Over the past few years, there has been a new trend mounting in the preparedness community. Preppers all over the United States have been purchasing shipping containers and transforming them into bunkers and safe rooms. Some people place these containers deep in the woods and others bury them underground. While it seems like an inexpensive option with maximum security benefits, it isn’t quite that simple. There are actually a lot of dangers involved with using a shipping container as a bunker. That’s what we are going to look at today.
The first thing that you should know about shipping containers is that they were built to be stacked on boats, trains, or other transportation vehicles. They are meant to carry items short term and not to be buried in the ground for decades. When you bury the container, it can deteriorate based on the conditions underground.
Another problem is the strength of the container walls. Just consider the sheer amount of weight from the dirt that is packed around the container on all sides. All of this weight puts pressure on the container, much more than it was built to withstand. Most people may not realize that the walls of a shipping container are rather thin and are likely to buckle under the pressure of all of the dirt. When you bury the shipping container, it could actually weaken its structure and compromise the safety of anyone that is inside.
Do you need more reasons to change your mind about using a shipping container as a bunker? Shipping containers are very small and if you going to use it for even just one person, there will not be much space to move around. And if you plan on using it for an entire family, you will be crammed in with almost no space to move about. Families that camp out in a tent will be the only ones who know how tight of a fit it would be for a group of people in a small space. But at least in a tent, you can easily get out and get away from the other people. When you are underground in a shipping container, you have no where to go.
Another factor that you need to consider is what you will do with all of the waste and trash that you produce while you are inside your bunker. This is going to really be tricky if you are stuck inside with potential attackers lurking right above you. All that trash and waste is going to create horrible conditions for everyone in the bunker.
How will you defend your family while you are holed up in the bunker? It’s always best to have at least two exits so you can quickly escape if an intruder is coming in. What about ventilation? How are you going to keep fresh air coming in to your family underground without giving away the location of your bunker to someone that is passing by?
You also have to think about the health of your family while staying in your bunker. Many shipping containers, especially those that are less expensive, could contain paint and chemical coatings that could make your family very sick. If you are trying to stay safe by going into an underground shelter, don’t you want that shelter to make your family sick from toxic paint or other chemicals. The cost of cleaning up the paint and chemicals may mean that you might not get the cost savings you were hoping by purchasing a shipping container instead of building a bunker from scratch.
If you are still really determined to use a shipping container as an underground bunker, here is what you need to know. Make sure that the shipping container is sealed and that you are able to reinforce the walls. When you do this you must take into consideration the climate where you live. Soil and rainfall can vary greatly in different parts of the world and both can greatly affect how well your shelter will hold up. Spend some time researching the specifications of building an underground shelter and stick with recommendations from reliable sources.
Don’t forget that there is a lot of work involved in creating an underground shelter from a shipping container. Forget about just digging a hole and dropping in your shipping container and covering it with dirt and flowers. There is a lot more to an underground shelter. You need to dig tunnels for entrance and escape. You need to reinforce the walls so the pressure from surrounding dirt won’t cave in your bunker. You need to install a ventilation system. This is just the beginning.
So what are your other options when it comes to an underground shelter? If you want to build an underground bunker, it’s best to have professional builders design and create it. Just like any other structure, you should have a building inspector check out the design to make sure it is up to code. Also, if you are planning on having electricity or any other amenities in your shelter hire a professional to install them. It may cost more initially, but it will make sure that your emergency bunker is safe and effective for you and your family.
What do you think about using shipping containers as underground bunkers? Is it a good option or an all around bad idea?