Bomb Shelters in Elk Point

In the 1990s Pat Johnson heard that a bomb shelter was being removed from Elk Point. He tracked down the bomb shelter that CN Rail had installed in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War. A contractor from Glendon had dug up the bomb shelter and taken it with others to Glendon. Here is Pat's Photo of it along with some 1962 articles from the St Paul Journal. 

This is a brief diagram Pat drew to explain the shelter:

St Paul Journal Articles

A Nuclear Explosion

First, The Blast

A five-megaton nuclear wea­pon explodes with a brilliant flash that lasts about a minu­te. A quick burst of nuclear and heat radiation emerges from ground zero, the point of the explosion. The spurt of nu­clear radiation (wavy lines ex­tending from the fireball) is called initial radiation or prompt radiation and klils wi­thin a mile or two. The heat rays (straight lines) can kill unprotected people up to 10 miles away and may start fires beyond that. The heat rays and initial radiation are followed by a blast wave which starts at more than 2000 miles an hour, but loses much of its da­maging force by about 10 mi­les out. With the blast wave comes a violent Wind which picks up loose objects and bears them outward. In the il­lustration on a diagram, it is shown the a weapon has burst at ground level, leaving a cra­ter about half a mile across and 200 feet deep. Nearly eve­ rything within a radius of a mile of ground zero would be destroyed.

Next Fallout Starts Descending

As the brilliant fireball rises in the sky, it draws up a vast amount of earth that is melted or vaporized and contaminated by the radioactive residue of the explosion. A little later this material, condensing in the cold upper air like rain or snow, starts falling back to earth because, like ash from a fire, it is heavier than air. It is called fallout because it falls out of the sky, wherever the winds may blow it. You cannot tell from the ground whic4 way it will be carried because its scatter is determi­ned , by high-altitude winds, which) may be blowing in a dif­ferent direction from the lo­wer-level winds you can ob­serve. About five miles from the explosion, the heavier par­ticles — early fallout — would reach the ground in half an hour. Twenty miles away, peo­ple may have nearly an hour to get ready. One hundred mi­ les away the fallout may not start for four to six hours. All this early fallout, which car­ries the bulk of the radiation danger, descends in less than 24 hours. The less dangerous lighter particles — delayed fallout — might stay aloft for months.

Community Shelters

Experience in Europe in the World War II and other human experiences under disaster con­ditions have pointed to distinct advantages of the community or neighborhood fallout shelter when compared with the family shelter. There are several rea­sons why group- shelters are preferable in many circumstan­ces:

1. A larger than family-size group probably would be bet­ter prepared to face a nuclear attack than a single family, particularly if some members should be away from home at the time of an attack.

2. There would be more op­portunity to find first aid and other emergency skills in a group, and the risk of radiation exposure after an attack could be more widely shared.

3. Community shelters would provide shelter for persons away from their homes at the time of an attack.

4. Group shelters could ser­ve as a focus for integrated community recovery activities in a post-attack period.

5. Group shelters could serve other community purposes, as well as offer protection from fallout following an attack.

For these reasons the Fede­ral Government is undertaking a number of activities — invol­ving guidance, technical assis­tance, and, money — to encou­rage the development of com­munity fallout shelters, The over-all program, which got un­derway with the National Shel­ter Survey, aims at securing group fallout shelters in exis­ting and new structures, stock­ing them with essential sup­plies, marking them, and ma­king them available to the pu­blic in an emergency.

Civil Defense Advice

On Fallout Protection


Fallout Bomb Shelters For Cities

A model public shelter and community center

Many growing communities or neighborhoods are cramped for space in which small civic groups can hold their meetings. Gregarious teenagers often ha­ve no after-school hangout where they can relax with sodas and play the jukebox. This shelter can serve such purposes admirably. Requiring no sur­face space except for its en­trances, the shelter c a n be built under a school playground or other civic property without interfering with present uses. The shelter, built of corru­gated metal arches buried un­der several feet of earth, can vary in size. A steel surface door lead to a corridor-tunnel providing entry to all arches. Arches can be reinforced with metal ribs for extra blast pro­tection.


A city building provides fallout protection

After a nuclear attack, a tall apartment or office building 10 miles or more from the explo­sion could be one of the safest refuges. Because the gamma rays gi­ven off by fallout penetrate much like X-rays, the people taking shelter in the building have put as much mass of ma­terial as possible between them­selves and the particles which have settled on the roof, ground, and other horizontal surfaces. Above ground, they have gone to the middle of the building; below ground, they have found shielding in a basement corner. Those in the main basement are shielded from radiation by the surrounding earth, by par­titions, and by the whole mass of the building above. On the upper floors, people have shiel­ded themselves in the "core" of the building. They have avoided the floor with the set­back and terrace because of radiation from the fallout pi­ling up there. (For better pro­tection on any floor, it is ad­visable to keep below the win­dowsill level.) Because the tall building shields lower floors from some radiation, people have taken shelter in more rooms on that side. But no one has taken cover on the ground and top floors because the shielding there is inadequate.