Several years ago, I got in touch with Sharon Packer at Utah Shelter Systems to learn more about what I found on their web site. After speaking with her a few times, and later with Paul Seyfried, I was “sold”. No, I didn’t buy one. I have different needs. But I researched many companies for the education, and found that what Sharon and Paul offer is the best combination of design, features and survivability. Each manufacturer has something they can tout as the ultimate feature, or reason to buy. None of them had what I personally consider to be a well-rounded system designed for survivability, ease of maintenance and operation. Concentrating on their work, they were surprised to hear that I had located two companies that were copying their work, and even their web site graphics. Not that it mattered much – both of those builders are gone, now.
Visit their web site, and you’ll find all you might want to know about construction theory and options. What I found interesting about their choice of wall material is their reliance on culvert pipe. Some manufacturers use smooth walled steel or molded fiberglass. Culvert pipe isn’t as nice on the eyes. What it does offer is flexibility. Being as these shelters serve as a retreat from fallout, it makes sense that they also have resistance to the effects of nuclear blasts.
Culvert pipes are made to withstand twisting and bending in their normal use underground. They can absorb earth motion without cracking or splitting, as solid material can. Ground shock from a nearby nuclear detonation will not impact an underground shelter in a uniform fashion. It will work the whole thing over very quickly, but unevenly. Without the ability to flex, a shelter wall can be compromised. Water, or earth material can enter. Air tubes, plumbing and other structures that interface with the main shelter body can be broken off or damaged. With a flexible wall, the transferal of forces to the shell is softened, and passed along the shell body from one side to the other. I view this as a superior design feature.
Along with protection from the shock of nuclear detonations, these shelters also provide safe and clean air. Air filtration is performed by the Andair chemical and biological filters. From the USS web site:
“Utah Shelter Systems has selected the ANDAIR line of air handling systems (also known as LUWA). These proven shelter components are found in high quality shelters worldwide and are recognized as THE premier supplier of shelter technology. Andair AG produces their products in their own factory in Andelfingen, Switzerland following the rigid specifications established by the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Defense and, the Swiss Defense Technology and Procurement Agency.”
- nerve gas
- blister agents
- choking agents
- blood gases
Andair units are seen in place within the massive Swiss bomb shelters build for protecting their populations from nuclear fallout.
USS designs vary by diameter and length. I think the best option is to chose a length that will allow for proper amounts of living space for individuals, and then go as wide as possible. The wider the tube, the greater the under floor space for supplies. As is the case with RVs, there is never enough space for supplies. People will always find a way to fill available space. A 10 x 32 unit would be quite a bit larger than most RVs, with many times more storage space.
Are there other uses for a shelter? In keeping with the three-fer rule, yes. These make excellent retreats. Within a shelter, you would find absolute quiet. The perfect place for settling down and thinking, relaxing or decompressing. It may serve as additional office space, or storage. Need a quiet place for a radio room? Being as each shelter has space designated for radio operation, this is a perfect fit.
Utah Shelter Systems can be reached at their web site, or at:
11576 S. State Street
Draper, UT 84020
(435)-657-2641 (801) 453-8000
(801) 816-9984 (Fax)
Sharon Packer is also a member of The American Civil Defense Association. TACDA is dedicated to emergency, disaster and nuclear preparedness. Check out their web site. Their Journal of Civil Defense is a very good read.
A Survival Plan, and its personnel are not affiliated with USS or acting as agents of USS. We have no financial association with USS. The sole purpose of this page is to expose readers to what we believe to be the best shelter provider in the United States, and to help them understand why we believe that. Our experience with USS over the years, through conversations and e-mail, covering a wide range of topics and applications, has convinced us that Sharon and Paul have the best interests of their customers in mind. Even when their products were copied, and their intellectual property reused on the web, they operated above it all, and let their own work speak for them. How often do you see that these days?