Natural disasters can pop up in a matter of hours, and leave a path of destruction that takes months to clean up. Having a safe place for your family to "bug out" and stay safe till the threat passes is the only way to assure their safety. So how can you turn your home into a bunker? Here are six steps for doing just that.
Clear out Your Cellar
Cellars are great options for bunkers because they're typically made of solid concrete. If an unexpected disaster happens, you won't have time to prepare the cellar, so you'll want to plan ahead. Clear the cellar of all items and then bring in supplies you'll need in the event you have hunker down for a while.
Add in Some Food
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To make sure that your doomsday food stash hasn't spoiled, choose food items that have a long shelf life; for example, wheat is a great option. Combine it with a hand-cranked mill and you can easily turn it into flour. You can also add water to wheat seeds and create sprouted wheat, which doesn't need sunlight and can provide fresh food. Other sprouting seeds, such as broccoli and alfalfa, are great options for the same reasons. The seeds store for long periods of time and can be sprouted within a few days' time.
Salt is great for preserving food and lasts indefinitely. Honey is a great item to be used as a sweetener, and if you get raw honey, it also has a lot of nutrients while lasting for years. Because fresh milk doesn't last, powdered milk is a great option. Fat-free powdered milk, if stored correctly, can last up to 15 years. Other items to consider storing are yeast, dried eggs, spices, dried beans, rice, and vitamin supplements.
Make It Homey
Having a big stash of food is great for survival, but if you end up being stuck down there for a while, you'll want the space to be comfortable as well. Cots are a great addition providing you and your loved ones places to sleep. Pack away some space blankets in case of cold temperatures as well as storing blankets in space-saver vacuum-sealed bags that will decrease the likelihood of them being eaten. Add in other items to make it more comfortable like photographs of your family, stuff animals, candy, and books to read.
Prepare for Injuries
If there's a major disaster like an earthquake, it's possible that you may have to perform emergency medical care for someone who is injured and bleeding. Make sure to keep basic medical supplies in the bunker.
If anyone in the family takes medication for a chronic condition, store extra medications in the bunker making sure to rotate them out (i.e. have two to three months' supply in the bunker. Whenever you get the prescription filled, take the bottle out of the bunker and replace with the newly filled prescription, so the medication down there does not expire).
Other items to have include bandages, a sterilized needle and strong thread, cold medicine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, medical tape, cotton wool, and cough drops.
Keep in Contact With Outside World
If you're stuck in the basement or you're not sure if it's safe to come out, you'll want ways to hear what's going on outside the safety of your bunker. A hand-cranked radio is a great option because you don't have to worry about needing batteries. If you want to watch news broadcasts, keep a small digital TV in the bunker and choose an off-air TV antenna to get TV signals from the outside world.
You also might want to consider keeping an emergency cell phone in the bunker. These phones can last 15 years on one charge and have up to 10 hours of talk time.
Protect Your Family
Whenever disasters hit, you never know what challenges you'll face. You can protect your family by safely storing guns and ammunition in the cellar as well. Take the time to teach your family about gun safety and teach them how to properly handle and fire guns.
By taking time to prepare for disasters now, you'll have peace of mind that if something happens, you and your family will have a refuge to go to and will be comfortable until the disaster passes. Have you ever built a bunker for your home? What other tips do you have?