The nuclear bomb shelter Business is Booming
By Michael Gregson
The nuclear bomb shelter business is booming – thanks to Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. The spike in demand has been caused by escalating tensions between the US and North Korea as the secretive Communist State continues to develop and test nuclear weapons and missiles.
Trump responded to the threat by the rogue nation to attack the US controlled island of Guam by warning: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
The war of words has seen a surge of orders at companies like Atlas Survival, a California-based business, that sells consumer shelters ranging from $10,000 to over $100,000 for its multi-room luxury model.
Models such as the $10,000 'FallNado' can be installed in an owner's garage or there are more expensive bunkers, which are built 20 ft underground using large corrugated metal tubes and come complete with living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. The modern bunkers are kitted out with air filtration systems and generators to keep the lights on after the bomb drops.
Atlas Survival's owner of the company, Ron Hubbard, says customers have been arriving in their droves: "Instead of calling me like they normally do, they've gone in their car and they've driven down here to see what is available...(They) buy them on the spot, and I've never seen that in my entire career."
The company's website claims its bunkers are the only shelters manufactured today that have actually faced the effects of a nuclear bomb – and survived – after US Army volunteers took shelter in one during a test in 1959.
Bomb shelters are a cyclical industry, booming during crises like the current stand-off with North Korea. Hubbard has now opened a sales office in the Japanese city of Osaka. He's also opening a 400,000-square-foot plant in Dallas, largely to serve the Japanese market.
"We are back in the 1960s again," said Hubbard, referring to the Cold War demand for bomb shelters. "We've got a crazy man on one side and Donald Trump on the other." Or possibly the other way round.
The company's website claims to ship worldwide, including Japan, where Hubbard claims business is "going hogwild." Just in case anyone in Sri Lanka is interested you can contact the company at: www.atlassurvivalshelters.com
Rising S Company
Texas-based shelter maker, Rising S Company says inquiries have doubled in recent weeks and that about 80 per cent of them came from Japan – which is well within range of North Korean missiles. The company boasts of being "America's biggest and best bunker manufacturer." Incidentally, they take all major credit cards.
"It is all due to the rhetoric on what is going on in North Korea," said the company's General Manager, Gary Lynch. So far, he's sold 67 bomb shelters internationally this year, mainly to customers in Japan, compared with just 9 for the whole of 2016.
"People are genuinely afraid," said Seiichiro Nishimoto, President of Shelter Company, an Osaka-based installer of nuclear shelters imported from Israel. "That's why we're getting so many calls."
In Detroit, the Manager of an Army supply store said that a few people have mentioned the North Korean threat when purchasing survival products like gas masks and the radiation antidote potassium iodide.
"Some woman came in earlier and said she had to get it because of little Kim," Ben Orr told a local TV station. He said his shop has been "unusually busy" and he's seen a substantial increase in potassium iodide sales.
"It actually stops your thyroid from absorbing any radiation. So, it fills your thyroid with iodine, which it normally does anyways," Orr said. "Your body can't tell the difference between bad, radioactive iodine and acceptable iodine, so it actually will stop you from getting thyroid cancer." A useful post-apocalypse survival hint.
Another American company, Survival Condo has turned an old, defunct Atlas nuclear missile silo into a series of luxury condominiums. Full-floor condos have been sold for $3 million, while half-floor units of about 900 square feet, sold for $1.5 million. Handy if you want a hidey-hole in the US.
The complex includes an indoor shooting range, pool, dog park, rock-climbing wall, arcade, exercise facility, as well as space to grow hydroponic food and a digital weather station. The company says the facility's 2.5-to-9-foot thick walls can withstand a nuclear bomb and winds in excess of 500 mph. So, a safe investment if there is a Colombo property bubble.
You can also buy shares in underground bunker complexes from the Californian company, Vivos, which has completely sold out all places in an 80-person facility, with shares going for $35,000 per adult.
US shelter makers have learned that paranoia can be a potent marketing tool. Vivos, for example, has a website with images of viral pandemics, asteroid strikes, nuclear mushroom clouds, and other calamities.
"People are sensing that a global life-changing event is just ahead. Millions of people believe that we are living in the 'end times.'
The governments of the world know something and have been bunkering up for decades. Why is nobody telling you to prepare?" the company says.
Owners of shelters generally say they don't want their neighbours to know they have one, Hubbard said. "They would all be freaking out and banging on your door," he said. "It is kind of like when a ship sinks – everyone swims to the floating life raft."
But some government officials are warning the public to take care when it comes to choosing a shelter.
Preparing for a nuclear emergency
"Anyone buying a shelter should first vet it carefully with someone knowledgeable about exposure to nuclear fallout," said Dr. Robert Levin, Public Health Officer for Ventura County in California.
Levin, who has recently urged communities to start preparing for a nuclear emergency said there are other precautions people can take. One, he said, is for people to identify secure places in their homes or offices where they can take cover during an emergency.
However, I am not sure many homes - even in America – come equipped with a concrete vault capable of withstanding a multi-megaton blast. So, maybe if you're worried about the bomb it's time to invest in a purpose-built bunker.
The owner of Atlas Survival, Ron Hubbard says that a growing segment of homeowners want the ultimate protection. That includes people in Japan, where developers are building new communities with bomb shelters pre-installed and using the feature to attract customers.
Personally, I'd be much more interested in a swimming pool.
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