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Prepping 101: Doomsday Bunker – Part 1: Original Idea & Interesting Samples

Svalbard Global Seed Vault Doomsday Bunker

One of the more famous doomsday bunkers in the world is the bunker for seeds – Svalbard’s Global Seed Vault that holds more than a million varieties of seeds of food crops and it is protected from natural disasters and the temperature is regulated to ensure long term storage of the seeds. Image source: Wikipedia.

As a prepper, doomsday bunker related movies or TV serials have always attracted me. Just imagine with the pending doomsday event such as a major pandemic, alien attack or even nuclear attack and you and your family and friends have into your personal doomsday bunker tucked away from any danger and with all comfort of living for years to come.

Read these first:-

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This is a featurette from the 10 Cloverfield Lane movie titled “Bunker Mentality” which explains the backstory behind building the bunker set for the movie.

Types of Bunkers

Bunker is defined as:-

“…defensive military fortification designed to protect people and valued materials from falling bombs, artillery, or other attacks. Bunkers are almost always underground, in contrast to blockhouses which are mostly above ground…”

(Source: Wikipedia)

There are several types of bunkers in place but in its very basic form, it is a fortification to protect people and personal items. Underground railway tunnels were prominent as air-raid shelters during the 2 major wars, especially in cities like London when these cities faced aerial bombings. These air-raid shelters were not meant to hold people on a long term basis as they would leave once the danger of aerial bombing is over.

Doomsday Bunker Cheyenne Mountain Colorado NORAD

This real bunker actually served as a blueprint for a number of doomsday bunkers for a number of doomsday movies. They usually show only the front of the bunker. Image source: Wikipedia

Then the Cold War started and everyone knew that taking shelter underground will not be enough to protect from the radiation and the nuclear winter. So things got a bit more sophisticated with proper nuclear fallout bunkers. The most famous bunker during the Cold War would be the bunker at the Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado which was built for NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) which started operations in 1967. It is earthquake-proof and designed to even withstand an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack (the preferred attack by aliens).

But since 2012, the focus has been on being able to survive in a doomsday bunker when families can take shelter for a couple of years before it is safe to venture out. Often it has weapons, food (canned & MRE type), bottled waters and in the US, thousands of toilet papers.

Notable Movie & TV Series Bunker

There was plenty of movies and TV series that have doomsday bunkers that I can recall but the bunker that did not look like an ordinary bunker would be Will Smith’s character’s house/bunker/basement laboratory in the 2007 movie, I Am Legend. His doomsday bunker is an ordinary house but it is armed to the teeth, floodlights, a small gym and metal shields. The basement becomes a fully equipped laboratory as Will Smith tries to find the right serum for the virus that turns living creatures into zombies.

The other is the 2016 movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane starring the insane John Goodman who rescues and brings down a woman into his doomsday bunker as it was not safe to be on the surface. The bunker is built on extensions as the number of occupants increases and it is interesting to see the living compartment be sparse and rather compact. Frankly, it looks quite cosy and it is a place where one can spend years provided one can keep busy, mentally occupied and look towards the day when you can come out from the bunker.

And finally, a doomsday bunker of a different kind is in the movie, a doomsday train in the 2013 movie, Snowpiercer which has the super-rich in the front of the train and the super poor, low class in the back of the train. A train that continues to run non-stop to avoid the effect of the ice age on the outside and is self-sustaining with accommodations, food and water.

Bunker Games

The famous doomsday bunker computer or mobile game is the Fallout game of which I played the Fallout Shelter on my smartphone. It is basically a bunker management game similar to Airline Manager 4.

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In Fallout Shelter, players build and manage their own Vault as an Overseer – the leader and coordinator of their Vault. Players guide and direct the citizens of the Vault, known as dwellers, and need to keep them happy through meeting their needs such as power, food, and water. They rescue dwellers from the wasteland and assign them to different resource-generating buildings in the Vault, using the SPECIAL statistics system from the other Fallout games.

Each character’s SPECIAL profile affects their ability to generate different resources, and their statistics can be increased by training them in rooms devoted to each stat. The dwellers can level up over time, increasing their health, and can be given new items and weapons to help with various tasks.

The number of dwellers can be increased by waiting for new dwellers from the wasteland to arrive or by pairing a male and a female dweller in living quarters to produce babies.

Balancing resources such as food, water, and power is an important aspect of the game. Many different rooms can be built in the Vault, providing different items or stat bonuses.

Players are not required to spend money in order to accelerate long-timers or processes, instead of having the option to rush the room at the risk of triggering an incident – such as fires or “radroach” infestations.

Players are sometimes rewarded with lunchboxes that contain cards, that could give you items, resources or dwellers, which can be purchased separately through microtransactions.

(Source: Wikipedia)

I actually stopped playing this game after some time as it was taking too much of my time managing the various types of events in my “doomsday bunker” but it was an interesting game provided I have the time to go through the gameplay.

Designing My Own Bunker

Back in 1993 when I was not so occupied with social media, games and watching the TV, I often do sketches and I did a number of military sketches, designing new fighter jets and naval ships. As I look back at my collection, I noticed that I had actually designed a doomsday bunker which was designed to ensure the occupants (about 10 of us) is able to stay in a bunker for a long time.

Sketch Doomsday Bunker Drawing

My doomsday bunker is underground and is divided into several sectors or pods connected via underground, reinforced tunnels to a central structure in the middle which is a couple of stories and have all the mission-critical systems like the control centre. There are different sectors handling different requirements of the doomsday bunkers with the key one being on water recycling, purification and storage in huge underground tanks. The other key sector would be on food storage and hydroponic farms which will provide a sustainable food supply.

My doomsday bunker also has living quarters that can be expandable by utilising empty areas of the bunkers. The living quarters have alternate escape routes in case the main routes are blocked or not accessible. The environment control and air purification are closer to the living quarters to ensure fresh, clean air to the living quarters. There are medical and science labs to facilitate medical emergencies and research.

The doomsday bunker is mainly powered by solar panels is protected from the elements but unfortunately will need to be serviced regularly to keep it in working order. The occupants of the bunker will have protective overalls to venture out and will be armed as well. The solar panels will be under watch via CCTV 24 x 7 to ensure no intrusions. Energy collected from the solar panels is compressed and stored.

This was almost 30 years ago and it was just a rough sketch based on imagination and not real science. Then recently I started watching The Rain over Netflix which starts with a prominent scientist getting his children into a bunker alone for 6 years as there is something in the rain.

And that gave me a thought – if I want to do a real bunker now, how the current science and technology is going to influence my design of bunker.

To be continued in Part 2

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