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Title: Ideas for fallout protection in Florida structures
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Title: Ideas for fallout protection in Florida structures
Series Title: Ideas for fallout protection in Florida structures
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Holmes, Elwyn S.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
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Bibliographic ID: UF00084303
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Source Institution: University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
Full Text
Circular 297

Ideas for Fallout Protection

in Florida Structures

E. S. Holmes / T. C. Skinner / W. H. Murphy

Bradford County Emergency Operating Center
Normally used as Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida

May, 1966

Ideas for Fallout Protection
in Florida Structutures

E. S. Holmes,1 T. C. Skinner,2 and W. H. Murphy3


No one can state with certainty that
fallout shelters will be needed. If a
nuclear attack should occur, the conse-
quences would be devastating without
Shelters can usually be economically
constructed in existing buildings or
built into new construction. Experience
shows that shelter space can be built
into many new structures without af-
fecting normal use and with little or no
added cost.
This publication presents shelter
ideas with the goal of improving the
state's total shelter capability. The de-
signs discussed are for above-ground
structures. Water table problems which
exist in many areas of Florida need

not be deterrent to a good, economical
A protection factor is indicated for
each design which permits a compari-
son of the protection factor of each
facility. A protection factor is the ratio
of radiation intensity outside the pro-
tected area as compared to radiation
intensity inside the protected area. For
example, if an area (shelter) had a
protection factor of 10, the level of
radiation outside the shelter would be
10 times greater than the level of radia-
tion inside the shelter area.
Designs shown herein take advantage
of the basic factors of distance and
mass to give fallout protection.

One-Story Building with Central Area

Many buildings in Florida, especially
in small towns, have only one floor with
no basement. Schools, business offices
and public service buildings are typical
of such structures. With proper plan-
ning and design these often make good
fallout shelters and they are usually
located in areas where they are acces-
sible to people. Nearly all such struc-
tures need a meeting room, auditorium,
kitchen or central storage area. This
central area can be designed to provide
an approved level of protection with a
two to five percent increase above nor-

mal construction cost. Protection factor
can be increased by minimizing open-
ings, filling concrete block cores with
sand, and increasing the mass of the
ceiling over the central area. A protec-
tion factor up to 100 can frequently be
designed into buildings. Examples of
Orlando schools that have included
fallout shelter protection in their con-
struction are Union Park Junior High
School, Robinswood Junior High
School, and Carver Junior High School.
It is possible to provide adequate shel-
ter protection with no cost increases in

1. Associate Rural Civil Defense Coordinator, Agricultural Extension Service
2. Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Extension Service
3. Director North Florida Civil Defense Area, State Civil Defense Agency

ROOM) PF- 100



Fig. 1-One-Story Building With Central Area

some of the more rugged and better de-
signed structures.
If such buildings are either air con-
ditioned or mechanically ventilated, a
standby electric generator will assure

power for proper ventilation in the
event of a nuclear or natural disaster.
Figure 1 shows a typical example of
such a building.

Two-Story Building

The first floor of a two-story structure
can be used as a shelter with less extra
cost than for one story buildings. This
is primarily because the cover over the
first story acts as a floor for the second
story. Therefore, the extra floor pro-
vides protection. The extra cost for
shelter protection, if any, will be in the

construction of the first floor walls. By
using high windows and masonry or
mounds of earth, a protection factor as
high as 100 is possible. Shelter costs
should not exceed by more than two
percent that for normal construction.
Actually, the University of Florida con-
structed one building that cost less

after changes were made to incorporate
shelter space. However, this is not a
normal situation. Buildings in this
category include schools, business offi-
ces, governmental buildings and large
Dade County has constructed three
schools using built-in shelters. A ma-
jor portion of the first floor of each
school was designed for fallout protec-
tion. They are Miami Coral City Senior

High School, Miami Coral Park Senior
High School, and Glades Junior High
School. In such buildings air condition-
ing or fans are necessary. A standby
generator should be included in plans
to provide adequate ventilation in an
Figure 2 illustrates a shelter area on
the first floor of a two-story building.
Notice that windows are located near
the ceiling.

Fig. 2-Two Story Building

Multistory Building

All of Florida's larger cities have
multistory buildings. Such buildings,
if properly designed, will give some
protection in interior areas and parts of
the upper floors. This is true because
of the mass of concrete and steel neces-
sary for construction and because of
the distance from these interior loca-
tions to where the radiation source is

located outside the building. The ma-
jority of Florida's public shelters are
located in such buildings. It should be
recognized that these buildings are lo-
cated where masses of people work
during the day. But such buildings are
not readily accessible at night. Also
some of these buildings could be in
target areas. Usually there is no added


Fig. 3-Multistory Building

cost for shelters in new construction,
however, the number of shelter spaces
could be increased by design changes
such as minimizing windows and doors,
having auxiliary ventilation, and by us-
ing more massive walls.
Hundreds of buildings of this type
throughout the state are marked as
fallout shelters and are stocked with
emergency food, water, medical and
sanitation supplies. Examples are large
business offices and stores, in govern-
mental structures and on university
campuses. Ventilation could be a real



problem in these buildings in times of
emergency. It is advisable that each
building be checked by competent engi-
neers before use as shelters. For those
buildings which are licensed and
stocked. the Office of Civil Defense has
made a ventilation check. Basements
and interiors of some of these buildings
may have a protection factor as high
as 1000.
Figure 3 shows a cut away of such a
structure. When a building is surround-
ed by other buildings protection is
gained by the mutual shielding they

Church Shelter

Large one story churches with few
or no windows usually have massive
walls and high ceilings and can be used
as shelters. Extra protection is obtained
by installing sprinklers at the roof peak
of steep roof churches. For the sprink-
lers to be effective water must be avail-
able at the time of an emergency which
requires a well and a standby genera-
tor. Churches, like schools, are located
at the center of population areas and
would make good 24-hour-a-day com-
munity shelters. In new construction a
protection factor of 20 is possible with
roof sprinklers, sand filled blocks and
no windows. This modification would

Fig. 4-Church Shelter

not exceed five percent of normal con-
struction cost. Significant increases in
protection above a factor of 20 would
mean an increase in roof mass. This
would probably greatly increase costs
because most church governing bodies
would not be willing to accept an in-
terior design that would conform to
excessive roof mass.
Ventilation would not be a problem
in churches unless crowded. Interior
air volume provided by allowing 10
square feet of floor space per person is
adequate for survival.
Figure 4 shows the typical high roof
type Florida church.


Fig. 5-Bunker Shelter

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Bunker Type Shelter

An earth covered bunker (Figure 5)
is an economical way of building a
good shelter. The ideal is to cover the
top and sides with soil. Earth provides
an inexpensive shield against radiation.
Cost is dependent upon the building
materials and shelter size. The bunker
idea has been used to provide com-
munity shelters that are also used as
schools, business buildings or public
buildings. The bunker can be used for
a family shelter plus storage area. Rural
families may use such a structure for
storage but caution must be exercised
to store only those items that can be
quickly removed in an emergency.
One Florida county has built com-
munity shelters from palmetto logs us-
ing the earth covered bunker idea. The

walls and ceilings are made of logs
held together with treated lumber and
the roof is covered with tar paper to
prevent moisture and dirt from filtering
into the shelter. Florida has a number
of privately built community shelters
using concrete block walls and precast
reinforced concrete ceilings.
These shelters are not expensive.
Buildings can be covered with earth
and landscaped to have an attractive
appearance. Anyone wanting to use
this idea should secure the services of
an engineer or architect familiar with
structural loading and ventilation neces-
sary in a fallout shelter. A protection
factor of 500 or greater is possible
dependent upon structural design and
thickness of the earth cover.

Shelter in Central Area of Home

Anyone planning a new home can
incorporate shelter into a central area
for an added cost of one to two percent.
Shelter areas can be incorporated into
a bathroom, utility room or central hall-
way without interfering with normal

use of the area or greatly changing its
functional design. This will allow the
family to have a private shelter, and to
have normal use of the area. This is
an economical way for families to se-
cure shelter where public or community


Fig. 6-Home Shelter In Central Area

shelters are not available. A number
of house plans using this idea are avail-
able through County Agricultural Ex-
tension offices. Architects with shelter
analysis training can incorporate this
idea into the design of any house. After
the designated shelter area is chosen,
all walls surrounding the area are
changed to 12-inch sand filled concrete
block. Where entrances to the shelter
area are necessary 12-inch sand filled
block is used in walls between the

opening and any outside exposure. It
may be necessary to shift openings in
these baffle walls to block outside radi-
ation. These walls can then be finished
to conform with other interior walls in
the house. The ceiling over the shelter
area is covered with precast concrete
slabs and about 12-inch of sand.
The average home shelter area of
above construction has a protection
factor of 40.

Special Family Shelters

Families desiring maximum protec-
tion in a private shelter should build
a shelter as is shown in figure 7. This
shelter can be attached to the home and
used as an extra room such as office or

study. However, some families have
built shelters as a separate unit in the
backyard. This separation is a good idea
if there is a danger of fire at the time
of the emergency. While a shelter of

this type gives maximum protection it
is also one of the most expensive to
construct. A protection factor as high
as 1000 is obtained depending on the
amount of earth over the roof and in
the walls. A family shelter of this type,
with proper ventilation, is still one of
the best although many other shelter
ideas have been advanced. The goal of
the National Shelter Program is the
maximum protection possible for every-

one regardless of how the shelter is
constructed or who owns it.
It is possible to build shelters of this
type underground; however, the high
ground water table in many areas of
Florida presents problems that are ex-
pensive to overcome.
Plans for the shelter illustrated are
available from county Civil Defense Of-
fice or county Agricultural Extension


I MO) ,T'

Fig. 7-Above Ground Double-Wall Shelter

A-Frame Shelter

An inexpensive way of constructing a
shelter is shown in Figure 8. This idea
uses a pole A-frame covered with tar
paper or plastic and earth. One end is
left open and a supply of sandbags
kept on hand to close the opening dur-
ing the emergency. This allows easy

access for storage and inspection at all
times. The sandbagged entrance has a
manhole opening. A baffle is used to
block radiation. This opening serves
as an exit, as a way of checking outside
radiation and as a part of the ventila-
tion system. To complete the ventila-

Fig. 8-"A" Frame Shelter

tion system a large offset pipe extends
above the roof peak at the opposite
rear end of the A-frame. The amount
of protection this shelter provides de-
pends upon the amount of earth cover
and the thickness of sandbags over the
end. The A-frame provides a protection
factor of 50 or greater.
This shelter can be built very inex-
pensively from wood timbers although

treated poles will have a much longer
life. Pipes or other structural metal
may be substituted for poles.
Since landscaping shelters of this
type presents a problem it is best
adapted to rural areas where ground
space is ample. Plans are available
from every county Agricultural Exten-
sion Office.

Water Front Shelters

Since radioactive particles accumu-
late on the roof of buildings and the
adjacent ground, part of the radiation
can be eliminated by locating at least
one wall of a building along a water
front. This is possible because the fall-
out settles to the bottom and the water

acts as a good shield. The walls exposed
to the surrounding terrain should be
built of 12-inch sandfilled block. In
so far as practical all windows should
be placed on the side exposed to the
water. Radiation from the roof can be
decreased by constructing a massive

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Fig. 9-Waterfront Shelter

ceiling or by adding a second story.
Only the first floor would be used as a
shelter area. A protection factor up to
50 can be designed into such a structure
without increasing the cost over 5 per-
cent. Florida has many lakes and
streams with homes, businesses and pub-
lic buildings being constructed along
water fronts. A good example of such

a structure is the Putnam County Emer-
gency Operating Center which is located
on the bank of the St. Johns River in
This same idea can be exploited to a
lesser degree by locating the building
on the break of a steep hill.
Figure 9 is a good example of this
water front type of shelter.

Motel Type Shelter

Along Florida's highways and in its
larger cities motels can be constructed
to serve as shelters. When designed as
suggested in Figure 10 such facilities
provide good protection in the first floor
rooms. This is accomplished by 12 inch
sand filled blocks along the front walls,
use of high windows, and planters which
act as baffles in front of all doors.
Mutual shielding is available on three

walls because of room layout. A protec-
tion factor up to 75 is possible in these
motel rooms. The minimum window
area and added wall mass will reduce
the amount of refrigeration necessary
for air conditioning. Extra costs should
not exceed approximately 2 to 3 percent
and would eventually be cancelled out
by reduced operational costs.



Fig. 10-Motel Shelter

Fig. 11-Supermarket Shelter

Supermarket Shelter

An idea that might be classified as an
expedient shelter is a large grocery
store, mutually shielded on two or more
sides by other buildings. The store
could serve as an emergency shelter by
having people stay behind shelves in
the middle of the store. The primary
radiation exposure will be from the
roof. Shelves filled with canned goods

offers a protection factor up to 25. This
factor can be increased if the building
has a second floor. This same technique
can be used in warehouses or other
large storage buildings where massive
materials such as canned goods, lumber,
paint, etc. are located.
Figure 11 shows a cut away of such
a building.


Facts and References

To provide fallout shelter space for
everyone, every opportunity must be
exploited. Public shelters can presently
take care of only a small percentage of
the population. Private shelters should
be encouraged. People in isolated areas
do not have access to public shelters
and none are being planned at this
Florida has a warm humid climate
which presents serious problems in
ventilating shelters. Because electric
power may not be available during an
emergency, auxiliary methods of operat-
ing ventilating equipment must be
planned. If fans are used they should
supply at least 15 cubic feet per minute

per person sheltered. In some instances
more air may be needed. If there is any
doubt about a building's ventilation
requirements an engineer competent in
environmental engineering should be
This is the nuclear age and radiation
dangers increase as more nations gain
this knowledge. Expansion of peaceful
uses of radiation materials also in-
creases chances of accidents.
Information is available from Civil
Defense Offices and County Agricul-
tural Extension Offices. Some of the
many available references are listed

Fallout Protection
What to Know and Do About Nuclear Attack
Family Shelter Designs
Fallout and Your Farm Food
Family Food Stockpile for Survival
Home and Garden Bulletin
Your Family Survival Plan
Radioactive Fallout on the Farm
Farmers Bulletin
Soils, Crops and Fallout from Nuclear
Your Livestock Can Survive Fallout from
Nuclear Attack
Fallout and Your Dairy Herd
Fallout and Your Poultry Flock


H-6 D.O.D.
H-7 D.O.D
USDA No. PA-515

USDA No. 77
USDA No. PA-578

USDA No. 2107

USDA No. PA-514

USDA No. PA-516
Fla. Ag. Ext. Service
Fla. Ag. Ext. Service

In addition to the above references the following family, community and animal

shelter plans are available through all County Extension Offices:

House Plan

House Plan

House Plan

House Plan

Fallout Shelter for People

Shovel and Axe Fallout Shelter

Free Stall. Fallout Shelter for Dairy Cattle

Free Stall Fallout Shelter for Dairy Cattle

Fallout Protection Shelter for Livestock

Bunker Type Fallout Shelter for Cattle

Fallout Alternate for Pole-Type Loafing Barn

Fallout Alternate for Florida Laying House

Fallout Shelter

Concrete Fallout Shelter

Bunker Fallout Shelter for Cattle Concrete Block

USDA No. 7141

Fla. No. 125

USDA No. 7156

USDA No. 7167

USDA No. 5934

Fla. No. 709

USDA No. 5954

USDA No. 5955

Fla. No. 701

Fla. No. 702

Fla. No. 703

Fla. No. 704

Fla. No. 705

Fla. No. 706

Fla. No. 710

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director

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