Gimme shelter: Preparing for the Big One

Everyone should have a respectful fear of natural or man-made catastrophes. Today you can choose from the Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012 to the everyday fear that a nut will set loose a home-made bomb in the supermarket. In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, people in my neighborhood built home bomb shelters or called in special contractors to handle the work. Some of us began building them anew after 911.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. While there’s no hard data on how well pre-fab or high-end shelters handle radiation, chemical or germ attacks in America, there are plenty of innovations if you’re moved to take action.

Get away from it all

Photo by Hardened Structures

Photo by Hardened Structures

When only military grade will do, consider the Genesis Series by Hardened Structures. The basic unit can be expanded to suit any size family or neighborhood group. Genesis is 100 percent waterproof and fully protected against high altitude and regular electromagnetic pulses, and the nuclear, biological and chemical air filtration system is top-grade. No, it doesn’t come with vinyl siding!

Do it yourself shelters

Photo by Good Inc.

Photo by Good Inc.

If you’re interested in surviving the apocalypse and are good with tools, find a wide range of considerations at Backwoods Home Magazine. You can read about ventilation, sanitation, food and water storage, medical issues and furnishings from writer-engineer Jeffrey Yago.

You’re not alone

Photo by Home Designing

Photo by Home Designing

After the dust settles, it’s good to know you won’t be the only ones to climb up, blinking at the sun. Families, people of varying spiritual persuasions, survivalists and cultists already have their underground condos built. Many are in Utah and Montana, but there are Europeans, too, who have their shelters.  Check out the décor and details at Good.

Mr. Noah, call your office

Photo by Lifeboat

Photo by Lifeboat

Ark I is a green, self-sustaining space station proposed to house escapees from a global catastrophe. You can read all about it at The Lifeboat Foundation.  The non-profit group claims the Ark will include humans as well as native plants and animals from Earth and will feature artificial gravity. Resources will come from asteroids and the moon if dependence on a poisoned Earth is impossible.

Make mine a double:

Photo by Wardomatic

Photo by Wardomatic

You know the old axiom: for want of a nail, a shoe was lost. In this case, for want of a nail, a working rubber gasket, a well-calculated electrical circuit and your tools and appliances can blow up in your face.

It’s said that Darwinian laws cull the shabby from the durable. In the case of tools, appliances and furniture, the culling is assisted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC rounds up public complaints of product hazards and leans on manufacturers to gain recalls. Here are a few recent ones:

Give ‘em the chair

Photo by CPSC

Photo by CPSC

Office Depot has agreed to recall 319,000 Brand Biella Leather Desk Chairs sold in the U.S. and Canada between January 2002 through December 2008. If the weld to the seat plate has yet to give way and send you flying, it just might. Check with Office Depot to see if your chair is potentially unsettling.

Not your biggest fan

Photo by CPSC

Photo by CPSC

The CPSC has encouraged Westinghouse to recall 7,000 ceiling fans (24, 30 and 42-inches) for fire and electric shock hazards. It was found that the two 60-watt bulbs in the fan light exceed limits and can cause overheating or failure. Check the CPSC’s recall page for model numbers involved in the recall. (If you need moving air, open a few sliding windows.)

Cut to the chase

Photo by CPSC

Photo by CPSC

Just in time for summer: a fire-hazard recall of more than 20,000 Husqvarna grass and hedge trimmers with a faulty rubber fuel spacer. The units in question were sold at Lowes, Sears and Husqvarna stores from May 2011 until January 2012. Consumers are asked to call Husqvarna toll-free at (877) 257-6921 for recall details.

A word of appreciation

The CPSC says that faulty consumer tools, appliances, toys, furniture and other items cost the nation more than $900 billion a year. Big props to the CPSC and consumers that file reports on product incidents. You can report your experiences to Safe Products, the CPSC’s reporting arm.

Recent Comments

  • Kid's stuff:Bedroom furniture for dreamers

    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

  • To everyone, a room of one's own

    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)


  • Home designs you haven’t seen before

    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.