Search for bomb shelters exploding across Phoenix

Posted at 4:23 PM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-11 13:29:14-04

While the concrete lined shells remain hidden beneath buildings at Arizona State University, Downtown Phoenix and even at Maricopa County Emergency Services, most are now just artifacts of an era of fear.

"This facility was poured in place and then buried," said Emergency Services Director Robert Rowley pointing out evidence of the old bomb shelter he now calls his office. "We don't really know the range and capability of North Korea."

It's that uncertainty that's had Emergency services director Robert Rowley's phone ringing off the hook lately.

"We've been getting questions about, in particular, fallout shelters, where is my nearest fallout shelter they asking," said Rowley.

The outdated question is now a real inquiry. But the hundreds of cold war shelters once scattered across the valley simply don't exist anymore.

"I can assure you that every one of them has been repurposed to something else," said Rowley.

Case in point, his office. Emergency management is hubbed inside of a former bomb shelter. Supplies from a different time like cold war water cans and food barrels still scattered about.

"There isn’t this massive storage of these emergency supplies in these underground facilities," said Rowley.

In fact, he says these facilities were never meant to house the general public in the first place but meant to house critical government officials, to keep things going in the aftermath.

"There isn’t much we can tell you to survive the actual disaster, what we're giving you recommendations for is how do you survive the aftermath," said Rowley.

On average, federal disaster response takes three days. He says stocking supplies to last at least that amount of time is crucial to survival.

"Have your three day supply of food and water at your house,  have your family emergency plan in place, if the disaster occurs and you and your family are in different places, how are you going to communicate, where are you going to meet up," said Rowley.

Though the scenario is unlikely to unfold anytime soon, Rowley says the public’s concerns aren’t unreasonable.

"If a threat from North Korea has you concerned then let that be the motivation to get yourself personally prepared," said Rowley.

For more information to get your emergency plan ready click here.