Retro: The New Frontier is BYOB

Call it a lesson learned from Katrina or dirty-bomb fearmongering, but officials in Huntsville, Alabama are re-examining and implementing emergency disaster shelter plans in which bomb shelters, university housing and an abandoned mine play starring roles.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Sept. 27) – In an age of al-Qaida, sleeper cells and the threat of nuclear terrorism, Huntsville is dusting off its Cold War manual to create the nation’s most ambitious fallout-shelter plan, featuring an abandoned mine big enough for 20,000 people to take cover underground.

Others would hunker down in college dorms, churches, libraries and research halls that planners hope will bring the community’s shelter capacity to 300,000, or space for every man, woman and child in Huntsville and the surrounding county. . . .

Many cities advise residents to stay at home and seal up a room with plastic and duct tape during a biological, chemical or nuclear attack. Huntsville does too, in certain cases.

Local officials agree the ”shelter-in-place” method would be best for a ”dirty bomb” that scattered nuclear contamination through conventional explosives. But they say full-fledged shelters would be needed to protect from the fallout of a nuclear bomb. . . .

In all, the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency has identified 105 places that can be used as fallout shelters for about 210,000 people. They are still looking for about 50 more shelters that would hold an additional 100,000 people. . . .

Plans call for staying inside for as long as two weeks after a bomb blast, though shelters might be needed for only a few hours in a less dire emergency.

Unlike the fallout shelters set up during the Cold War, the new ones will not be stocked with water, food or other supplies. For survivors of a nuclear attack, it would be strictly ”BYOE” – bring your own everything. Just throw down a sleeping bag on the courthouse floor – or move some of the rocks on the mine floor – and make yourself at home.
[AP via AOLNews]

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