The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Switzerland to phase out private bomb shelters

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 28 April 2023
Switzerland has been known as the land of preparedness with nearly enough bomb shelters for its entire population. But that will be changing, according to an unpublished government report.
Switzerland to phase out private bomb shelters
Inside of a typical Swiss bunker in an apartment complex.

(Keystone SDA) Switzerland will begin reducing the number of bomb shelters, according to a leaked, unpublished report by the Federal Office for Civil Protection (FOCP).

Read more: Why Switzerland is prepared for the big one

The number of air-raid shelters with a maximum of seven places is to be gradually reduced. At the same time, public shelters would continue to be built, the FOCP said on Friday at the request of the Keystone-SDA news.

One reason for the dismantling of the so-called “small shelters” is the decrease in the performance of the filter systems installed there, the FOCP continued. It was confirmed by a report by Radio SRF. The systems are said to be 40 years old on average. The “Protective Structures Concept” was developed by the FOCP together with the cantons.

According to the report, the residents of such properties with their own small shelters will be allocated to larger facilities in the future. Operating small shelters throughout Switzerland is “not economical,” the FOCP said.

Read more: Why Swiss borders are ‘rigged to blow’ at any moment

However, it is not planned to remove the air-raid shelter altogether, but to examine the “reasonableness of value retention.” In addition, there is a planned further development of the protection infrastructure with a time horizon of up to 20 years. According to FOCP, the total number of shelters should be retained.

Switzerland to phase out private bomb shelters
Bomb shelter tunnels remain under Switzerland throughout the country (Keystone SDA).
Nine million seats are available

According to the FOCP, there are around 100,000 small shelters in Switzerland. There are around 370,000 private and public shelters in total. Switzerland has around nine million shelters for the population. Around 700,000 of these are shelters in very small shelters – i.e. less than 10%.

With the revision of the Population and Civil Defense Act of 2011, it was determined that shelters only have to be built in larger buildings (38 rooms or more per building). If you don’t build a shelter, you have to pay a replacement fee. The concept of protective structures will be activated in the coming week and made accessible to everyone, according to the FOCP.

This article was reprinted with permission from Keystone SDA.

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