Guest Writer Alec Feldman discusses the structures built to withstand just about anything.
Where in your life do you feel the safest? For many of us, it’s behind the dead bolted front door of our own home. Some offices, especially government buildings, take extensive security measures. And then you have the buildings on this list.
Managing risk on a personal, business, or industrial level comes down to having the right security. If important assets and people are safe and sound, then you have much less to worry about. Of course, some particular locations take their protection measures to the next level. We all know that many military facilities come with extra defense standards, but there are also a number of quirkier, less conventional institutions that work to ensure their property and people are secure from both natural and manmade threats.
So where in the world could you be the safest? Following are some of the buildings considered to be the most secure on the planet.
Starting with a somewhat well-known location – Fort Knox is the bullion depository for the United States, located to the south of Louisville, Kentucky. This is the place where the U.S. stores most of its gold—5,000 tons at last count—and that precious metal sits behind a 22-ton door. The vault door locks using a combination entered by at least ten different staff members, none knowing any more than their own part of the code, is the heart of this practically impregnable fortress. However, it’s unlikely that anyone could get close to the inside of the building in the first place with the apache helicopters, tanks, fences, guards, concrete-lined granite walls, and alarms all surrounding the facilities.
It’s easy to see why Fort Knox was the primary storage option during World War II for the gold reserves of various European nations, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Constitution.
2. ADX Florence Prison
Known as the toughest federal prison in America, the Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence (ADX for short), is a men-only supermax prison intended to house only the most dangerous of criminals. The individuals incarcerated within are some of the worst in the US, earning the prison the nickname “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” A former warden of the ADX described the place to be a “cleaner version of hell” and it’s not too difficult to understand why. The security measures include 12 ft. high fences laced with razor wire, attack dogs that guard the prison walls, 1,400 remote-controlled steel doors, pressure pads, cameras, and motion-detecting lasers.
Residents currently within the prison include Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber, the mastermind terrorist behind 9/11, Zacarias Moussaoui, and many others.
3. Bahnhof Underground Data Center
The most super-designed data center in the world, the Bahnhof Underground Data Center was the brainchild of the Bahnhof Swedish internet service provider who set out with the intention of finding a secure location to store data. After some planning they settled on using a nuclear bomb shelter located around 100 feet beneath a Stockholm mountain.
Reminiscent of a secret villain hideout, the Bahnhof underground center has its own German submarine engines, waterfalls, simulated daylight, and enough protection to withstand the blast of a hydrogen bomb. It’s not just the Swedish ISP that considers this place to be a safe-haven for data storage, the infamous Wikileaks also decided to relocate some of its servers to the bunker.
4. The Doomsday Seed Vault – Svalsgaard
The Seed Vault is another underground bunker—this time dedicated to safeguarding all of the genetic codes required for the critical crops needed to reboot human-kind in the case of a world-wide doomsday event. The combination of reinforced concrete and steel housing these crucial genetic codes is so strong that it is capable of withstanding direct nuclear strikes, and it has already stood the test of a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. Designed to be sturdy enough to last longer than the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Doomsday Seed Vault sits deep within the ground of the artic, utilizing numerous complex electric cooling units to maintain a consistent internal temperature.
5. Cheyenne Mountain
An iconic relic of the Cold War, the Cheyenne Mountain complex is a self-sufficient and self-contained town buried beneath the Rockies intended to remain completely impervious to nuclear barrage. The Cheyenne mountain complex was home to NORAD (North American Aerospace Command) who spent their days scanning the skies for dangerous Russian missiles. The bunker is around 2,000 feet below the Rocky Mountains, and can withstand a 30 megaton nuclear blast. Scientists are installing high-tech additions to ensure that the location is also impervious to pulses by electromagnetic weapons.
Within the midst of the Cold War in the late 1950s the Cheyenne Mountain complex became an essential defense against long-range bombers. Each blast door within the bunker weigh 25 tons – making for a well-protected inner sanctum.
6. Area 51
Whether the bizarre stories surrounding Area 51 are true or otherwise, this famed area located within the remote deserts of Las Vegas is more than just a source of rumors. Strange and compelling, Area 51 is also one of the most secure destinations on the planet. As a military base for the United States, detached from the Edwards Air Force Base in California, Area 51 exists within a world of its own, as no one outside of the center itself has any proof of what’s going on inside.
Known by a number of names, including “Paradise Ranch”, “Dreamland”, and “Groom Lake”, Area 51 may be a testing ground for experimental and advanced aircrafts, and rumors circulate among conspiracy theorists of how truth seekers have met their doom attempting to access the location. Some of the known security measures found here include motion sensors planted around the perimeter of the base – capable of detecting and possibly differentiating between human and animal movement.
Author Bio: Alec Feldman is the owner of Western Safe & Vault Co. Alec has more than 15 years of experience in safes, safe service and moving.