Doomsday Shelters Making a Comeback

USA Today Bomb ShelterOriginally published at USA Today, by Keith Matheny, on July 28, 2010

By Keith Matheny, USA TODAY

Radius Engineering in Terrell, Texas, has built underground shelters for more than three decades, and business has never been better, says Walton McCarthy, company president.

The company sells fiberglass shelters that can accommodate 10 to 2,000 adults to live underground for one to five years with power, food, water and filtered air, McCarthy says.

The shelters range from $400,000 to a $41 million facility Radius built and installed underground that is suitable for 750 people, McCarthy says. He declined to disclose the client or location of the shelter.


Fallout Shelters Experience Surge in Popularity

cnn Bomb ShelterOriginally published as CNN Sunday Morning: Fallout Shelters Experience Surge in Popularity, Dec. 23, 2001

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: During the height of the Cold War, school kids learned to duck and cover and nuclear fear struck deep, sometimes 15 or 20 feet. Well in recent years, those backyard fallout shelters became time capsules of sorts. But then September 11 reawakened old fears.

CNN’s Bill Delaney explains.


BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): By the time the great fear of the 1950s and much of the ’60s too, nuclear war, faded so did building that backyard bunker, the fallout shelter. Becoming a near comic image of another crew cut generation’s paranoia.

Well, fallout shelters are serious business again. Sales quadrupled around the country since September 11. Paul Siefriend who lives outside Salt Lake City, Utah is already ready.

PAUL SIEFRIEND: This is an 18-by-32 foot shelter. It’s very cramped, and it would accommodate about four to eight people. I have about 800 gallons of water in my shelter. We have a lot of canned fruit. We have canned goods that are very easy to prepare. We have several radios and radiation survey instruments. I do this because I have kids. There are nasty people out there that have some dangerous weaponry.

DELANEY: Keeping to the apocalyptic theme, Siefriends even got a red phone. As for profiting from a potential nightmare scenario, with price tags for shelters now averaging around $50,000 and as high as $300,000.

WALTON MCCARTHY: Under here is a 125-gallon water tank built into the shelter.

DELANEY: Well, Walton McCarthy sells shelters.

MCCARTHY: You got plenty of headroom. You can do jumping jacks down here.

DELANEY: Up in New Hampshire.

MCCARTHY: We have three markets. We have a military market. We have a commercial market, and we have a residential market. It’s bad in a sense that I’m sorry that there’s something that people had to die for that makes our business strong. But it’s just like selling seat belts. We think there’s going to be other threats out there.

DELANEY: Though some ask whether building a fallout shelter isn’t just digging yourself into a hole.

(on camera): Why a shelter after all in a relatively remote place like say, New Hampshire, when a terror attack is much more likely in a major city like Boston. In the suburban and rural places most shelters are built, experts say, the most likely fallout could be city people running for their lives.

(voice over): A recent study conducted for the Governor of New Hampshire concluded the states most likely nightmare scenario isn’t so much a terrorist attack as a mass evacuation of Boston, following a terrorist attack there, which would leave people in shelters hiding from desperate people without shelter. How’s that for a nightmare scenario?

Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.

Booming Business For Bomb Shelters

CBS News Bomb Shelter articleOriginally published at CBS News, December 8, 2001

Fearing nuclear terrorism, Americans are building home fallout shelters in numbers unseen since the peak of the Cold War, sometimes even mortgaging homes to cover costs, say shelter makers and designers.

Some corporations are giving the shelters to top executives as a perk, one dealer said.

Gone are the days when defense experts scoffed and neighbors shook their heads and chuckled.

“They’re treating me less like a crazy woman than they did before,” says Dr. Jane Orient, of Tucson, Ariz., who promotes home shelters as head of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness.

Walton McCarthy, president of shelter builder Radius Defense and Engineering in Northwood, N.H., says he is making almost four times as many of his egg-shaped, fiberglass underground shelters since Sept. 11 — roughly one a day. He is planning a bigger factory.


The return of home emergency shelters

Backwoods Home Magazine Bomb ShelterOriginally published by Backwoods Home Magazine, by Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM., March/April 2001

After September 11, 2001, all of us became much more concerned with protecting our families from biological, nuclear, and terrorist attacks. However, if you followed up by trying to learn more about civil defense in the United States you soon found out the dirty little secret — there isn’t a national civil defense program in the United States today.


Preparing for a worst case scenario

Security Info Watch Bomb ShelterOriginally published in Security Info Watch by Joel Griffin, Nov. 5, 2009

On the high-end of the disaster relief shelters market is Radius Engineering’s underground disaster shelter, which is built to sustain life following biological, nuclear or chemical attack. According to Walton McCarthy, CEO and founder of Radius Engineering, most of the company’s shelters, which house between 25 and 50 people, are buried 25 feet underground and can sustain life anywhere from 30 days to five years depending upon the options chosen by the customer.

“Most of the shelters we send out now are designed for six months to a year,” McCarthy said. “The bigger (corporate) communities, they won’t do less than a year.”