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Bomb shelter manufacturers expect a boost in business after Hawaii's false alert


Updated January 15, 2018 11:09 AM EST

Bomb shelter manufacturers had a big year in 2017, and it looks like things will not be slowing down in 2018.

"What happened in Hawaii, it will definitely be a big boost in business," said Atlas Survival Shelters owner Ron Hubbard. His company is based in the United States, and his product is right there in the name.

On Saturday, officials in Hawaii sent out an alert to people in the state that there was a ballistic missile heading towards the islands.

About 10 minutes after the warning, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted there was no threat, and another notification was sent to people in Hawaii almost 40 minutes later that it was a "false alarm."

But "false alarm" or not, it did not stop people from freaking out.

Rising S is an American bomb shelter manufacturer whose sales increased last year. General Manager Gary Lynch said sales this year have continued to be steady.

"This past weekend's scare in Hawaii was a wake-up call for both those that were already in the market for a bomb shelter, as well as those that may not have known they even needed one," Lynch said.

Hubbard said he plans to place a large advertisement in Hawaii newspapers this week.

"I can't imagine not knowing where to go," He said.

Hubbard expects sales to increase by 700 percent this year, which he attributes to the possibility of a nuclear attack, but mostly to the fact that his company has started making shelters that are more affordable for a middle-class family.

"We live in a world with mad men with nukes, so unless you take the nukes away, this is the new normal." Hubbard said.

Ron Hubbard spent 11 days in his underground bunker in December 2012 when some people were convinced the Mayan calendar had predicted the end of the world.

“I was going to treat it like a holiday, because how often do you have an end of the world day?” Hubbard said. “I wasn’t worried one bit that the world was going to end. The media enjoyed it. I had fun with it, and in the back of your head you’re like, ‘Well, just in case. Just in case something happens, I’m in the bunker.’”

Hubbard owns Atlas Survival Shelters, a United States based bomb shelter manufacturer, and he said sales for the underground survival shelters are booming this year, especially on the West Coast of the U.S. and Japan, as North Korea continues to test missiles.

“The Japanese market, which is the hot market right now, it was non-existent for me six months ago, seven months ago. It pretty much started when Kim Jong Un started testing all of his long range ballistic missiles,” Hubbard said.

Atlas Survival Shelters has a plant in Los Angeles, California, but Hubbard said that once he started partnering with the Japanese, the demand was so high he added another plant near Dallas, Texas.

In the past, Hubbard said he has sent only a few pieces to Japan, but never whole shelters. After this year he expects to send between 500 and 600 full shelters.

And in the U.S., Hubbard said sales have doubled so far this year, and he expects them to quadruple by the end of the year.

Atlas Survival Shelters is not the only bomb shelter manufacturer that has seen sales skyrocket. Gary Lynch, the general manager of Rising S, located in Texas, said their sales have gone up this year as well, and he has also seen a big increase in Japan and the U.S. West Coast, where he said sales in California have doubled.

“Bomb shelters are just another form of insurance,” Lynch said.

North Korea has been testing missiles for years, but since Kim Jong Un took over in 2011 he has tested three times as many than his father and grandfather combined, according to CNN statistics.

In 2017, North Korea has launched 18 missiles during 12 tests since February, CNN reported. And U.S. military officials said, the first successful test of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) was launched on July 4.

And in the last week a second ICBM was tested, which experts in the U.S., South Korea and Japan have determined was in the air for 45 minutes, traveled a distance of 621 miles and went 2,300 miles high, and at least one expert said has the capability of reaching the U.S.

Missile expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists David Wright said if the trajectory of the missile was flatter and more standard, U.S. cities Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago are all within range, and even New York and Boston are a possibility.

But though Hubbard gives the threat of North Korea missiles a lot of credit for the exploding sales, he said his new, more affordable shelters could also be contributing to the increase.

Hubbard said his shelters can cost millions of dollars, but recently he has created models that could cost as little as $10,000.

The two new additions are the Bombnado and the Fallnado, which is the smallest of the two and can fit two people, two beds, an air system, a water barrel and boiler plate.

Fallnado shelter
Outside looking in view of Fallnado shelter
Fallnado Shelter
Inside view of Fallnado shelter

“Henry Ford came out with the Model T for the average man that could work it out, so the Fallnado and the Bombnado is the Model T Ford for the average working person," Hubbard said. “Everybody deserves a right to survive, not just the wealthy, but everybody.”

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