MOBILE CIVIL DEFENSE SHELTER: United States. 1989. A mobile demonstration nuclear, chemical, and biological shelter was constructed in 1989 from a recycled diesel fuel tank with 132 square feet of floor space, 1106 cubic feet of interior space, and dimensions of 8 feet in diameter and 20 feet in length. Markings on the shelter indicated that when installed eight feet below grade, the shelter provided 200 pounds per square inch blast protection. Reports indicate that a protection factor of 10,000 was provided by the shelter at this depth.  The chemical filter system installed was rated at 2,000 hours of useful protection. Ventilation was provided by a Swiss made ventilating unit. Comfortable occupancy was described as 10 to 12 persons, with a maximum occupancy of 30 individuals. A shelter made from a larger 10,000 gallon tank was suggested as being able to accommodate 40 people.  Sleeping accommodations were provided by hammocks designed by Cresson Kearny. Shelter supplies included survival food, some of which was stored under the flooring, and appropriate drugs and medical supplies.

Dr. Arthur Robinson towed one demonstration shelter from Oregon to the Emergency Management Institute in January 1989, and the shelter was displayed at the Civil Defense Volunteer, Self Help, and Family Protection Conference on 23-24 January. Reports indicate the shelter was well received by the conference participants. By April 1989 the Federal Emergency Management Agency insignia on the side of the shelter had been painted over, the medical equipment had been discarded, and the shelter had been parked behind the Barn on a remote side of the Emergency Management Institute campus.

The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine constructed four other shelters on this same pattern and supplied them to state emergency management agencies in Pennsylvania, Utah, Arizona, and Idaho.  Plans to allow others to construct similar shelters were available, and are reported to have been used by "many" people to construct shelters (KI4U, Inc. 2003, paragraph titled Homebuilt Buried Tank Shelters).  Estimated construction costs in 2003 were $8,000 for construction by a local fabricator with approximately the same amount of cost to outfit it with modern filtration, ventilation, lighting, and other support systems.

Sources: “Cover Pictures - FEMA’s First Mobile Shelter,” Journal of Civil Defense, Volume XII, Number 2, The American Civil Defense Association, April 1989, page 2. Murphy, Walter, “Kudos and Oddities,” Journal of Civil Defense, Volume XII, Number 2, The American Civil Defense Association, April 1989, page 32. Orient, Jane M., “Civil Defense Volunteer, Self Help, and Family Protection Conference,” Journal of Civil Defense, Volume XII, Number 2, The American Civil Defense Association, April 1989, page 25. KI4U, Inc., Nuclear Blast & Fallout Shelters FAQ, location http://www.radshelters4u.com/index3.htm, 2003.

Entry 0246 - updated 30 July 2003