Producers: Terranova Films

The world these days can be a scary place, with instability and terrorism seemingly stalking all of civilized society. In urban America there is little to be done but hope that everything will somehow be alright with the ever-ready alert systems in place.

A hole to survival?
But for people living out the American Dream in suburbia some have turned back time to find peace of mind. The dark days of the Cold War may be gone but today holds the lurking threat of dirty bombs and international terrorism, they say. What better way to protect you and your family than to dive underground in your own personal backyard bomb shelter?

Paul Seyfried, a shelter owner in Salt Lake City, believes there simply is no better way. "The Russians have thousands of nuclear warheads ready for immediate delivery, China is rapidly acquiring that ability and Iran is working on it and so I just feel the need to make sure that my family has immediate access to effective protection."

He doesn't seem to be the only one to feel that way. Sales for home-based bomb shelters boomed by 50 per cent after the September 11th attacks in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Some companies report record sales of pre-fabricated bunkers that are designed to keep you well below harms way.

Preparing for an Apocalypse
For some however, being safe from the global war on terror takes on a more practical meaning. The Zwonitzer family from Nebraska chose to transform a former abandoned missile complex into a livable and roomy home.

Decommissioned by the government in 1965, the former Atlas 'E' missile complex has a front door that opens to an underground bunker and a nuclear bomb-proof roof with 400 tons of rolling steel.

The Zwonitzer's have stocked their underground house with enough food, water and supplies to keep them and some of their closest friends out of the grocery store for some time.

"We could probably sustain ourselves easily for a year, close to two years, and could probably put up to 13 people for a year if we had to. It wouldn't be real fancy but it would be survivability and that’s what the goal is here," says Don Zwonitzer.

Are these paranoid neighbours just biding their time to flee the godless hordes? Or just practical homeowners looking for a quiet place to get away when things turn ugly? Give Me Shelter offers a fascinating glimpse into the often secretive world of home-based bomb shelters.

Watch part one of this episode of Witness on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of Witness on YouTube

This episode of Witness is scheduled to air on Tuesday, March 25, 2008.

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