SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah is known for prepping, with businesses along the Wasatch Front dedicated to helping people build up their stash of supplies to survive any major catastrophe.
In West Valley, Utah Shelter Systems creates hand-crafted underground living spaces, and they say lately business has gone up.
On Thursday, President and CEO Paul Seyfried and an employee worked to prepare a mammoth circular metal tube for paint on the inside.
He said they were halfway through building the shelter, which will sit 20 feet underground.
“This one is being shipped to the United States Air Force in New Mexico,” Seyfried explained.
It’s just one of three shelters he is currently working on, and he’s expecting more business soon.
“There are four shelters that are probably going to book within the next 30 days,” Seyfried said. “This is going to keep me pretty busy.”
Seyfried said they are seeing a lot more interest in their underground shelters. Customers call in from around the country.
“New York state, California, a lot in Texas,” Seyfried said, of his top places for business.
He also builds for clients in Utah. Seyfried said he himself owns three shelters in the state, including one that can house more than a dozen people if need be.
When asked who is usually building these shelters, Seyfried said while the interest is across the spectrum, it’s mostly the upper middle class.
“The smallest shelters start at around $50,000,” Seyfried said. “The largest shelters, we build-- a 12 [foot] by 50 [foot]—usually runs right around $100,000.”
Their smaller, 32-foot shelters are more popular with families, Seyfried said. Sometimes, two or three families will chip in to build one larger shelter.
Each underground structure contains everything you’d want and expect in a bunker-type situation, including a kitchen, bathroom, living area and bunks.
They each contain features like special air flow systems and escape doors, as well as being completely sealed and able to withstand electromagnetic pulses and radiation.
Seyfried indicated there’s a lot of reasons to build and protect against those kinds of forces.
“Both Russia and China are vastly modernizing their nuclear arsenals… Then you throw Korea in on top of the whole thing, it's kind of a catalyst for a lot of people to actually take unilateral action on their own to protect their families,” he said.
It’s a kind of protection that Seyfried specializes in, and while he says he doesn’t believe in the ‘doomsday’ end of the world, he does believe in being prepared and ready to survive.