still, you should consider other disasters when building your kit. Earthquakes, hurricanes, civil unrest, flooding, EMP/CME, or a global pandemic are all considerations that you need to be making.
Another consideration is the number of people calling the bunker home in the event of a disaster. You should also include the possibility that extended family or friends may find themselves inside your bunker.
Food and Water
Food and water can seem like an obvious addition to a bunker kit. Still, there is much more to providing enough food and water than buying some bottled water and MREs.
One of the first things to consider as you plan your food storage is how long you expect to stay in the bunker.
Be realistic in the timelines you establish; staying underground for several years is not practical for most families.
Suppose you are preparing to survive a nuclear attack. In that case, the radiation levels from fallout will dissipate rapidly, so being prepared to call your bunker home for three to five weeks is a good start.
However, EMP/CME, pandemics and economic collapse will result in the need for self-reliance lasting much longer. Set a realistic upper limit to the time you expect to be in the bunker and set a goal to obtaining enough food and water for that time.
As you select foods, only choose ones that require little to no preparation and are shelf-stable for decades.
Canned, dehydrated, freeze-dried, or commercial MREs are all excellent options.
If the bunker is large enough, hydroponics and aquaponics could also be options to explore. Foods rich in iodine are great additions to your stockpiles.
They will help fill your thyroid with good iodine rather than radioactive iodine that you may be exposed to after a nuclear attack or accident.
Whatever you choose should provide enough calories per day to maintain health and fitness and be food your family would want to eat.
You’ll need to store at least one gallon of water per person per day. The need for water will result in significant logistical challenges especially considering the size of the required storage tanks.
For example, a family of four will need at least 120 gallons per month, almost 1000 pounds of water that you need to store and keep clean.
If your plan was to store three months of water, you would be looking at storing seven 55-gallon drums weighing almost 500 pounds each.
All food and water stores need to be protected from exposure to the outside, be it fallout, bacteria, viruses, or the elements. In the event your water finds itself contaminated, you need to have a robust method of filtering and purifying it.
There are a wide variety types and styles of water filtration and no matter which one you choose you need to have a minimum of two backup filter systems available.
You are not going to leave your pets outside the bunker, so you must have enough supplies for them and a plan for how to deal with their waste.
In addition, dogs will require regular exercise and be trained to go to the washroom inside the bunker in a designated area.
The bunker must pull its air from the outside, which means there needs to be a high-quality filtration system in place and a large stockpile of filters.
The filters that you use need to be able to trap radioactive particles, viruses, bacteria, and dust. As with any other survival supplies you need to also have a backup system in place.
Human Waste and Garbage
Spending weeks inside of a bunker will mean that you are going to have to dispose of human waste.
There are many ways to do this, and after you select the one that works best for you, you also need to have a secondary system in case the first one goes down.
Whatever event drove you to take shelter in your bunker will be chaotic and possibly involve injuries or contamination. You must include enough first-aid supplies to deal with all injuries and wounds you are trained to treat.
Related: DIY Dollar Store First Aid Kit
The critical thing to remember is that first aid supplies are consumables. When treating a trauma, you will go through many supplies that you will not get back. This is a case where having more is better.
Include prescription medication and a wide assortment of over-the-counter medicines. If you have children be sure to stock medicine appropriate for them. Remember that there will be no doctors that you can go to; you will be on your own.
If you are preparing for a nuclear attack, stock potassium iodide and methods of detecting radiation and monitoring radiation exposure.
In the event of fallout or pandemics, decontamination supplies are critical.
Remember that decontamination will happen every time someone enters the bunker, meaning that enough supplies to handle dozens of decontamination procedures are crucial.
Cleaning agents, Tyvek suits, gas masks/respirators, garbage bags, rubber gloves, duct tape, and rolls of vapor barrier are some of the items you should start with.
It is not enough to have the supplies; you need an area set aside and designated for decontamination.
Attached to this should be an area for quarantine as well. The locations for quarantine and decontamination should have their air supply isolated from the rest of the bunker and be vented directly to the outside.
In addition, considerations need to be made for performing first-aid on contaminated people since they will need to be treated in isolation. The person treating them will need to be decontaminated and possibly quarantined before reentering the main areas of the bunker.
Provisions must also be made to launder any contaminated clothing and clean contaminated equipment.
You will be effectively cut off from the outside world when hiding in your bunker, so having a reliable way to maintain communications with the outside world is a critical consideration.
Amateur radios, shortwave receivers, CB/FRS/GRMS radios and even SDR receivers are essential to keep tabs on what is happening in the outside world, and establish communication with other survivors.
Living in a bunker with no source of electricity is a significant inconvenience.
It will deny you the ability to have reliable and safe lighting, the use of electric appliances, and the ability to keep battery-operated devices charged and ready to go. However, there are many ways to establish off-grid power.
You should find one that fits your situation and budget.
When the temperature drops, it is better to add layers of warm clothing than expend extra energy that is in short supply to heat the entire structure. Everyone should have enough warm clothing to make it through the chilly nights.
Bug Out Bags
You may need to leave the bunker due to attack or damage. Therefore, you must have bags packed with at least three days’ worth of food, water, clothing, and survival supplies for this event.
Gas masks, decontamination supplies, and protective clothing are essential for fallout but can also be helpful for pandemics as well.
Being stuck in a bunker will not be an enjoyable experience for anyone. Make sure that you have as many entertainment options as possible.
Suppose you have a reliable source of electricity. In that case, a TV and DVD player can make the long days inside the bunker a little easier.
Stuff breaks and having the tools to fix anything that breaks is essential to maintaining the bunker’s mechanical systems. Therefore, when building a tool kit, be sure that you have all the tools to disassemble and repair anything inside the bunker with you.
Stocking a bunker with supplies is as important as the bunker’s construction, and this is where you need to spend the time and attention to guarantee your survivability.
Along with building a kit, it is also critical that you conduct test runs of your bunker to find shortcomings before you need to count on the bunker for your survival.
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