Toronto Life



Before launching Atlas Survival Shelters in 2011, Ron Hubbard spent three decades building custom iron doors. As fear of pandemics, war and political unrest has spiked, so has demand for his fortificat­ion knowhow: his company’s 10-acre factory in Sulphur Springs, Texas, is backlogged with requests from across North America. Hubbard’s prefab shelters take roughly three days to lower into the ground and seal shut and can cost tens of millions of dollars. One of the most popular designs, however, is cheaper than a downtown condo: the 500-square-foot Platinum Series Bunker, which has been installed across Ontario, has two bedrooms and can be yours for roughly $335,000. The bunker is accessed via an airtight, bulletproo­f horizontal hatch made of AR500 steel. Shooting through it would require a 50-calibre rifle or a vehicle-mounted machine gun, according to Hubbard. Once unlocked, the door lifts with the help of a hydraulic system and reveals a flight of stairs descending about 20 feet. At the bottom of the stairs, the bunker veers 90 degrees to the left. All of Hubbard’s designs include a sharp turn between the hatch and the rest of the shelter to deflect gamma radiation, which tends to travel in straight lines. The door closest to the entrance leads to an airtight mudroom with a decontamin­ation shower where residents can wash off airborne viruses or pests after venturing outdoors. The removable floor panels conceal two feet of storage space for food and supplies. This bunker also comes with a pair of 300-gallon water tanks. “The ultimate prepper,” says Hubbard, “would have an undergroun­d well tied to their bunker to refill the tanks.” Sandwiched between a kids’ room and a main bedroom, the family room and kitchen comes with a couch, a TV, LED lighting, a fridge, a hot plate and a microwave. Luxury finishings include stainless-steel appliances, granite countertop­s and oak flooring. An escape tunnel attached to the main bedroom provides an alternate exit if external threats make the main hatch inaccessib­le. To reach the tunnel, residents need to lift a sandbag out of the escape box near the exit. Once the door opens, “you can pop out of the ground like a gopher,” says Hubbard. The Platinum bunker runs on solar- and windpowere­d batteries as well as electricit­y. Its airfiltrat­ion system, which is billed as resistant to harmful nuclear, biological and chemical agents, runs on electricit­y but has a manual override in case of grid failure.

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