Freitag, 24. April 2015

U is for Underground bunkers

photo property of Null Stern hotel
There is enough room underground to accommodate the population of Switzerland should the need ever arise.
The bunkers were built in the 1960s, when fears of nuclear war were rampant. But even once other countries lessened their defenses, Switzerland went right on building them. Nowadays, if a building is being constructed from the foundation up and chooses not to build a bunker, the building's owner(s) must pay 1,500 CHF per person requiring space. But having one is a lovely addition to any home. After all, bunkers are permitted to be used as storage areas, so long as the spaces are well maintained. In truth, many are now employed as wine cellars or armories for the household (I'll get to that in the W post.) As a wine cellar, it's the safest storage of grapes that one could imagine.
But whether or not wine is safe, article 45 of the Swiss Federal Law on Civil Protection says "Every inhabitant must have a protected place that can be reached quickly from his place of residence."
But being evacuated to the underground will not always guarantee access to aged booze and weaponry (don't worry, W will be here before you know it), some citizens have the unfortunate positions of citizens to be evacuated to the Sonnenberg tunnel in Lucerne, for example. (Our evacuation bunker is just up the road beneath a community center.)
The shelters and evacuation routes remain current, according to the government, because of the risk of terrorist attacks, "dirty weapons", natural disasters and of course, in case our nuclear power plants blow and our iodine tablets just aren't enough.
Another use of one's underground bunker could be converting it into a hotel room. One group of artists did just that. Null Stern (Zero Stars) is in canton Argau, but is not available for use at the moment (so far as I can tell from the website.) Whether it's a source of income or a point of storage, bunkers are regularly inspected by the city and must be up to snuff. And that's what keeps us all sleeping easy at night.

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