So, you’ve got your underground bunker all set up, it’s all finished and you’re tired, or maybe you’re just planning it, and good planning is vital, but how long can you survive in an underground bunker?
A bunker can be an expensive investment but a life-saving one, so it’s important to invest in a bunker suitable for the number of people who will be sheltering, and the length of time needed to shelter.
The answer depends on a number of things. The quality of the shelter and food and water supplies are major factors, as well as disposal of waste, and ventilation is also a big thing.
If the bunker’s aim is to survive a nuclear attack, for example, you would need to be able to stay for at least two weeks, and experiments have proven that with the right conditions, people can stay in an underground bunker for 5 or 6 months (keep in mind conditions like rain as underground bunkers can flood) (keep in mind conditions like rain as underground bunkers can flood).
There are all kinds of very real threats to humanity out there these days, nuclear warfare and attacks and nuclear winter, biological warfare and major war events, volcanoes, and solar flares, to name a few.
As I said, planning is vital, if you want to survive, plan. A good design of a bunker is the most important aspect when it comes to your survival and the length of your survival in an underground bunker.
Ventilation and air filtration systems are vital to the length of time you can spend in a bunker. The air filtration system can protect you against biological and chemical attacks.
Basically the better equipped your bunker, the longer you can survive. If your bunker has proper sanitation, a toilet, and waste system connected to a septic tank, a kitchen that doesn’t cause fumes within the bunker, a water supply, and good ventilation preferably with an NBC filter, as long as you have adequate supplies, you could live in there for a long time.
Shelters have been designed which take large groups of people and claim that a year or more of survival is possible within the shelter, in other places a claim has been made that five years is possible for a large group in a shelter designed for this. S
o bunkers have the potential for long-term living if designed, prepared, and equipped properly.
It’s a good idea to shop around for bunkers, or put a great deal of thought into planning if you’re designing and building your own, after all, you’re looking at spending time in there continuously if there’s a life-altering disaster, so imagine yourself in there and unable to leave, and think about what you’d want, what would help.
As well as the design and furnishings, Don’t forget all those useful gadgets and survival tools that might come in useful.
Finally don’t forget the food, tins, tins, and more tins, packet and freeze-dried food, and bottled water even if you’ll have a water supply because you never know what might happen.
See the bunker as an extension of your home and life, make sure it fits your normal lifestyle as much as possible, and routine exercises of staying in the bunker can help you to see what adjustments and comforts may be needed if or when the time comes to live, make sure anyone who will be staying in the bunker with you in the event of crisis attends practice drills where you spend days living in the bunker, this will familiarize you all with the way of life and help you to see what might be missing in the case of a real emergency.
Don’t forget pets, will your pets be in the bunker with you? If so, their waste disposal, exercise, and wellbeing will need to be catered for. The waste is easy enough, it goes with the human waste, the smell may be a problem, but will they be able to cope with the environment?
An underground bunker is only safe and habitable as long as everything that makes it safe and habitable works well. Regular servicing and checks during non-crisis times are essential.
The door seals should be in perfect condition, the generator and/or engine should be correctly sealed off, all airflow and water systems should be clean and flowing freely, and cooking systems should be serviced and working safely. Everything should be checked for dampness and leaks, fungus, and mildew.
Adequate supplies for any anticipated habitation of the bunker should be in place. It is also important to have medical supplies and a plan for if someone is taken ill or injured.
A quarantine or hospital area may be required. It’s important to plan for emergencies when you’re stocking the bunker.
The better planned and equipped you are, the longer you can stay in the bunker without coming to harm from the bunker environment itself.
On that note, don’t forget protective clothing and equipment and respirators, in case the bunker environment does start to become toxic for any reason.
How long you can survive in an underground bunker depends on planning and investment, the quality of the bunker and quantity of supplies and equipment, how many people are catered for, and the lack of incidents within the bunker. The answer is, anywhere between a few weeks to several years, depending on circumstances.
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net