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How To Build a Fallout Shelter
for 24 people
in ten days
for less than $5,000 Canadian

If you need additional free help, you can E-mail me for free consultation at

This will provide you with COMPLETE fallout protection.
If you don't own land where you can do this -
then perhaps you can rent land from a farmer -
and get his cooperation by offering to share the shelter.

Best to locate a well - water source -
before putting in a shelter -
but time is of the essence.
Here is the quickest easiest method
for you to put in a shelter at the moment.

Buy two old school bus bodies.
(May have engines in them)
Should cost $200-400 each. (say $600 total cost)
Have them towed to a junk yard.
(If they are not already there).
Towing cost less than $100 each. (say $200 total cost)
Have them stripped at the junk yard.
EXCEPT for the back axle and wheels.

a. Remove ALL glass.
b. Remove seats (can leave one or two for place to sit)
c. Remove gas tank and all fluid receptacles
d. Have front cut off back to door way (including engine compartment frame)
(Stripping cost about $200 each).
And store at wrecking yard.
Schedule to be brought to shelter site by tow truck (which is to take back rear wheels).

Purchase 16 sheets of 3/4inch construction grade (cheapest) plywood. (Less than $500).
And store at shelter site.

Purchase (3) 12 feet long 32 inch (or larger) in diameter heavy corrugated culvert. (Less than $500).
And store at shelter site.

Purchase 4 rolls heavy grade tar paper (Less than $200).
Purchase 2 ten gallon containers of tar (Less than $100).
Purchase 2 application brushes and tarpaper sealing tape. (Less than $50).
Purchase from scrap yard (2) twelve foot lengths of material that can be used as steel ladder.
Store all of the above at the shelter site.
Door covers can be gotten later but you may need some scrap steel -
to fit the buses together. (Less than $50).

Schedule backhoe for 1 ten hour day. (About $500).
Schedule two backhoe helpers (Less than $300).
Schedule Welder to come in afternoon for 4 hours. (Less than $400).

Construction Day

Start early with backhoe.
Dig long enough for two buses.
Can slope at front to have tow truck back them in -
or backhoe can lift (drop) them in.

Call for buses.
Have tow truck bring torch and cut off back wheels and take them away.
One truck can bring one bus at a time if distance not too great.
If back hoe is to drop them in -
truck can start bringing them early in the morning.

Drop buses into hole FACE to FACE.

Have welder weld together with SUPPORT between the two buses.
Have welder cut one 10 foot length of culvert in half.
Have welder weld halves HORIZONTALLY to OPEN rear door bus openings.
Have welder weld (2) other 12 ft. culverts VERTICALLY to horizontal culverts.
Have welder cut entrance between Vertical and Horizontal culverts.
Have welder weld in two ladders.

While welding is ongoing -
use portable generator to run skill saw to cut and place plywood along windows.
The wood can be bolted on (best)
screwed on -
wired on.
Mainly so it stays in place during back fill.

Cover shelter with tar paper.
Heavily tar the whole thing -
especially around joints on culvert and culvert to bus.

Back fill.

Some further hints.
It is best that the vertical culvert extend a foot below the horizontal culvert -
and a foot above ground.

Additional openings of pipe are often beneficial
for bringing in power lines, telephone, etc.
and for exhaust -
but even smaller pipe must have the 90 degree EXTENDED turn
described for the culvert
and should start out horizontally from the top of the bus.

Equipment and cost

Cost so far: $3600 [These were Canadian dollars so could be half that amount in US]

Generator: - $1500
Portable toilet - $200
Radio (SW) - $200
(or maybe $50 from Radio Shack)
Battery lights - $100
Water purifier - $100
Miscellaneous - $300
Total $6000

sufficient space for about 24 people,
depending upon bunk arrangement and so forth.
60x8= 480

Supplying, further equipping
and so forth will get you up to around 10K Canadian

My Best Shelter Design Yet
Below is a bit more elaborate design for about 40 people
which includes a much better entrance
and two escape /air intake hatches.

It would cost less than $5K US
and I think it is the neatest design
that I have come up with to date.

A three bus & culvert shelter

There happened to be different bus sizes,
for this actual shelter -
but any three buses will do.

Those areas marked as dog houses
aren't really for dogs
(although I guess they could be)
but they are areas to get from the towers
to the shelter.
We built ours out of old furnace inserts.

This shelter uses culvert for the escape / airvent towers
and the main entrance.
Three feet to forty inches diameter is enough for the towers
but you need about 6 feet diameter for the entrance.
Because it is on an angle
a person over six feet tall will have plenty of headroom.
You will also need to build some steps inside it.

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