Biggest Problem with Shelter Industry

Press Release Standards: Biggest Problem with Underground Shelter Industry Revealed

Norad Shelter Systems, a company specializing in underground shelters reveals the biggest problem with the industry.

Principles of Protection
Principles of Protection

June 27, 2016, Dallas, TexasNorad Shelter Systems LLC discusses the biggest problem with the underground shelter industry. The company specializes in the design, engineering and installation of the Norad S Series underground shelters, which is based on the designs of Walton McCarthy—a mechanical engineer with over 38 years of experience in underground shelter engineering and manufacturing.

According to the company, the biggest problem with the underground shelter industry is that the manufacturers do not have performance data published about their shelters, nor are their shelters manufactured to any engineering standards. Norad Shelter says that few manufacturers know how much radiation enters a shelter at a given distance from ground zero for various size weapons. This concept is referred to as the Total Rems in Shelter or TRS.

Norad Shelter Systems ( provides a TRS of 3-10 as an example, indicating that radiation from overhead, entranceways, and ducting will result in approximately 2 rems of gamma and/or neutron radiation entering the shelter at the 10 psi range for a given size weapon.

Unlike the majority of products in the industry, Norad Shelter Systems’ products all meet the standards established in the book ‘Principles of Protection: U.S. Handbook of NBC Weapon Fundamentals and Shelter Engineering Standards, 6th Edition 2013, Brown Books’, written by Walton McCarthy himself. The book sets the definitive design standards for underground biological, chemical, nuclear and EMP shelter engineering.

McCarthy’s book was written with the help of experts from the US Department of Energy, US Department of Defense, Strategic Applications International, Nuclear Engineering Laboratory from the University of Illinois, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Chemical Division of Edgewood Arsenal, Brookhaven National Laboratory, US Defense Nuclear Agency aWalton McCarthy, author of Principles of Protectionnd the US National Bureau of Standards. It is available on Amazon and has been used by architects and engineers around the world for over 20 years now. There are numerous other standards listed in the book for buoyancy, seismic joints, shelter duration, air manifolds, and many more.

Norad Shelter Systems offers a 30-year structural warranty on their underground shelters. Most shelter manufacturers do not state the warranty on their website, and when customers inquire, it reportedly is a 30-year warranty against workmanship and materials — which is not a warranty since it is the manufacturer who defines both workmanship and materials.

The company’s major market has been military shelters but they can be classified as nuclear bunkers, bomb shelters, biological and chemical shelters, underground fallout shelters, EMP shelters, Emergency Operations Shelters, tornado shelters, or community shelters for schools. Community shelters for schools is a major market since the NORAD tornado shelter designs do not use any concrete.


About NORAD Shelter Systems LLC

NORAD Shelter Systems LLC is a company that designs, engineers and installs underground shelters. Their product line, called the Norad S Series, is based on the designs of Walton McCarthy — a mechanical engineer who has designed and installed 1400 underground shelters in 38 years. The company’s underground shelters are manufactured to numerous engineering standards and can be classified as bomb shelters, community shelters, military shelters, etc. depending on the configuration.


Darik McCarty, Sales Engineer
Norad Shelter Systems LLC
675 Town Square Blvd
Garland, Texas 75040
United States
(972) 913-6882

Shelter Types And Ratings


The Reality Of Underground Shelter Types And Ratings

by Walton McCarthy

What is a “BUNKER”?

“Underground bunkers” were shelters designed to protect occupants from the bomb blasts of World War I and WW II. A bunker is an empty structure incapable of protecting occupants from modern warfare threats. A bunker typically does not have a life support system or any air filtration. It has a 0 psi overpressure rating, meaning that it is only effective for protection from small air dropped bombs like what was used in WW II in England . A bunker is a very short term structure considered obsolete by modern standards since it does not meet any established engineering standards for radiation shielding, chemical weapons air filtration, biological weapon air filtration, and it is not suitable even for the duration of a typical hurricane.


A survival shelter is a cheap short-term shelter that has little or no published performance data, has no published Radiation Design Dose from overhead or from the entranceway that the shelter is designed for,  has no published ratings for pressure,  no published internal radiation doses that shelterists can be expected to receive,  does not list the distance from ground zero that the shelter is designed for and  usually has a weak or no warranty.  This type of shelter has a short-term air filtration system and meets virtually no commercial or military standards, and meets no manufacturing standards.


A fallout shelter is designed primarily to protect shelterists from gamma radiation during the fallout period. This type of shelter has a rating of 0 psi of overpressure. Like all underground shelters, it should be water controlled and must provide for a twenty-eight-day period of fresh air, light, heat, flushable toilet, water, food, sleeping, radio communications, and usable space. In general, it must meet all the requirements of the blast shelter except for those relating to overpressure and temperatures from sustained fires. The shelter is a dual-purpose shelter if it can also serve as a basement or extra housing facility. Personal or family shelters are designed for use by up to ten people. A group shelter is made up of a number of family shelters, where there are two or more families together. These shelters may be connected through a common tunnel or just grouped together to make a community shelter.


This is a shelter meeting all the requirements of the fallout shelter plus a resistance to overpressures from 1 to 9 psi. It is not capable of shielding from initial nuclear radiation (neutron radiation).

S16x40 Bomb ShelterWhat is a “BLAST SHELTER”?

A shelter meeting the requirements of a fallout shelter and designed to protect its shelterists from the effects of blast, sustained fires, and overpressure from 10 to 40 psi is a blast shelter. Above a 40-psi overpressure, the shelterists will need to be restrained in seat belts. The blast shelter must also be specifically designed to protect the shelterists from large doses of neutron radiation. Above 50 psi the shelterists would be severely injured, even if the shelter is designed to withstand the blast and radiation. Just as a chain is only as strong as it weakest link, the shelter’s weakest link can be blast pressure resistance or radiation shielding. A properly-rated 40-psi shelter must be able survive the blast undamaged and must be able to provide radiation shielding at the 40-psi level. It makes little sense to survive the blast and then die of radiation sickness a few days later. A shelter psi rating is based on three factors, 1) the shelter pressure rating, 2) the shelter radiation shielding dose, and 3) the hatch and air manifold design. It is erroneous to claim a 30 psi rating for a shelter, if at that distance from ground zero, a lethal or sickening dose of radiation enters the shelter from overhead or the entranceway. Below at 0.5 miles from ground zero an overpressure can be expected in the 30 psi range. A shelter at this distance with 48 inches of earth over the crown of the shelter ceiling (44 inches in the table) would allow approximately 291 rems inside the shelter which would be lethal to the shelterists. Any shelter with 48 inches of earth over the shelter ceiling should be rated a 0 psi making it a fallout shelter. The doses in this table are from overhead only. There are other tables showing the entranceway doses. The radiation doses from all sources, overhead, entranceway, emergency escape, air ducts, all allow radiation to enter the shelter. Radiation from all sources must not exceed 25 rems in the first 30 days. The goal would be to design the shelter for a maximum of 5 rems from all sources of radiation. This rating system is known as the TRS rating or Total Rems in Shelter. A shelter with 48 inches of earth (nearest lower number is 44) would have a TRS Rating of 23-10 meaning that the shelter would allow 23 rems of radiation to enter the shelter at the 10 psi distance.



Doomsday Jitters Feed Interest

CBS News Bomb ShelterOriginally published on CBS News by Charles Cooper on July 28, 2010

Is it the prospect of an apocalyptic rendezvous with disaster in late 2012, the likelihood of nuclear terrorism devastating the homeland or just another garden-variety economic meltdown – this one perhaps qualifying as The Big One? Take your pick, but enough people are sufficiently freaked out these days to feed an apparent boomlet in disaster shelters, circa 1955.

Most folks may have assumed that doomsday bunkers had been relegated to museum backrooms chronicling the Cold War. But this USA Today reminded everyone that yes, Shakespeare was right: what’s past is sometimes prologue.


Explosive ingenuity

Dallas Business Journal Bomb ShelterOriginally published on Dallas by Shashana Pearson-Hormillosa on September 20, 2009

Walton McCarthy designs modern-day underground shelters to protect clients from long-term effects of disasters

When Walton McCarthy started building bomb shelters in 1978, he found the concrete shelters inadequate for protecting against nuclear attack. He devised a modern-day shelter that is airtight, fully self-contained and able to protect against natural disasters as well as nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Now, demand for the shelters is so high that he has not been able to match it with production and he is increasing his manufacturing facility by 50,000 square feet to meet the demand.

MOD POD: Not your mother’s bomb shelter, Walton McCarthy stands in one of the sheltersMOD POD: Not your mother’s bomb shelter, Walton McCarthy stands in one of the shelters he designed and built through his company, Radius Engineering.

Walton McCarthy is passionate about what he does — designing and building self-contained underground composite structures, better known as bomb shelters. It’s something he’s been doing for more than 30 years, but more recent incidents like the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and rumblings of nuclear weapons from Iran and North Korea have made demand for his service skyrocket.

Forney company worldwide reputation

Dallas Morning News Bomb ShelterOriginally published on The Dallas Morning News by Bruce Tomaso on May 22, 2012

Underground bomb shelters — once thought to be the last line of defense for American families should the Commies drop the big one — aren’t quite the Cold War relics that you might imagine.

KSAT-TV, the ABC affiliate in San Antonio, reports that a Forney company, Radius Engineering International Inc., specializes in building high-tech shelters designed to protect their occupants from biological and chemical weapons, nuclear bombs, even natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.

“I’m not aware of any weapon that this could not protect you from,” Walton McCarthy, the company’s principal engineer, tells the TV station.