Disaster shelters come in many forms, sizes and types. Disaster shelters increase our chances for survival without injury and without becoming a burden to disaster recovery services. We believe that all communities should offer survival shelter incentives.
Disaster shelters requiring NBC (nuclear) protection require complete protection from blast, fallout, initial radiation, EMP, fire, and chemical and biological filtration. This type of emergency shelter is often called a 'bomb shelter'.
Natural disaster shelters, providing tornado, fire, storm and earthquake protection, do not require chemical and biological filtration. They do not need small diameter entrances with 90-degree turns for radiation protection, and can have 'walk in' type entrances. They are, therefore, slightly less expensive than 'bomb shelters'. This types of shelter can provide the needed protection without the requirement for deep overburdens of soil or concrete. However, if these disaster shelters were installed in areas of severe temperature variations, it would be advisable to cover them with 6 to 8 feet of soil, as the dirt cover acts like an insulating blanket.
Nuclear Shelters & Bomb Shelters
Bomb Shelters (or Nuclear Shelters) must be designed against all nuclear weapons effects. Standard concrete shelters designed by Utah Shelter Systems offer blast protection up to a 45 psi blast level. Our engineers can, however, design concrete shelters to much higher blast levels. Our steel pipe shelters, installed at twice their diameter, can offer blast protection levels to 150 psi and can protect occupants to within 1/2 mile (1/4 mile from the crater edge) of ground zero of a 1-megaton weapon. Learn about our steel shelter design features.
Nuclear shelter entrances must be engineered with both the proper geometry and appropriate shielding material. Our engineers have carefully designed our shelter entrances to attenuate nearly all of the gamma radiation from fallout. Our nuclear shelters have entrance lengths that are at least 4 times the diameter, plus the addition of one 90- degree turn. Fallout decays very quickly, and within 2 weeks, most gamma radiation will decay to 1/1,000th of the original level.
Bomb Shelters must protect occupants against the thermal pulse, initial radiation, fallout, blast and EMP. (See Weapons Effects). All shelters built and offered by Utah Shelter Systems are of a full 'Nuclear Bomb Shelter' standard, unless otherwise requested.
Fallout shelters are not necessarily blast shelters and are not usually designed to protect against all weapons effects. They are designed to protect shelter occupants against gamma radiation associated with fallout. Gamma radiation is the most far reaching of any of the weapons effects. Utah Shelter Systems does not build shelters to only a fallout shelter standard, unless specifically requested to do so. Steel fallout shelters if designed to only a fallout standard, must have a minimum of 4 feet of dirt cover over the shelter body. Please note, however, that prompt gammas, are not associated with fallout and the shielding material for prompt gammas is of a different type.
Small concrete shelters have the following design requirements (always consult a civil engineer, as your shelter size may not meet these requirements):
|Shelter Type||Ceiling Thickness 15 psi||Wall Thickness 15 psi||Ceiling Thickness 45 psi||Wall Thickness 45 psi|
|Above ground Shelters||31"||22"||48"||34"|
|Below ground Shelters||22"||10"||34"||10"|
|Basement Shelter with building overhead||14"||10"||22"||10"|
|Basement Shelter with interior walls||14"||20"||22"||26"|
|Basement Shelter with outside exposed wall||14"||32"||22"||48"|
All nuclear bomb shelters built by Utah Shelter Systems are carefully engineered against fallout and all other nuclear weapons effects.
Tornado Shelters, Underground Storm Shelters & Cellars
Underground storm shelters and underground storm cellars are designed for natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, and earthquakes. They do not need the long entrances and 90-degree turns that are required for radiation attenuation in nuclear shelters and are slightly less expensive than the types of emergency shelters that cover 'all hazards'. Storm shelters can have short side entrances, or even “stove top” emergency exits coming from the ceiling.
They also provide good earthquake protection and can function as a safe room, as they conceal easily. Emergency storm shelters can be connected to the commercial power grid, but we discourage any connections to commercial water or sewage systems, as these utilities are at risk for backup and breakage. Each emergency shelter must have a minimum of two entrances.
An underground tornado shelter can have a larger diameter entrance with regular staircases, and do not need a deep, 10 ft. dirt cover. We recommend, however, that they have enough cover to keep the interior at a comfortable temperature. If it is required to mound dirt over the shelter, it should have no more than a 30-degree slope, so that the high winds can 'walk' up and over the mound. Our doors are blast hardened to the same level as our nuclear shelters, in order to protect the entrance from heavy objects that may drop onto the structure.
Tornado warnings are usually not issued until a funnel cloud formation is imminent or other phenomena portending funnel formation have been witnessed. Power may be disrupted or family members may be sleeping during storms, and individuals may not receive the actual warning in time to seek safety. Our tornado shelter designs allow families enough room to comfortably stay, or even sleep overnight during storm alerts, so that they do not need to make a 'frantic' dash for the shelter when an actual warning has been broadcast.
Each shelter comes complete with a dc power source, battery-powered lights and communication systems. They have ample water storage for a 48-hour stay, chemical toilet seating and sleeping and seating capacity for each person.
Our T10 tornado shelter can house a small family (up to 10 individuals). It is 8' in diameter by 25' long. It comes with an ANDAIR VA75 ventilator, with both electric and manual function, four sets of double bunks and two set single bunks (sleeping or seating for 10).
On the other end of the spectrum, our T-100 is 12' in diameter and 50 feet long, and can house (short term), as many as 100 people. It has 2, ANDAIR VA150 ventilators, and seating, emergency sanitation and supplies for 100 people. This emergency shelter can easily be installed under parking lots and has been designed for commercial use or schools, where overnight stays are not required.
Please see pricing and ordering, or call us at 801-380-2932 for other sizes and prices.
After completing your risk assessment, if you find that security from home invasion is your main concern, you may wish to build a safe room. Safe rooms can be built above or below grade. Safe rooms should be built to the same standard as air locks, if using concrete as a medium. Steel shelters also make good safe rooms. Our safe room doors can be locked from both the inside and the outside. Our locking mechanism has been designed so that it can easily be dismantled from the inside in the event someone chooses to lock people in.
Typical safe doors should never be used in airlocks. Under conditions of blast or earthquake, the door could warp and block your egress. Always build an exit into your safe room, to assure two ways in and out.
There are creative ways to hide the door to your 'safe room' and/or 'air lock'. Please contact us for suggestions. Hiding this door is as important as securing the door.