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.

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.


When the lights go out

Toronto Sun Bomb ShelterOriginally published on the Toronto Sun by Kris Sims on November 19, 2011

There’s nothing new about fearing Doomsday. The Norsemen warned of Ragnarok, the Mayan calendar ends Dec. 2012 and the Bible foretells Judgement Day. What’s new is how the world will end, as fears tend to change as our world does.

The latest: a massive electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

Waiting for the End of the World

Men's Journal Bomb SheltersOriginally published on Men’s Journal

The current recession has not been kind to the construction business. The number of new homes being built has sunk to historic lows – down some 75 percent from 2006 – and in recent years unemployment among construction workers has approached 25 percent. Yet one corner of the industry has benefited from the financial tumult and the fear of social unrest that accompanies it. Two decades after the end of the Cold War, the fallout shelter is back.

War room is the latest addition

Chicago Tribune Bomb ShelterOriginally published on Chicago Tribune by June Fletcher and Nancy Keates, The Wall Street Journal on March 30, 2003

For Jack and Lani Garfield, duct taping the bedroom just won’t do. Instead, they’ve totally updated an old bomb shelter in their back yard, complete with a special ventilation system, a generator and a two-way radio. The retired dentist and his wife, from Palm Springs, Calif., even fixed up the decor, hanging Cold War-era bomb test photos on the wall.