Bomb shelter business booming

May 7, 2011


If you don’t live under a rock and do not take pride living in a state of hermitry, you have probably found out by now that Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. troops in a mansion outside of Abottabad, not far from the capital of Pakistan.

Americans near the White House were seen chanting, singing and climbing up trees (I’d climb, too) celebrating the magnitude of the night. However, concerns of terrorizing retaliation are also on the minds of most Americans. Will there be attempts of revenge on the U.S.? More than likely. So, in light of this monumental moment in history, I would like to discuss bomb shelters.

According to, “You can survive a nuclear or dirty bomb attack.”  It will not be the end of the world. “But, you must be prepared!” With these words of reassurance, I turned my interest level on high and delved deeper into this site’s survival tips.

The website had articles like, “Minimizing Exposure to Radiation,” and “Organization of the Bomb Shelter Population,” none of which caught my eye. It was then when I stumbled upon the metaphoric gold I was searching for. “Get an Underground Bomb Shelter, Hop In, and Now What?” was the article I had anticipated finding on this site.

They first mentioned the price of “store-bought” bomb shelters ranging anywhere from $20,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is a little too expensive for my taste, billfold, savings and checking accounts. But how much would it cost to build your own?

If you live within 10 miles of a potential nuclear explosion, your shelter will have to be strong enough to withstand 2,000 mph blast waves of intense pressure. You’ll have to have proper ventilation, clean water, food, toilet paper (I’d rather not use newspaper) among other essential items of survival.

Just like the process of picking out pets, houses and insurance companies, you must consider what kind of shelter layout most suitably fits your needs. “Cement block or stone, wood, poured reinforced concrete, and steel” are the most popular materials to create your protective getaway. It must support at least three feet of soil above it. Depending on the area your shelter covers, beams, poles and posts may be needed. The article went on to discuss wood vs. block frames and slightly lost my interest, just like this column may be losing yours.

Something was missing. Though I would never be able to afford a chic shelter unless I married a rich man 30 years my senior, I wanted to find more sophisticated safety, and indeed, I thought I had. Popular Mechanics shared an article on their site titled, “6 Safe, Strong and Chic Bomb Shelters You Can Buy Now.” This sounded promising.

Throughout the U.S., mainly in states like Tennessee, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, “the bomb shelter business is booming,” pun intended. They claimed that “bomb-shelter styles are as varied as the paths to annihilation.”

Unfortunately, when they used the word “chic” in the title, they were being sarcastic. There was not one decorative bomb shelter to be seen. The fact that these shelters are “bright, light and dry,” and “airtight, watertight, and bugtight, too” does not exactly qualify as “chic” in my mind.

Thankfully for us, the highest building in the F-M area is the Radisson Hotel, which is a measly 206 feet. Other than an embarrassing movie and the fact that we’re known as flood central, Fargo-Moorhead is not popular enough to attract very many terrorist attacks. Unless the Hjemkomst Center becomes a world renowned symbol of freedom too obnoxious for terrorists to ignore, I highly doubt we will be on their top 10 list.


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