The impact of the tsunami in Japan a year ago was also felt in the United States, prompting an estimated 1,000 percent increase in the sale of "doomsday bunkers" -- secret, underground safe houses built to deliver families through Armageddon-like catastrophes.
And in the wake of the deadly tornadoes that ripped through Indiana and Kentucky last week, interest in impenetrable underground safety zones has once again been piqued.
So what exactly goes into the creation of a secret, secure bunker?
Dallas-based Deep Earth Bunker owner Scott Bales and his engineers have teamed with the Discovery Channel to show exactly what goes into making these technologically advanced, secretive hideouts.
Each episode of "Doomsday Bunkers" is a start-to-finish guide in the building of a bunker, and shows how each of the safety rooms is tailor-made to suit the owner’s needs. For some, the biggest concern might be power grid failures, nuclear disasters or earthquakes. Others find it more necessary to prepare for shooting sprees, tsunamis, terrorist attacks or economic collapse.
Pick your poison, Bales can build its antidote.
“The series takes a really interesting look into this subculture or movement, from radical folks who really take these precautions to an extreme, to the average person who is using their common sense and taking responsibility for what could happen,” executive producer Anna Geddes told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “The core focus is really on how Scott built his business – he is an engineering genius with an incredible passion for design, and is always dreaming up ways to improve something.”
But the most jaw-dropping part of the series are the elaborate testing procedures Bales and his team use to ensure their bunkers are fail proof – procedures that include trying to blow them up, dropping cars on them, and shooting canons at them, to name a few.
“Some of these bunkers can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with radiation infiltration systems, booby traps, gun vaults, decontamination rooms and high-tech software to counter security breaches, while others are much more simple,” says Geddes. “It might seem extreme to pile guns or food in anticipation for disaster, but we’ve become so dependent on infrastructure and most of us aren’t self-sufficient anymore.”
Bales says his bunkers could be the only thing standing between you and certain death when and if a doomsday scenario presents itself.
“When people get desperate they do desperate things," Bales says. "If you don’t have the things in place to protect yourself and your family, you’re in trouble.”
"Doomsday Bunkers" premieres Wednesday, March 7 at 10 p.m. on Discovery.