You’ve probably noticed an uptick in all things nuclear. What with the Iran Nuclear Deal, the semi-annual Trinity Site tour, the Manhattan Site National Historical Park rolling along and the always fun North Korea bopping around on the horizon, you can’t hardly spit without it hitting something nuclear. So, I thought we’d take a look at modern fallout shelters rather than the normal Cold War era fun we have.
So what are you to do?
Well, one path you could take is to build your very own fallout shelter. And lucky for you, the Internet has a wealth of information on that topic! Wikihow in particular has you covered with this, I don’t know if I’d call it informative, but…interesting (?) “article” covering the ins and outs of building your very own fallout shelter. It even has pictures!
So let’s take a deep dive into Wikihow’s “How to Build a Fallout Shelter” piece, shall we?
So, this is the introductory paragraph for the piece. It’s kind of…scary? And not because of the actuality of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons existing, etc., but because of the Doomsday-ish tone the whole thing takes. And, dude: when you include other apocalyptic possibilities from movies, like an asteroid hitting Earth, you slide all the way into crazy prepper territory which kind of eliminates your credibility. At least with the non-nutjob set.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Wikihow style, each entry is divided into helpful Steps. Here’s the first step for building a fallout shelter, complete with a zombie cross-eyed guy doing the thinking, which definitely sets the tone as totally legit for the whole piece. The first step also keeps things totally light with the, “Keep in mind that this decision will either kill you or keep you alive” to close out the paragraph. No pressure though.
Step 2 asks the reader to “print out the instructions for the shelter you want to make and cross out each step when completed.” So…this How to Build a Fallout Shelter piece isn’t actually going to tell me how to do that? I don’t really know…
Step 2 also helpfully includes a scary image of a fallout shelter “plan” complete with an entirely too large image of a gas mask, which, wow, that’s really out of scale. Also, if you’re putting this much effort into a fallout shelter, and not just building one for funsies, please find a better design than “POLE COVERED TRENCH SHELTER.”
Now the article breaks into a subheading for the POLE COVERED TRENCH SHELTER. The author helpfully explains:
Basically, the idea on this one is to dig a trench, then place poles/logs on top of it and finish the combination with some soil/earth on top.
Done and done.
The first sub-step involves gathering your tools (you know, shovels).
The second sub-step goes a little over the edge into prepper/postapocalyptic dictator territory telling readers to “assign different tasks to different individuals according to their strengths and weaknesses.” Because you are The Decider.
The next several steps are trench-digging basics like, don’t dig in an area with flammable stuff (kind of like don’t put in a flowerbed without calling the utilities sorta thing), put the pile of dirt at least five feet away (no idea why), and the deeper the trench, the better the radiation protection. You know, your basic stuff.
Once we’ve dug our trench, we move on to covering it with logs and cloth or leaves. Then when we’re “absolutely positive that there is no way for the dirt to get into the living space, place the soil you dug out (and is five feet away) on the logs.”
The next step addresses the toilet issue, and includes this handy image (which I’m 95% sure is unachievable and the stuff of scifi in a dirt trench).
Then you’re supposed to make some beds: “If your skills permit, make a bunk bed.”
Step 11 helpfully explains:
Since no one likes to be trapped inside a fallout shelter if a fire happens, make sure you have at least two different exits in your fallout shelter.
And…that’s it! BUT. But…the best part of this article is the Tips, which start out crammed together in some sort of James Joyce does the Cold War paragraph. Have a look:
I mean, this tip has everything. Soil conditions, e-book fallout shelter plans, missing punctuation and typos, shout-out to “scroungers,” tips for dealing with labor, warnings about the danger of re-bar (it’ll kill you!), you know, all the basics.
After the great Tips section, we have another Paragraph 1 (I don’t know either), listing things you should include in your fallout shelter. My favorite is the First-Aid kit, which should be “extensive” and “not just the ‘taking the kids to the park’ set.” The author helpfully lists the First-Aid kit recommended by the US Department of Defense (from god knows what year), which is honestly pretty basic.
His HIGHLY (his emphasis) recommended section includes things that sound “fun” and you “may need a doctor’s clearance for a couple of these.”
So, I should just go to my doctor and ask for Tincture of Opium and a rando narcotic then? If she asks why, I’ll just tell her it’s for my fallout shelter. Should be no problem.
After the HIGHLY recommended list, the author includes other stuff you should have in the fallout shelter. My favorite is “Smoke signals” because these are definitely a physical object I can stock in my shelter. Or is he talking about the Sherman Alexie novel and just bad at punctuation? Either way.
Also good on the list of stuff is the “Radio and ‘walkie-talikes'” bullet:
For national security, guys.
The article helpfully rounds-up some Warnings and Things You’ll Need to tie up the whole shebang.
Remember to Practice Trench Safety, kids!
Until next time!
Happy Atom Smashing!