Rapid evacuation during tsunamis and other such deadly disasters could save thousands. Based in Mukilteo, Washington, Survival Capsules LLC has developed a new system to help survivors ride out the initial post-disaster period before rescue crews arrive.
Their steel and aircraft-grade aluminum spherical pods -- which look like a cross between an old-timey scuba helmet and a colorful wrecking ball -- are watertight and surprisingly lightweight (300 pounds). The capsules should be able to take a 25-mile-an-hour impact and can be heated to about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, while remaining cool to the touch on the inside.
They start with a round-tube steel cage (above, left), and then they put the two aluminum hemispheres on top of it. They weld the frame to the inside of the shells, then weld the two hemispheres to each other.
You enter and exit through a marine-grade hatch that opens from the inside and the outside. Harness straps in the personal safety system (PSS) keep you safe during any jostling, and there's space for food storage facilities enough for five day's supply per person, as well as a water bladder.
The pods are also outfitted with a GPS locator beacon, multiple hook points for hoisting, and an hour's worth of oxygen per person. Hopefully that's the longest the pod and its passengers will actually be submerged underwater; it has air vents and it should float by varying its position according to water depth. You can even use your cellphone from inside.
The company is working on five different occupancy models that range from 4.5 feet to 8 feet in diameter, holding between 2 and 10 people. According to the company, in addition to tsunamis, the capsules can protect people against a variety of natural disasters including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and storm surges. They cost between $13,000 and $20,000.
The team envisions capsules scattered along the coast: in people's backyards or outside municipal buildings, schools, and hospitals. Here's a video about the development of the survival capsules:
Images: Survival Capsule
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