There was once a time when fallout shelters in American homes were common, but the concept never really caught on among the general public. Fallout shelters — special rooms that would keep you safe from radioactive fallout after a nuclear explosion — have had only sporadic periods of popularity throughout the years. Let’s take a look at the history of fallout shelters in American homes, starting with the 1950s and working our way up to today.
Why Did People Build Fallout Shelters
From the 1950s to the 1980s, the threat of nuclear war loomed large in the minds of Americans. In response, many people took steps to prepare for the worst by building fallout shelters. Unfortunately, not all were well planned out. One of the most famous examples is the fallout shelter under Houston’s Baytown Nature Center that was abandoned before it was completed when construction was halted because President Kennedy announced a treaty with Russia.
Frequently, homeowners would excavate a hole into their backyard and fill it with supplies such as food, water, cots and medical equipment (sometimes adding on an air filtration system). And if they had enough money to spare, they might add on a bomb shelter which would provide protection from radiation emitted from outside air vents or windows – but no one knew how long this type of bunker would last in a world where nukes are being dropped at random across cities.
What Was a Fallout Shelter?
A fallout shelter was a type of bomb shelter designed to protect its occupants from the radioactive fallout following a nuclear explosion. The shelters were typically underground, with thick walls and a small entrance that could be sealed to prevent radiation from entering. They would have been stocked with food, water, medical supplies, and other necessities like flashlights. There were more than 100,000 public fallout shelters constructed by 1961.
So How Do You Decide If You Need One?
There’s no easy answer when it comes to deciding if you need a fallout shelter. It depends on factors like where you live, what kind of job you have, and how much you’re willing to spend. But if you’re really worried about the possibility of a nuclear attack, there are some things you can do to prepare.
The best course of action is probably to just hope for the best, but if you’re looking for advice on whether or not to buy a fallout shelter, here are five questions that will help determine your needs.
1) Do I live within 100 miles of an urban area?
2) What kinds of jobs do I have?
3) Am I responsible for other people?
4) How much money am I willing to spend?
5) What level of protection am I looking for? These questions will help you decide whether or not getting a fallout shelter is necessary.
So Why Didn’t Everyone Have One?
As the Cold War came to an end, so too did the public’s interest in fallout shelters. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the threat of nuclear war seemed less likely, and people were no longer as willing to invest time and money into building shelters. Additionally, many fallout shelters were located in urban areas, which made them impractical for most people.
And finally, with the rise of more sophisticated missiles, it was clear that even a well-built shelter would not provide complete protection from a nuclear attack. For example, during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, America responded by building surface-to-air missile sites (SAMs) near Miami to protect against potential air strikes. These SAMs would have been useless against a ground-based strike like those used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Are They Actually Safe?
Despite the United States government’s assurances that fallout shelters are safe, many Americans remain skeptical. After all, these shelters are designed to protect people from radiation exposure in the event of a nuclear attack. But what if the attack never comes? Or worse, what if the shelter itself is hit? It turns out there are very few studies on how much protection such a shelter would provide against gamma rays or neutron irradiation.
The best answer we have right now is this one study which concluded that at least some shelters should offer complete protection during a small-scale attack. That study did not address larger-scale attacks or whether it was possible for the blast wave from an explosion to enter into the sheltered area, but it does give us some hope! Unfortunately, we can’t be sure without more research.
And let’s face it, nobody wants to risk their life with false security. Not to mention, who knows how long you’d need to stay in a shelter before you’re allowed back outside again. What will you do for food and water? How will you clean up your waste when nature calls? These are things we just don’t know enough about yet.
Should I Get One Today?
Fallout shelters were once a common feature in American homes, especially during the Cold War. But as the threat of nuclear war has diminished, so has interest in these shelters. Today, most people see them as unnecessary and even a little bit creepy. So should you get one today? Maybe not–unless you’re worried about being attacked by an army of zombies (in which case they’re perfect!).
The truth is that most Americans are safer from fallout in their own homes than they would be if they holed up underground with nothing but canned goods to eat. Plus, building your own shelter can be expensive and labor-intensive. If you’re still determined to build a fallout shelter, do some research on how much money it will cost and how long it will take to make one habitable. You’ll need at least 8 square feet per person for this endeavor! That’s a lot of resources.
Plus, it’s not like there’s a real demand for bomb shelters anymore; there haven’t been any explosions since the 1980s! To top it all off, there are plenty of other ways to increase your safety without going through all the trouble–like getting yourself and loved ones out of harm’s way when disaster strikes.