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How to Survive a Nuclear Attack: The Ultimate Guide - The Survival Prep Store

How to Survive a Nuclear Attack: The Ultimate Guide

 Is Putin threatening a nuclear war? In light of recent events, it certainly seems that way. The Russian president has been making some pretty bold statements lately, and many people are starting to worry about the possibility of a nuclear conflict.

putin nuclear war

Just last week, Putin threatened to target America's "underlying infrastructure" if the U.S. were to attack Russia. He also warned that Russia would be prepared to use nuclear weapons in response to any act of aggression. This is a major departure from Putin's usual rhetoric, and it has many people concerned about the possibility of war. 

 In this blog post, I'll discuss everything from the basics of nuclear warfare, how to build your own underground shelter to more advanced topics like radiation poisoning. So whether you're just curious about nuclear warfare or you want to be prepared should it ever happen, this blog post is for you!

Let's start with the basics.

What is nuclear warfare?

Nuclear warfare is a type of war that involves the use of nuclear weapons.

These weapons are capable of causing immense destruction and loss of life, making them some of the most powerful weapons in the world. In a nuclear attack, a nuclear bomb is detonated either in the air or on the ground, resulting in a devastating explosion.

 Will you get a warning if a nuclear attack is underway?

ballistic missile

The answer is maybe...

If you're ever faced with a nuclear attack, your first priority should be to seek shelter. You will generally only have about 5 minutes to get to safety.

This means finding a place where you can take cover and protect yourself from the blast and radiation. The best place to seek shelter is an underground area, such as a basement or tunnel.

If you don't have access to an underground area, try to find a sturdy building and get as close to the center of it as possible.

 How do you make an underground shelter?


In the event of a nuclear war, it is imperative that you have a fallout shelter and nuclear attack survival kit with Potassium Iodine (but we'll talk about the kit later.)

A nuke shelter will protect you from the radiation and fallout that would otherwise kill you.

In this guide, we will teach you how to make your own nuke shelter using materials that are readily available.

We will also discuss some of the best locations for your shelter, and how to prepare for a nuclear attack.

First lets talk about planning, you have to have a plan of action before you go ahead and blindly build yourself a bunker. We recommend using some type of planning software or blueprint to be sure your end result is what your envisioning. 

Materials Needed to Build an Underground Bunker



-Cinder Blocks


-Waterproofing Sealant

-LED Lights

-Long Term Food Storage

-Table and Chairs


-Bullet Proof Glass

-Steel Door

-Steel Shutters

-Sand Bags

-Measuring Tape


-Nails & Screws


underground shelter

For the walls and roof of your shelter, you will need thick concrete or bricks. You will also need plenty of sandbags, cinderblocks, or other sturdy material to create a fallout shelter.

In addition, you will need a way to seal off the entrance to your shelter. This can be done with a heavy door, metal sheeting, or another sturdy material.

Once you have gathered all of the materials, it is time to figure out where you're going to put your shelter.

Decide the best place to put a bomb shelter on your property

It's important to choose a spot that is:

- Far away from flood zones

- High up on a hill or mountain, in case of flash flooding

- In a remote location, you don't want to be near a populated area, but you want it to be close enough that you can get to it within 5 minutes.

- Close to a water source, in case you need to purify water


How to Build A Nuclear Fallout Shelter

Step 1. Your Foundation

 diy bunker foundation

Once you've chosen the perfect spot for your bunker, it's time to start digging! If you're planning on building a large bunker, it's best to hire a professional excavator. However, if you're only looking to build a small emergency shelter, you can probably do the digging yourself.

When you're excavating, be sure to dig down at least six feet (two meters), in order to ensure that your bunker is well-protected from the elements.

It's also a good idea to build your bunker entrance on the side of a hill so that it's less likely to be detected.

underground shelter on hill

The dimensions of your bunker should be based on how many people you want to be able to shelter in it. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 100 square feet (nine square meters) per person.

A common dimension of bunkers is eight feet by ten feet (two and a half meters by three meters). This size will comfortably fit four people and all of their supplies.

If this isn't your forte you can hire a professional to build it for you or try your hand at doing it yourself.

Just a side note:

Remember, you should try not to reveal what you are building, in an emergency situation you don't want people knowing that you have these types of things.

It will make you more susceptible to looting or even attract people who have not taken the time to prep. 

This is not a good scenario, especially if you've carefully planned how many days of food rations you've stockpiled. It's an unfortunate situation for them but prepping is about the survival of the fittest and you have to remember that you and your family are priority.


Step 3. Build Your Walls and Roof

Building the walls of your bunker is next on the agenda. If you're using cinder blocks, it's important to use mortar in between each block to create a water-tight seal.

The walls should be at least six inches (15 centimeters) thick, in order to provide adequate protection from the outside world.

building underground shelter

If you're worried about radiation exposure, you can line the walls of your bunker with lead sheets. This will help to protect you from any harmful radiation that might seep into your shelter.

Once your walls are built, it's time to start working on the roof.

One of the most important aspects of bunker construction is making sure that your roof is strong enough to withstand the weight of several feet of dirt and debris.

The roof should be made out of reinforced concrete* and should be at least two feet (60 centimeters) thick.

*Reinforced concrete is concrete in which metal mesh or rods have been inserted to strengthen the material.

The roof material should also be fireproof, in case of a wildfire. To fireproof the roof, you can use a fire-resistant spray or apply a layer of vermiculite.

If you're building an underground fallout shelter, you'll also need to install a ventilation system to ensure that the air inside is clean and breathable.


Step 4. Install Your Doors and Windows

The next step is to install the doors and windows of your bunker.

The doors should be made out of solid wood or metal and should be at least two inches (five centimeters) thick. The door should also be equipped with several deadbolt locks. The deadbolts should be large and heavy enough that they can't be broken down or cut through by looters. 

bomb shelter door


If you opt for windows they should be made out of bullet-proof glass and should be large enough to provide adequate ventilation.

Bulletproof glass can be purchased at most hardware stores or ordered online, just be sure you measure twice and order once! I say this because the cost for bullet proof glass can range from $25 to $100 per square foot, so it's definitely not cheap.

The windows should also be equipped with metal shutters, this will protect you from flying debris. The shutters should be at least 3" thick and should be mounted on heavy duty hinges that won't buckle under pressure.

You might also want to install a peephole in the door so that you can see who is outside before opening the door. If you are installing a peep hole be sure to use bullet proof glass and seal it. A peep hole might not be necessary if you have a surveillance system though.

Surveillance systems or cameras will help to deter any potential intruders and alert you if there are any looters prowling on your property.

prowler on property

You want your bomb shelter to be impossible to break into from the outside, spend the extra money, secure your shelter.

Looters will be especially motivated if they are starving, sick, and desperate.


Step 5. Waterproof Your Bunker


Now that the exterior of your bunker is complete, it's time to start working on the interior.

The first thing you'll need to do is waterproof the walls and floor. You can do this by painting the walls and floor with a waterproof sealant such as Liquid Rubber. You'll want to do this the same way you would seal a basement - using a roller and by making sure you get a thick even coat.

waterproof sealant for bunker

A good waterproof sealant is important because it will help to keep the interior of your bunker dry and mold-free.

I suggest using a sealant that is specifically designed for basements or waterproofing concrete.

You'll want to seal the walls, floor, and ceiling, don't slack off - this is an important step!


Step 6. Insulate Your Bunker

insulate underground bunker

The next thing you'll do for your underground bunker plans is to add some insulation, check out this thermal insulation

This will help to keep the interior of your bunker cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

You can purchase insulation at most hardware stores or online.

I suggest using fiberglass insulation, as it is easy to install and is relatively inexpensive. The insulation should go on the walls, floor, and ceiling. 

Insulation costs about $0.50 per square foot.

Step 7. Heating and Cooling

After you've added insulation, you may want to add some kind of heating and cooling system depending on where you live.

Click picture for details on the Solo Stove.

There are a few different options when it comes to heating and cooling, so you'll need to decide what's best for your needs.

To heat your bunker and cook food the best bet is to use butane or marine alcohol.

marine alcohol stove for bunker

Butane gives you higher BTUs, but alcohol is more easily found at a number of local stores and can potentially be produced locally from a number of different organic materials.

It is worth noting that in a power outage, a below-ground basement would maintain a livable temperature between 50 and 60 degrees, summer or winter only differing slightly based on your location. (United States)

These two options are the most efficient and will produce very little smoke. If you want to use a wood-burning stove, make sure that it is properly vented to the outside.

Many survivalists disagree with using a wood burning stove because of the risks associated with carbon monoxide, so it's important to do your research and make an informed decision.

That is why we recommend survival food buckets that do not require cooking or heating. You can obtain the same nutrients from freeze dried meat as you can from cooking it.

As for cooling, you can use a swamp cooler or an air conditioner. A swamp cooler is the most energy-efficient option, but it requires a lot of water.


Step 8. Organize Your Prepper Supplies

prepper supplies in bunker

The next step is to stock your DIY bunker with supplies.

You may be asking, "What supplies should I buy for my bunker?"

A simple trick is to write down everything that you use at least once a day for a week, this will give you a good idea of what is a necessity and what is not.

Necessities include food rations, water stored in water bricks, clothing, bedding, and first-aid supplies - including medications taken on a daily basis or as needed.

It's important to have at least a three-month supply of food and water, you'll need to calculate how much food and water you'll need to survive and for how long. To do this you need to know the number of people and what their daily caloric intake is.

To power the bunker you will need to find a power source.

One way is with a generator. Generators can be used to provide electricity for lights, cooking, and other essential needs. I highly recommend using a solar powered generator, you won't have access to gasoline in your bunker, check out this solar generator on Amazon. 

Another way to power a bunker is with solar panels. Solar panels can be used to generate electricity, which can then be stored in batteries. Solar panels can also be used to heat water, which is an important consideration in a bunker.

Finally, you might also consider using a wind turbine to generate electricity for your bunker. Wind turbines can be used to generate electricity, which can then be stored in batteries.

wind turbine for bunker


And don't forget the toilet! A small camping toilet will do the trick or sealed toilet bucket.  Many people don't know but you can use earth worms to turn over human waste. Worth looking into. 

You might also want to include some entertainment in your bunkers, such as books, games, and movies. After all, you might be spending a lot of time down there.

You will also need to stock up on medical supplies and other essential items.

Read: How to safely stockpile your prescription medications


Step 9. Location, Location, Location!



What is the Safest Place from a Nuclear Attack?

Finally, it is important to remember that a nuclear shelter is only as good as its location.

nuclear target map.  underground bunker location

Likely Nuclear Targets in the United States.
nuclear target. location for underground bunker
Blue Zones = Most Safe  Red Zones = Least Safe

The most safe areas in the US in a nuclear war include the upper Midwest, Maine, West Texas, and multiple small pockets, usually in areas that don’t have large populations. The most unsafe areas include most of the East Coast and anywhere near a major city, a key infrastructure location, or military installation.

The best locations for a fallout shelter are near mountains or other natural barriers. 

The U.S. cities most likely to be the biggest nuclear targets include New York, NY; Washington D.C.; Dallas-Fort Worth; and Jacksonville, FL. These cities could be potential targets due to their large populations and strategic value.

Although these are the most likely high-priority targets, any significant population center could potentially come under attack. FEMA and the National Resources Defense Council actually published a map in 1990 showing potential nuclear targets. 

Other major cities that could become targets for a nuclear attack include:

  • Miami, FL
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Houston, TX
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Honolulu, HI

It is important to note that you should be sure to avoid areas that are near densely populated cities or government buildings that might be targeted, this includes air force and military bases, and even famous monuments that symbolize America. 

Unfortunately these are places that would hypothetically (if we take a look a history) would be targeted first.

Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the book “Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940” from, published a map showing various military bases and nuclear stockpiles that would likely be significant targets in the event of a nuclear exchange between Russia and the U.S. 

The map and the targets listed are discussed in this article published by Independent in 2017.

In conclusion,

If you follow these steps, you will be able to build your own nuke shelter and survive a nuclear attack.

Remember you can always search for open shelters by texting SHELTER and a ZIP code to 43362. Example: Shelter 01234 (standard rates apply).

How to Survive a Nuclear Bomb

If you're caught outside during a nuclear attack, try to find something to cover yourself with. This can be anything from a piece of clothing to a door or piece of furniture.

Once you've found something to cover yourself with, get down on the ground and stay as low as possible.

One of the biggest dangers of nuclear warfare is radiation poisoning. This occurs when you're exposed to radiation from a nuclear bomb or explosion.

Symptoms of radiation poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, and skin burns.

Read: Top 100 Things You Should Start Stocking Up On for When SHTF

What happens if you're exposed to radiation?

If you're exposed to radiation, it's important to get rid of any contaminated clothing and wash your body as soon as possible. Scrub your entire body thoroughly and dispose of your clothes. Remember, everything that is exposed to fallout dust is going to be contaminated.

This includes your food such as outdoor crops, gardens, or any other food not covered outdoors.

It also includes your water supply as well,  any outdoor streams, open wells, or bodies of water will be absolutely hazardous to your health. 

That is why I cannot stress enough to buy food buckets and water bricks! This will seal off your food and drink supply from contamination!

It is absolutely crucial to have access to clean drinking water, you can buy a radiation removal filter that can eliminate up to 99.99% of radioactive materials. This is a must have for any bunker or survival scenario.

Prepping is about be prepared for anything, even if it may be unlikely. 


How far underground would you have to be to survive a nuclear blast?

Packed earth insulates against radiation and blast waves, but don't go deeper than 10 feet; because if your exits (make two) become blocked in the blast, you may need to dig yourself out. 
However, if you are confident in the foundation of your bunker the further underground th better.
The unfortunate truth is that if you are within a few miles of the blast site, you will likely die from the initial explosion if you are not in your bunker.
If you are within a few miles of the blast site and survive and were not in your bunker, you will likely die from radiation poisoning.
To ensure that you survive a nuclear blast, you need to be as far away from the blast site as possible and have a fall out shelter.
I highly recommend investing in a police scanner so that you can be aware of what's happening around you.

The United States does have an early warning system in place but this will only give you a few minutes to seek shelter before impact.

atomic bomb underground bunker

How long do you have to stay underground after a nuclear bomb?

It can be hard to gauge when it's safe to emerge from your shelter, but most estimates suggest a minimum stay of 24-hours, and a maximum stay of 14-days - enough time for the initial radiation to fall to (relatively) safe levels. Remember to keep your family safe and stay in the fall out shelter until it is safe to come out!

How do you get fresh air to breathe in an underground bunker?


A good bunker will be mostly self-sufficient, consuming as little outside resources as possible. Filtering air from the exterior has obvious drawbacks such as needing to change those filters, as well as obstructions that prevent fresh air from entering your living space. There'll almost certainly be an intake vent and an exhaust vent required. Fresh air will enter the bunker and travel through to the living area, where it will mix with the existing air. The exhaust vent will then remove the stale air from the living area and deposit it outside.

You will also need an active pump to circulate the air throughout the bunker. This will ensure that everyone inside can breathe fresh air.

Another way to get fresh air is to grow plants inside the bunker. Plants produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, so they can help purify the air. Not all plants are suitable for this, however. It's best to choose plants that don't require a lot of sunlight or water.

We recommend using phytoplankton, more than half of the oxygen you breathe comes from marine photosynthesizers , like phytoplankton and seaweed. Both use carbon dioxide, water and energy from the sun to make food for themselves, releasing oxygen in the process. 


You can also use an air purifier to clean the air in your bunker. An air purifier uses filters to remove harmful particles and gases from the air. This will help keep you healthy and safe during an emergency.

After that, you will need to make sure the vents are protected from routine annoyances like insects, rodents, weather and water. The last thing you want is for something to clog up the vents and prevent fresh air from getting in.

Finally, you will need to position the vents in such a way as to not draw in low-lying heavy vapors.

If you have a gas bunker, for example, you will want to make sure the exhaust vent is positioned high enough so that the gas doesn't escape.

Where are nuclear fallout shelters in the United States?

Most fall out shelters were built during the Cold War and were meant to protect people in the event of a nuclear attack. Today, many of these shelters are still standing, but they are not always easy to find. If you pay close enough attention you'll notice that most local banks are in fact nuclear fallout shelters.

Look for the symbol on the outside of the building:

fall out shelter

 Here are some tips on where to look for a fall out shelter:

Check with your local government. Some municipalities maintain a list of fall out shelters in their area. Here is a short list:

List of Nuclear Fallout Shelters

Check with your local historical society. Many fall out shelters have been converted into museums or other historical landmarks.

Sheltering in Place

Whether you are at home, work or anywhere else you frequent regularly, there may be situations when it's best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside.  Here are some indicators and steps to take if the situation arises:

  • Use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger.
  • If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated you may want to take this kind of action.

Here are some tips for sheltering in place:

  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do.
  • Watch TV and listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.
  • Bring your family and pets inside.
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.
  • Take your emergency supply kit or bug out bag unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
  • Go into an interior room with few windows if possible.
  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with thick plastic sheeting and duct tape. Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time.
  • Cut the plastic sheeting several inches wider than the openings and label each sheet.
  • Duct tape plastic at corners first and then tape down all edges.
  • Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.

“Sealing a room” is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. This type of sheltering in place requires pre-planning, by purchasing plastic sheeting and duct tape that you would keep in your emergency supply kit.

 List of Caves in the United States to Survive a Nuclear Explosion

Cavelandia – The Yuchi Homeland – The Decolonial Atlas

Your last option is to find a nearby cave system to bunker down in. I have included a list of all of the cave systems sorted by state. Go deep into the cave and make sure you have enough survival supplies to last you at least two weeks. Including a portable cooking stove and solar generator backpack to your supply stock is highly recommended. 
























New Hampshire

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina





South Dakota







West Virginia



 I hope you found it informative and helpful. Remember, if nuclear war does happen, the most important thing is to stay safe and shelter in place until it's over. With these tips, you'll be prepared for anything! Thanks for reading!

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velmer lee bennett - October 10, 2022

where’s lost cove cave

Samantha - October 3, 2022

jdl No one is afraid of you just try it with your toothpick arms you pathetic joke of a person. We are ready for garbage like you bring it you loser.

jdl - September 30, 2022

You are a traitor to our county and you should be shot for your insurrection like any other Putin puppet MEGA’S. You wear a tee shirt saying fuck Biden. Being an ex-military that offends me and you will pay. Just like your fuck buddy Traitor Trump. So, go hide in your hole you paranode moron. The real truth speaking Americans will find you and all like you .will be punish

Mary Thorn - August 26, 2022

Thanks I learned a lot

Jen - May 30, 2022

Amazing article 👏 we are installing a bunker this summer and I thought this was a great resource!

V. - March 3, 2022

Great list, I actually live near one of these caves and never thought to use it as fallout shelter.

Brian - March 2, 2022

Great info I’ve been to the cave of the winds in Colorado great place

Rob - February 28, 2022

A wealth of information. Knowing the locations of local fallout shelters in your area is a great tip. Everyone should know how far they live and work from major nuclear power plants and possible nuclear strike locations. This is essential for determining your actions in a nuclear event. To survive unforeseen emergencies you need at least these basic essentials, water, food, shelter, heat, light and first aid kit. I have a Bug Out Bag in each one of my vehicles just in case.

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