So you want to live in a bunker?
With the recent explosion of television shows encouraging the construction of survival bunkers to protect oneself from the marauding bands of zombies and gangs of looters hell bent of stealing everything you own made me think, do I really want to live in a bunker?
Before you run out and spend tens of thousands of dollars on a survival bunker, consider why you are building it and what purpose will it serve. If the answer is using it as a temporary shelter, secure storage, or shelter from storms read no further. If you are building this bunker to survive in, you may want to read on.
While survival bunkers serve a valid purpose in surviving storms, providing a secure shelter from the elements and a secure storage are for your survival supplies, relying on a bunker to defend yourself or your family may just be a fatal flaw in planning.
Case in point, your bunker is detected and assaulted, you and your family have a choice, stand and defend, bug out or become a mole and retreat into your hole. The latter just may be a death sentence.
A retreat into an underground bunker (typical of those built currently) places all tactical advantage to the opposing force. Unless your bunker is built with firing ports, you have zero capability in repelling an attack once you’ve crawled into your mole hole. (unless of course, they are zombies, then they’ll just wander around and moan)
A typical attacker will likely do the following;
- Methodically detect and remove all traps and passive defenses around your bunker.
- Cut power to the bunker, be it solar, generated or connected to commercial mains, an outside connection is necessary and vulnerable. This will leave you and your family in the dark and all but helpless.
- Cut off air supply to the bunker. All bunkers must have ventilation systems to be survivable, these again are exposed and vulnerable. Depending on the size of your bunker, air supply will be reduced to dangerous levels very quickly.
- Use ventilation system to attack occupants of the bunker, fire, grenade, explosives etc can easily be used to drive you out of your mole hole.
Attackers / Looters will simply wait for you to emerge and seize the tactical advantage. Crawling into a hole and hoping they will leave is a pipe dream. Reality is, they will loot what they can, and knowing your mole hole is stocked to the brim with supplies, they will wait you out. You’ll have to emerge eventually.
Other challenges to bunker life
Unless your bunker is powered by solar or wind generated power your life in a bunker will degrade quickly from survival to existence. Preparing for a complete loss of infrastructure and expecting to run your gas or diesel generator indefinitely is another fatal flaw in planning. Again, these systems are extremely vulnerable to attack and can be removed easily. With little to no repair parts available, one must defend these systems, not crawl into your hole awaiting the end.
I always tell people to take a little test to simulate life inside a bunker. Cut off power to your house, go into your walk in closet with your survival gear ONLY, no cell phones, no iPods, no computers, NOTHING but what you’d expect to have in a survival scenario, and close the door for the weekend. I’d wager most readers wouldn’t make it long. Humans aren’t equipped for sub subterranean life we need to be free to survive and sometimes survival isn’t simply existing.
But I really want a bunker!
As stated before, having a bunker to provide temporary shelter is viable if you have the resources to build it. I’d suggest that you consider all of the vulnerabilities and not rely on it to provide a combat effective defense. If you do not have the resources to build a bunker, concentrate your resources in buying supplies, repair parts, power generation, etc.
If you are concerned with repelling an attack, plan your above ground defensive strategy well, build defensible areas around your home / property and be prepared to repel an attack. Use the bunker as a defensive structure ONLY if you have a way to defend from it, simply crawling in and hoping the attack will cease frankly isn’t going to happen.
Consider hurricane Katrina, arguably the best example of a complete failure of infrastructure in a major population center in the United States, there were 1,836 deaths directly attributed to the storm and aftermath of the storm. There were ZERO deaths of individuals, law abiding citizens defending life or property from looters; there was only ONE murder, considering this example, I’d be more concerned with food and water supplies than a bunker. Oh, by the way, your bunker should never be built below sea level.. =)
Do not panic buy! Continue to plan and prepare and carefully consider what you are preparing for before spending a good bit of cash for a scenario which in all likelihood will NEVER happen to you.
Invest in training, invest in becoming self sufficient, invest in supplies that will help you survive a realistic scenario. Turn off the TV, some reality shows don’t depict reality, preparedness and prudence, they exploit paranoia.