Building an Underground Shelter or Triage for TEOTWAWKI

treatment facility

Guest Post – Australia 

Among their many post-service uses, shipping containers make an excellent underground shelter. They are already widely used for temporary housing projects in disaster-stricken areas, after hurricanes, tsunamis and floods. However, if they are modified by preppers accordingly, containers can be dug in and fortified, preparing you for the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).

underground treatment facility

Do You Need a Shelter or Triage?

Before you start designing and planning your underground installation project, you need to determine its purpose. Every specific requirement is derived from the role of the shelter. You need to consider the depth at which you are to bury the containers, as well as materials you are going to use for insulation and reinforcement.

Door Position

An important issue is the door position. Are you going to make a trap door on the top of the fully buried container, or you are going to place the container in a mound of earth, with one or two side doors exposed? This is the preferred configuration if you’re building a treatment facility or triage. The side door allows for the easy transport of the injured in and out, and allows you to ventilate the structure at regular intervals to clear the air inside of suspended bacteria and viruses.

treatment shelter

Characteristics of Shipping Containers

Originally built for rough voyages on high seas and crane handling in ports, shipping containers nowadays boast lots of uses, as more and more people are interested in them owing to the fact that these sturdy structures are made to last and endure. Their corrugated steel hulls can be customized to your needs and easily stacked one upon another due to their modular construction. Their design maximizes the use of space with the best mechanical properties. This is why shipping containers are likely the best building material for reinforced underground shelters.

Inspect the Container Carefully Before Buying

Due to their exposure to salty air and spray, these containers are coated with rust-resistant paint. However, as this paint can wear off, you need to inspect your container for every slightest rust spot. A small patch of rust can become a big problem ponce the container is lowered into the ground. Corroded parts can give way to moisture which will threaten the whole construction and even render it useless. This is the reason why containers first need to be sealed and re-painted.

Sealing and Painting

These two procedures are crucial for the shelter integrity and durability. Cargo containers are built of sheets of COR-TEN steel with good rust resistant properties. Still they are designed for open air and scorching sun, and not to stand in water or soil for years and years. Using quality paint and enduring sealant will protect your shelter from corrosive soil compounds.


Your underground installation needs to be reinforced against the pressure of the ground. You can use bricks, cement, or additional metal sheets. A fortified shelter can stand the ground tremors during earthquakes and air raids. If you are building a defensive bunker for WROL scenarios, blasting the exposed sides with Shotcrete or Gunite will even make it bulletproof.

treatment facility

You might be living or working in an unstable part of the world, with smoldering tensions and occasional conflicts between the ethnic groups. Maybe you are a journalist or a photographer reporting from a war-stricken region, where the possibility of a sudden air raid is always real. You can build yourself a cheap underground shelter, and never leave your backyard. Finally, we’ve seen that natural disasters are often followed by WROL (Without Rule of Law) scenarios, with desperate people looting for resources. Make your stand from an underground container bunker that will protect you and your provisions from marauding gangs or pandemics.

Ease of Repair

A fortified underground container can shelter you and your family from various troubles, ranging from adverse weather conditions to man-made disasters. Violent storms can do little harm to a well-prepared subterranean installation. It can’t be blown away, tipped over, or crushed by a falling tree. The same counts for earthquakes. There is nothing to topple or fall of. The worst thing that can happen is for the concrete plating to crack here and there, but that can be easily repaired.

Some Above Ground Options

above ground

container homes

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Author Bio: Lillian Connors enjoys examining an array of topics related to sustainability, DIY practices and health, and spreading the word about them. You can check her out on Google+Twitter and LinkedIn.

Keywords: triage, underground shelter, survival medicine, preppers, shipping containers, TEOTWAEKI

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