Letter Re: Food Storage in the Southern United States

Mr. Rawles,
Regarding the letter, Food Storage in the Southern United States by Gary S.,, 
in Florida, from May until October, the heat is merciless, making food storage difficult. Some items, like powdered milk, barely last the summer without electrical cooling. Most folks turn their A/C up or off during the day when they are away from home or pay a very high electric bill. .With the droughts of the past few years, even heavily canopied forest home sites can be too hot. Power outages from wildfires, hurricanes, storms, tornadoes,  or heat waves can cause loss of air conditioning for days or weeks, greatly reducing the storage life of foods.

It seems to me that the best place to store food would be in a fallout shelter, which had better be a cool dry place or it won’t be livable for very long. Nuclear warfare may come to the CONUS unexpectedly, like Pearl Harbor, the WTC and Pentagon attacks, or like a thief in the night, from a multitude of enemies. This is pretty evident in the lectures, interviews, and books of Joel Skousen and others, In his book Nuclear War Survival Skills, Cresson H. Kearny, advocated dual use buildings, with one being for a fallout shelter, and the other could certainly be for cool storage. A cool storage building is a lot better explanation to family and friends than a fallout shelter is, just as long as it meets the fallout shelter specifications. We can put some kind of a green energy spin on this, like calling it a planet saving earth cooled utility building, the bureaucrats will love that, and think of all the carbon fuel that will be saved.

With the high water tables, above ground structures seem to be the way to go for cool storage independent of electricity, using thermal mass to keep things cool. However, moving thermal mass is backbreaking work, Below is a list of structures that is by no means complete, but should provide the reader with a starting point. On all of these structures, you will want the entrance facing away from the sun. I would like to hear from other readers who have addressed this issue.

1) Steel drum bunker – I saw one of these at the Patriot’s Point museum in Charleston, South Carolina, at the Vietnam Support Base. It is an ammo bunker from the Vietnam War, which has a lot of thermal mass to it, consisting of standard 55 gal drums, which are 22.5 inches in diameter and 33.5 inches high, it is eight drums wide (15 ft)  by two drums high (67 inches), the interior is probably 11ft x 11ft and the roof used either Marsden Matting, Pierced Steel Plank (PSP) or aluminum AM-2 matting, along with about three layers of sandbags, dirt and sod. For root cellar purposes, the door area would have to be expanded out with drums, four on one side, two on the other, ended with two more for a ninety degree turn. This would require about 68 drums and a heavy duty door would be needed. They obviously had a lot of 55 gal drums to spare, lining the whole perimeter with them, for added protection. But, that was how they shipped fuel back then.

2) Hesco/Gabion bunker – A wire and cloth, earth filled structure. In overseas areas these days, there are a lot of hesco or gabions being used similarly, but the kits can be expensive.
Wiki page on HESCOs
Wiki page on Gabions
HESCO corporate page
Defencell corporate page

3) Nuclear War Survival Skills – Aboveground, Crib-Walled Shelter.  I would use treated wood in the South.

4) Low-Cost Multipurpose Mini-building Made With Earthbags

5) Emergency Sandbag Shelter

6) Large culvert pipe – I’ve seen these in both concrete and metal. Kind of like this one, only one end has a regular door and you berm up around the rest of it, Mini Blast & Fallout Shelter, By Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM).

7) FEMA above ground Permanent Fallout Shelter – concrete block and concrete construction, back filled with earth. There is also a design that has a building within a building, filled with dirt or gravel.

8) Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Storm Shelter – the forms are filled with concrete after assembly and can be bermed for additional protection.

9) Thin shell concrete dome – an inflatable form is used to shape the concrete structure until it dries. See:
Monolithic Dome, EcoShell, and Basalt Roving Dome. These can be reinforced with rebar or basalt roving.

10) Thin shell concrete dome panel kit – kind of like an igloo, the panels are assembled to form the dome, and then the concreted is applied.
12′ Dome Utility Pod Kit – Out Building – Storage Shed – Well House – AiDomes
They sell a strengthening kit, but you might also be able to use the basalt roving technique as well