Government office space in Phoenix could be used as shelter during nuclear war, should it happen

As the threat of nuclear warfare with North Korea grows, some are already asking questions on where to stay, should war break out.

On Thursday, FOX 10 Phoenix got a rare look at a fallout shelter, located at the Papago Military Reservation. The shelter was originally built in 1956, in case of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. It has since been converted to offices for the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management.

While it could still act as a fallout shelter in case of an emergency, the space's main function right now is to act as the heart of emergency response.

"It's designed to survive off of the grid and off of utilities on its own for several weeks at a time," said Robert Rowley, Director of the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management. "We have our own water supply, we can generate our own power, and we have water and fuel storage, and we also have satellite data capability, and we have radio systems as well that are designed to be operated without data access."

The fallout shelter was built right into the mountain at the Papago Park Military Reservation, and it was designed to protect local and state government officials.

While a lot has changed at the fallout shelter over the decades, a few original items still remain, such as a can of emergency drinking water, as well as a cabinet of original medical supplies.

The building could still be used as a fallout shelter today, but now acts as the lifeline to the county if any emergency were to happen.

In a time of increasing threat of a possible nuclear conflict,a new spotlight is now on emergency response. Rowley said people should always have a plan, when it comes to personal preparedness.

"Can you ever be ready for something like that to happen? That's a difficult question to answer, but we certainly do practice for it and plan for it, so we're as ready as we can be," said Rowley.

Rowley recommends having at least a three-day supply of food and water, and a family emergency plan in place. Rowley also said because of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, there is a lot of radiological experience in the Phoenix area, and exercises involving emergencies are done monthly.