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I have a house built in the 70's.

steel beam, full basement, cellar window wells, cedar shingles 2 story structure.

I was thinking of starting to add more protection to the cellar and wondering how this could best be done. Could I have some opinions on this? I can do this with a small budget - which is important right now.

I could:

1)cover the cellar window wells with plexiglass over the windows and then fill the wells with sand

2)start going over every inch of the cellar walls, using Great Stuff foam insulation to fill in places and doubling or replacing the existing fiberglass insulation that is up where the cinder blocks change to the framing wood

3) start finishing the ceiling with foam panel insulation and plywood or vinyl paneling.

Will this be worth doing? It seems like I could make the cellar much more airtight and add a little bit of shielding above us for any fallout. It isn't a lot though.

I thought if I had some notice I could start stacking our firewood in the room above what I think is the best corner of the cellar. The cellar part is already a partitioned off room, I use it to store all my prep supplies. A double layer of firewood in the room above is perhaps another 6 inches of wood shielding.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
very nice! right along the lines of what I have and can do!

thank you very much.
 
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I help enlighten folks
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if you create more than one vapor barrier it will get rotten, be careful about that.
 

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DONT TREAD ON ME
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I wouldn't try to make it airtight, air is your friend. Radioactive particles & Gamma rays are your enemy. The walls of your basement are surrounded by dirt (3 ft of dirt will provided sufficient protection from gamma rays) so you don't have to worry about the walls.

You could get rid of the window wells by simply putting some plywood on the exterior side of the window to protect it and then filling the well with dirt. Mounding dirt along the exterior of the foundation will provide additional protection (remember 3ft of dirt for adequate protection).

The main area of concern would be the ceiling, a two story house should provide decent protection from gamma radiation. The fallout particles will land on the roof giving you a buffer distance from the radioactive particles of about 19-27 ft (depending on ceiling height & attic space). Also between the fallout particles on the roof and the basement will be cedar shingles, roof decking, fiberglass insulation, drywall, carpet/wood floor, plywood underlay, drywall, carpet/wood floor, plywood underlay, then another layer of drywall (if basement is finished) that gives you about 3 inches of wood, 2.25 inches of drywall, and about 13 inches of fibrous material. So that coupled with the buffer distance the protection should be decent or acceptable.

To further increase your protection, you could create an "inner refuge" within your basement where you could stay in the beginning days of the attack (when fallout would be heaviest) and once the radiation wears off a little you could just use it to sleep in (the more time spent in the inner refuge the less gamma radiation your body will absorb-your body can only absorb so much radiation within a 24 hour period).

A couple other things you might want to consider is what if the blast breaks your windows allowing fallout particles to enter the upper floors which would in turn reduce the buffer distance, what if your house catches fire from the heat blast of the explosion, limited oxygen in your basement causing you to leave your shelter exposing yourself to harmful gamma radiation. A few steps you can take to limit these possibilities are board up the exterior windows before or immediately after a nuclear explosion has occurred (in most cases fallout particles will not arrive until 15 minutes after the explosion depending on the proximity from ground zero), paint exterior of the house with white paint or lime based white wash before an explosion (houses painted white are less likely to catch fire from the heat blast of an explosion) & or immediately after a nuclear explosion has occurred leave the shelter and quickly put out any fires that have started in or near your house, keep your shelter well ventilated using manual fans or pumps to circulate fresh air (the air itself is not radioactive. During the first hours of the event the air should be circulated sparingly until the radioactive particles have settled to the ground).

For more info check out the following:
http://www.ki4u.com/free_book/s73p916.htm

http://www.cybertrn.demon.co.uk/atomic/main.htm
 

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This is some great information guys. While I do have a protect in place plan I do not plan on going to these great lengths.
 

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I would love to have a basement under my house! But cant due to the water table! Post some pics of your progress when you get time for the rest of us to envy.
 

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Gamma Radiation

The main area of concern would be the ceiling, a two story house should provide decent protection from gamma radiation. The fallout particles will land on the roof giving you a buffer distance from the radioactive particles of about 19-27 ft (depending on ceiling height & attic space). Also between the fallout particles on the roof and the basement will be cedar shingles, roof decking, fiberglass insulation, drywall, carpet/wood floor, plywood underlay, drywall, carpet/wood floor, plywood underlay, then another layer of drywall (if basement is finished) that gives you about 3 inches of wood, 2.25 inches of drywall, and about 13 inches of fibrous material. So that coupled with the buffer distance the protection should be decent or acceptable.
It looks to me that you are confusing fall-out with Gamma Radiation.

Fall out is particulate matter (dust) produced by a nuclear explosion. A couple of stories of living space will cut down on radioactive dust (fall out) entering the basement shelter, BUT DEAD AIR SPACE WILL NOT STOP GAMMA RAYS.

What stops radiation is MASS. The thicker the mass, the more radiation it stops. The amount of mass needed to stop1/10 of the initial radiation intensity is as follows:
Steel 3.3" , Concrete 11" , Earth 16" , Water 16" , Wood 38"

To stop 99% of intitial radiation, the following mass is needed:
Steel 5" , Concrete 16" , Earth 24" packed or 36" loose, water 36"

This should give a rough idea of what needs to overhead in a basement shelter.
 

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Believe in Yourself
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How would you heat it? Wouldn't any kind cause a draft and pull in airborne particles? It would be hard to use a hand crank air filter system also maintain the right draft plus enough fresh air to breathe.
 

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Preparing since 1972
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IF you store firewood inside make sure it is surrounded by concrete...Spiders field mice ect love that stuff as their home...
 

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I have a house built in the 70's.

steel beam, full basement, cellar window wells, cedar shingles 2 story structure.

I was thinking of starting to add more protection to the cellar and wondering how this could best be done. Could I have some opinions on this? I can do this with a small budget - which is important right now.

I could:

1)cover the cellar window wells with plexiglass over the windows and then fill the wells with sand

2)start going over every inch of the cellar walls, using Great Stuff foam insulation to fill in places and doubling or replacing the existing fiberglass insulation that is up where the cinder blocks change to the framing wood

3) start finishing the ceiling with foam panel insulation and plywood or vinyl paneling.

Will this be worth doing? It seems like I could make the cellar much more airtight and add a little bit of shielding above us for any fallout. It isn't a lot though.

I thought if I had some notice I could start stacking our firewood in the room above what I think is the best corner of the cellar. The cellar part is already a partitioned off room, I use it to store all my prep supplies. A double layer of firewood in the room above is perhaps another 6 inches of wood shielding.
Don't use plexiglass it cracks easily...Use 1/4 inch LEXAN......
 

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if i was to make a basement shelter, and wanted to secure it and make it airtight as a fallout shelter, i would obviouslly need air, so i would need a hepa filter system... how does one keep the electricty running for that if there really is a fall out and the electricity goes gout?
a generator in my shelter would be deadly due ot co2,etc...
 

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if i was to make a basement shelter, and wanted to secure it and make it airtight as a fallout shelter, i would obviouslly need air, so i would need a hepa filter system... how does one keep the electricty running for that if there really is a fall out and the electricity goes gout?
a generator in my shelter would be deadly due ot co2,etc...
I'd think a hand cranked blower that pulls air through a filter would suffice... no need for electricity this way.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I had almost forgotten this thread.


I have sandbags and 3 pieces of plywood stashed to fill in my window wells now, I have gone over every inch of basement - which has lessened my field mouse problem, and I have been stacking preps to give me shielding in my corner room of the basement.

My ceiling is still a problem. Right now, all I have is 3 full cords of wood that would have to be moved to cover the floor above my shielded corner. This does NOT sound like fun.

With all the air filters for dust and allergy sufferers, geting a hepa filter is easy.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03283195000P?keyword=hepa+filter

Rigging up some sort of muscle powered system is the more challenging part.

Extremely low tech would be a couple filters in a bit of duct work and a set of fireplace bellows to push air out a small hole. Pushing air out would suck new air in through the filters...

Anyone have any inexpensive upgrades to that? My idea uses what i own right now, y'see.
 
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PreparationInBubbaNation
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if i was to make a basement shelter, and wanted to secure it and make it airtight as a fallout shelter, i would obviouslly need air, so i would need a hepa filter system... how does one keep the electricty running for that if there really is a fall out and the electricity goes gout?
a generator in my shelter would be deadly due ot co2,etc...
You could attach a 12 VDC fan to a Marine deep discharge battery

You'd need a pair of these batteries, so you could hook one up to an exterior solar panel to let it recharge, just run the wire into your shelter.

You will discharge them faster than they recharge, so only run them intermittently so many minutes per hour.

You'l also need a hand powered pump as a backup or supplement.

Afterwards you can recharge the batteries from a generator, a car, a solar panel or an alternator hooked to a bicycle, and use them to run an inverter for power without the generator running all the time (less fuel)
 
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