Shelters may become compulsory

Shelters May Become Compulsory

After the end of the Cold War, when the likelihood of an apocalyptic war seemed to have disappeared, many countries stopped caring about the state of their security structures. Some shelters have become commercial premises, some have become attractions for diggers, and some have been destroyed. It is true that in countries whose neighbours are not the calmest, such as the Czech Republic, the security forces are not the calmest. In Israel or S. Korea, existing shelters are carefully maintained, and new ones are still being built.

Terror sends shockwaves in the West

            Unfortunately, in today’s world, it is not only warfare that poses a serious threat, and it was only a decade after the end of the Cold War that the most brazen terrorist attacks took place – the attacks of 11 September 2000. Many of us are aware of these attacks, but few people remember that the investigation into the attack revealed that al-Qaeda was even considering several options for an attack on the US, where the weapon could have been either a chemical weapon or a deadly contagion.

            As US special services have been able to establish, the terrorists have been very careful to examine both their “counterparts” from the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult that carried out the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway and historical cases of chemical weapons use. And not only have they investigated it, but they have specialists in their ranks who can produce poisonous substances and use them properly.

            The idea of using biological weapons was also considered, and not only considered, but the terrorists experimented with some dangerous disease agents, among which anthrax was considered to be very promising in terms of terror. In fact, because of its nasty characteristic of persisting in the environment for a very long time and spreading well, it was this biological contagion that was considered to be the most promising weapon for biological warfare. The fear of anthrax has traditionally been so great that, as far back as 1966, tests were carried out in the New York subways on a non-hazardous, but perfectly mimicking, anthrax bacterium, Bacillus globigii, and the results were very worrying – the consequences of a real biological attack in a major city would be catastrophic indeed.

            Finally, the official US authorities had to admit that their overly light-hearted approach to civil protection in the aftermath of the confrontation with the USSR was a mistake. Thus, in a special report published in 2007 by the official US Department of Justice, it was already stated that the biohazard management measures that were appropriate during the Cold War are not effective in the case of terrorists, and that the only obstacle to launching a bioterrorist attack is the difficulty of accessing the necessary materials or technology. Or in other words, as you can see, there is unfortunately no direct way of preventing it.

Accidents and cataclysms

            You don’t always have to create a chemical agent to use it yourself. Real chemical bombs are moving along our railways and roadways. Here, for example. The real chemical weapon of the First World War was phosgene, which is quite widely used in technological processes today. Similarly, chlorine is extremely widely used. Among the extremely toxic substances that are freely movable and widely used, we can mention ammonia or, for example, the rocket fuel component heptyl.

            The issue is, it doesn’t even take malice to spread a deadly poison. Incidents on the railways are not rare, and it is only a matter of time before the dreaded one is amongst the fallen tanks. The danger is even greater in industrial plants, where the quantities of toxic substances stored are enormous. Consider the tragedy at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal in 1984, when an accident caused the release of methyl isocyanate, a highly toxic compound used in the manufacture of pesticides, killing around 4 000 local residents and causing the loss of nearly half a million more. The availability of protected buildings and facilities, both at transport and handling sites and in companies using hazardous substances, is therefore a clear necessity.

            And let’s not forget another danger – radiation pollution. If it is an almost impossible mission for terrorists to produce a nuclear device, and even a “dirty bomb” is unlikely to be used, the issue of a radiation accident is more than serious. It is a mistake to think that a radiation accident is necessarily Chernobyl, Fukushima or at least an incident on the level of Three Mile Island. Unfortunately, incidents at nuclear power stations or at plants using radioactive materials are not that rare.

            Even a small release of radioactive material, which is not the most dangerous, is very worrying. Here is a sad but also curious case in the Brazilian city of Goiana, where a caesium cell was stolen from an abandoned hospital and dismantled by local hobbyists. As a result, several people were killed and over 200 others were affected, while 112 000 inhabitants were tested. The small incident took several months to resolve, during which time soil was removed over a huge area, several houses were demolished and, despite all the efforts, even a few surviving sources of radiation were discovered during a follow-up inspection in 1991. Let us remind you that the cause of all this was just 1 caesium capsule.

War brings back safety requirements

            The most important news of the last year is, of course, the ongoing war in Ukraine, where there have been repeated references to possible accidents in industrial plants in the war zone, as well as to the possible use of weapons of mass destruction or components thereof.  We can safely say that this war has finally woken up the governments of many countries. The renewal of collective defence installations and the construction of new ones are now being debated in the parliaments of Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Lithuania. The criticism of the neglected civil defence system is also being voiced in Germany and new requirements are likely to be introduced there as well. Especially as the issue is also being raised at EU level.

            Thus, in the near future, shelter construction is likely to become compulsory in many western countries, and there will undoubtedly be a shortage of equipment, as the manufacture of shelter equipment has been a very specific business, where the volumes supplied to the market are unlikely to meet the needs of mass construction. In addition, the number of private homes where owners wish to have, if not shelters, at least protected spaces is increasing. Obviously, in anticipation of this and in the knowledge that sooner or later the provision of shelters will be compulsory, experts are already recommending that both the provision of shelters in new developments and the purchase of the equipment should be made in advance.

            Castellex is a specialised company supplying NBC air filtration system equipment and is ready to provide you with all the assistance you need.

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Castellex has vast experience in designing and manufacturing NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) Air Filtration/ Air supply stations for different applications. It’s widely used across the Globe by military, hospitals, private individuals. No nuclear bunker or survival shelter is completed without the state of the art Castellex NBC air filtration station.
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