Don’t let your unused basement go to waste. With basement finishing, you can turn that space into a survival shelter for any emergency.
When you’re turning your basement into a survival shelter, your first task is to find out whether the ceiling and walls are structurally sound. They must be able to withstand explosions and block radiation from seeping in.
Check out this great guide from FEMA about shelter design and structure, and hire a home inspector to make sure your basement does not have weak foundations before embarking on this project.
Basement Finishing for Safety
Once you’ve had your basement evaluated, you can start building. Depending on how strong or weak your foundation is, you may not be able to do everything yourself. Even if your walls and ceilings are strong, building interior walls and installing bricks or concrete blocks into the ceiling will be a big help in blocking radiation from coming in. Building internal walls is especially important if any of your basement walls are externally exposed, because that’s where radiation is most likely to leak in.
Having more than one way out in case of an emergency is crucial.
If the only exit is the door that leads into your home, you need to create another one. Some homeowners who build shelters make this exit a secret so that if looters come in search of food and supplies, they can slip out unnoticed.
When building exits, it’s important to consider which way the door will open as well. This depends on what kind of disaster you are preparing for. A door that opens into the room will be more dangerous in case of explosions, but a door that opens outward will be more difficult to open if blocked by debris.
Clean Water and Air
You also need to make sure your shelter is airtight so radiation or other toxins can’t leak in. Also include a way to replenish oxygen, such as with air purifiers, carbon filters and plants. Managing dampness is also crucial, because mold can grow, releasing toxins into the air.
If you don’t already have a bathroom in your basement, you will need to have one installed. Consider a composting toilet, which turns waste into sanitized fertilizer.
If you have municipal water, it might be a good idea to dig a shallow well, too, so you have a reliable source of water. Another great way to keep water in your shelter is by using 10-gallon water drums, which can double as tables or chairs.
When you're planning basement finishing and thinking about the best way to make use of your space, a survival shelter is always a smart choice. But as you might guess, rookie errors can undermine your project. Rely on Falk Construction to help you build your survival shelter, so you are prepared for any event or emergency.