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Discussion Starter #1
I live on a cattle farm in pretty rural area of MS. As more people move closer my wife and I worry more about break ins and such. Also we live on the top of a hill and in the last two years we have had two tornados within a week of Christmas that have been a little to close to home. My question is how hard is it to build my own underground shelter? Thoughts so far have been to put it under a shed with a trap door or under our barn with a door in one of the tool rooms. Both of these would be good for shtf and storm if we knew it was coming but not for break in. For break in I have thought about a hidden door on our second floor that would lead to attic space. In both of these I would think I would want gun safe with guns being mostly stored underground areas alone with some food storage, water, cots and such and maybe a shotgun in attic space. Again any and all advice is appreciated especially if you've done it before. Would like to do this by myself so that not everyone knows about it.


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Considering you are in a tornado area I would think it would be fine to have someone put in a proper tornado shelter. Perfectly normal and expected. They would probably recommend somewhere close to the house to get to it easily, fast, and perhaps at night with minimal warning.

That would take care of a main most likely danger.

Which would leave you free to work on the house/attic safe room/alternative exit/hidden gun safe area. And then something in the barn.
 

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There are plenty of options... I'm currently in the middle of finishing up my sandbag underground shelter. Its been cheap... a lot of labor... but fun as well.

We had to stop on it as the weather turned, but plan to finish it up next spring. My build is in the DIY section.
 

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Underground shelters can be a DIY project as long as the water table is not at or above the lowest point of the shelter AND the ground is stable when dug. Even unstable ground can be dealt with as long as there is no water, but it is more trouble and time consuming. It will pretty much have to be a dig and cover. Digging out underground can be done, but I do not recommend it to anyone that basically has not already had some direct experience do it. It is too dangerous and I simply do not feel comfortable suggesting anyone do it.

For break-ins, either planning and practicing immediate reaction drills and keeping appropriate weapons at hand at all times, or doing an escapable safe room are pretty much it.

Getting into an attic during a break in is problematical. If you have time for that, there is a chance you would have time to get to your survival shelter, depending on its location. Again, depending on the design of your home, it would probably be better to armor the room closest to the primary point where the perps would enter the home. This is not necessarily the front door, though it might be.

But, as will probably be pointed out repeated by others, having a safe room can be 'a death trap'. Which can be true, if (just like 'bunkers' and other 'fortifications') it is not designed properly. With ventilation that cannot be compromised, and a way to get out safely if the perps either are close to penetrating the space, or they are setting in for a siege that you cannot out wait. And there are ways to do both, despite absolute refusal by some to believe it.

For your situation, again depending on the particulars of the house and ground, a shelter that can be quickly and easily accessed from inside the house, with that access easily blocked once you enter, and a couple of alternate ways to get out without being discovered, would probably be easier, cheaper, and safer than two different shelters.

But being ready to react, and having the means to do so if there is a home invasion or even just a simple break in while you are home, is the cheapest way to deal with such events. But it takes a commitment to train, and stay proficient.

You will need as much warning as possible in any event, so install some early warning methods, as well as deterrents.

Just my opinion.
 

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I know nothing about tornado areas. Seems perhaps unwise to have your shelter under a shed or your barn. If the structure collapses on top of your exit, might be a while before you were found and released.
 

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Most criminals are opportunist. If it looks hard usually they will go somewhere else. Harden your property. Build a fence around your house include your shop barn tractor shed ect. if its close enough. Leave some open area between the buildings and the fence. Get a couple of med to large dogs. They don't have to bite just fuzz up and bark if a stranger shows up. Put in cameras and an alarm. They have some really fantastic camera systems out there now. We are up grading to a new system now. I think our system has deterred as many threats as the dogs. When the casers drive or walk by at night you can see the red glow of the infrared on the cameras. Good lighting helps to. Its not a cheap fix but it works. In materials you are probably looking at 2,000 for the alarm and camera system (depending on the number and quality of the cameras you use) We fenced 3 acres that was around 3,000. Fixing to add more lighting that will be another 5 or 6 hundred depending on how much wire I have to buy. For peace of mind and not having somebody violate your house its worth every penny. The 45 and shotgun are for when we are home and the above fails. Can't help on the shelter water table here is to high. Anything we build will have to be above ground then covered up.
 

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I hate tornados! Seeing as how we are "neighbors" I feel your pain. Love my bunker but you should know up front it costs a lot more than you originally think, is harder to keep up and some people think they are scary!

I sleep in comfort though!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Underground shelters can be a DIY project as long as the water table is not at or above the lowest point of the shelter AND the ground is stable when dug. Even unstable ground can be dealt with as long as there is no water, but it is more trouble and time consuming. It will pretty much have to be a dig and cover. Digging out underground can be done, but I do not recommend it to anyone that basically has not already had some direct experience do it. It is too dangerous and I simply do not feel comfortable suggesting anyone do it.



For break-ins, either planning and practicing immediate reaction drills and keeping appropriate weapons at hand at all times, or doing an escapable safe room are pretty much it.



Getting into an attic during a break in is problematical. If you have time for that, there is a chance you would have time to get to your survival shelter, depending on its location. Again, depending on the design of your home, it would probably be better to armor the room closest to the primary point where the perps would enter the home. This is not necessarily the front door, though it might be.



But, as will probably be pointed out repeated by others, having a safe room can be 'a death trap'. Which can be true, if (just like 'bunkers' and other 'fortifications') it is not designed properly. With ventilation that cannot be compromised, and a way to get out safely if the perps either are close to penetrating the space, or they are setting in for a siege that you cannot out wait. And there are ways to do both, despite absolute refusal by some to believe it.



For your situation, again depending on the particulars of the house and ground, a shelter that can be quickly and easily accessed from inside the house, with that access easily blocked once you enter, and a couple of alternate ways to get out without being discovered, would probably be easier, cheaper, and safer than two different shelters.



But being ready to react, and having the means to do so if there is a home invasion or even just a simple break in while you are home, is the cheapest way to deal with such events. But it takes a commitment to train, and stay proficient.



You will need as much warning as possible in any event, so install some early warning methods, as well as deterrents.



Just my opinion.


Thank you. With putting space to get into in attic it would be for children who all have upstairs bedrooms and they would be able to get out through several different entrances. One being in garage the other harder to get to but still easy enough if it has to be done. The problem with only having outside solution is getting to it from upstairs in the case of a break in.


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Discussion Starter #10
Most criminals are opportunist. If it looks hard usually they will go somewhere else. Harden your property. Build a fence around your house include your shop barn tractor shed ect. if its close enough. Leave some open area between the buildings and the fence. Get a couple of med to large dogs. They don't have to bite just fuzz up and bark if a stranger shows up. Put in cameras and an alarm. They have some really fantastic camera systems out there now. We are up grading to a new system now. I think our system has deterred as many threats as the dogs. When the casers drive or walk by at night you can see the red glow of the infrared on the cameras. Good lighting helps to. Its not a cheap fix but it works. In materials you are probably looking at 2,000 for the alarm and camera system (depending on the number and quality of the cameras you use) We fenced 3 acres that was around 3,000. Fixing to add more lighting that will be another 5 or 6 hundred depending on how much wire I have to buy. For peace of mind and not having somebody violate your house its worth every penny. The 45 and shotgun are for when we are home and the above fails. Can't help on the shelter water table here is to high. Anything we build will have to be above ground then covered up.


We are in middle of 200 acres and have dogs which I am pretty sure has scared a few people in the past. We have a good alarm system now so for break in it would hopefully be for short time 30 min max until sheriff arrives. We also have cows that make a lot of noise when they are disturbed at night so that also helps. I want to put motion lights on all our barns as well and I'm currently looking at a solar powered option for that if y'all have any ideas.


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Discussion Starter #11
I hate tornados! Seeing as how we are "neighbors" I feel your pain. Love my bunker but you should know up front it costs a lot more than you originally think, is harder to keep up and some people think they are scary!



I sleep in comfort though!


We are in Byhalia and the tornado few nights ago was exactly one year from last year that went through Holly Springs and did a good deal of damage to our camp and took the lives of several.


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Get a couple of med to large dogs. They don't have to bite just fuzz up and bark if a stranger shows up.
Dogs work much better than I anticipated. I have 4 medium to large size dogs fenced in the front and each one tries to outbark the other. I am known as the crazy dog lady. Neighbors and strangers come to my property line and wait for me to come to them if they want to talk. They all do this so it must be some self preservation instinct with snarly dogs. No one gets close enough to even see the cameras I have mounted all around the house.

I have a question that I didn't think to ask before I saw this thread. I am wanting to make a root cellar, underground hidey-hole but I have terrible clay soil that any time there is a hole dug it will hold water like a pool. I am thinking in this case even having a concrete shelter poured would not overcome the tendency of the clay to hold water. Does anyone have any experience with this?
'
 

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Under ground under a building can be a death trap. What about fire,if the building catchs on fire can you get out? The same goes for being in the attic without a way to the outside.
 

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I was goose and duck hunting this past weekend. Couple friends told me where the blind was at, so I expected a normal pop-up deal with tree branches all over it... yada yada. Nope.

I walked out to a semi-open area and see a door swing open out of the ground. 30'x30' in-ground concrete room. Three shooting hatches. 1'x20' peep. Heat, running water, couch, chairs, little kitchen area. By far the nicest hunting blind i've seen.

Stayed for the afternoon, shot a couple of birds and went home. Called the property owner the next day to ask about the place. He built 6 of them on his property. Average cost was around $37,000/ea complete with everything.
 

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SW Ala. Here , but wife is Ms. gal and has family all over the state. I'm aware of the tornado problem there. Any underground project is going to very expensive. I'll offer a fairly inexpensive project, look into it . Consider a 40' cargo container, the high cube , placed between retaining walls . Build retaining walls , backfill earth against wall, not container. Leave front and rear of container exposed. A barrier wall a distance from either end ok. That's 10,000 lbs. of steel protected by earthen walls . 40' high cube in very good cond. about $ 3,000.00 , plus $200.00 or so delivery. Depending how far delivery distance is.
 

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An attic hideaway could be a horrid place to be during a break-in. What happens if the thieves/idiots/psychopaths set fire to the home before they leave?
 

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If you have the space... an outdoor, underground (or earth bermed), stand alone shelter that is out of sight/out of mind is about the best option. Building out of concrete or earthbags, etc.. makes it fire proof (and projectile proof if built accordingly)... and with a strong door that opens to the inside (so it can't be blocked by falling debris)... good to go.

It can be done for very cheap as well... just depends on what you are willing to do work wise or what you are able to do.

I currently have ~$500 in my shelter... its inside dimensions are ~12' diameter with 7' walls and a roof system designed to support over 50k lbs. Plenty of room for several people to ride out a storm... or a couple people to ride out something longer if need be. I would go stir crazy in short order... but it would function the same.
 

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Water and humidity will be your biggest challenge but going underground has many many advantages.

It can be hidden for maximum level of security

The temperature will not be extreme

Excellent chances of surviving extreme weather

Fire is unlikely

Extra storage space



Remember that no matter how deep you go you'll have to go deeper for a toilet to work and have a lower place for waste water to drain.
 
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