A vault is a type of subterranean installation initially designed by the Vault-Tec Corporation, later constructed in collaboration with RobCo Industries. Officially, they were designed for the sole purpose of sheltering up to one thousand citizens each in the event of a nuclear holocaust; however, in reality, they were a series of secret experiments orchestrated by the United States government.
Commissioned by the U.S. government in 2054 as part of "Project: Safehouse," also known as the "Societal Preservation Program," the Vault-Tec Corporation constructed 266 vaults across the country. However, at the onset of the Great War in 2077, most vaults were sealed without many of their intended inhabitants, a result of the “cry wolf effect" that previous training drills had on the populace.
The first vault was constructed beneath Los Angeles, and was intended to demonstrate the viability of such a facility. Unlike subsequent installations, this demonstration vault was not part of the ulterior experiments behind Project: Safehouse. By 2076, most of the vaults had finished construction, with the exceptions of 13, 114, 118 and 88. Vault 266 is the last known construction on record, Completed in 2077.
The vaults were some of the most expensive shelters in the pre-War world.
Each vault was designed to hold one thousand occupants at any given time, although hot-bunking was required at maximum capacity, and equipped with all facilities and supplies needed by them to survive in isolation for the designated time. According to the Vault 101 PA System, the life support system could work for over 900 years without failure, and the odds of a vault failing were 1,763,497 to 1. In addition, the PA system also stated that the average life expectancy in a properly maintained vault is 92.3 years. The facilities and supplies for Vault 13 included complete construction equipment, hydro-agricultural farms, a water purification system, defensive weaponry to equip 10 people, communication systems and surface monitors, social, and entertainment files (for total duration). Waste management was conducted by burning trash on scheduled "burning days." Larger incinerator receptacles were used for the destruction of human corpses. In addition, some vaults received one or two G.E.C.K.s, intended to help the inhabitants create a viable civilization in the post-nuclear world after the All Clear signal is sent.
Different types of power sources were utilized for the vaults. Vault 13 relied primarily on geothermal energy, with backup power available from a General Atomics nuclear power generator, enough to sustain the vault for two hundred years. Vault 8 on the other hand, relied on an inefficient nuclear reactor, which, while enough for Vault City to emerge, could only support a relatively small, highly advanced settlement, and in 2241 was nearing its capacity, after which further growth would be impossible.
All vault dwellers wear blue-and-yellow jumpsuits, although the design varied between different vaults.
Needless to say, most vaults in the experiment failed and had results completely different than those advertised. Many who exited successful vaults seem to suffer from xenophobia (fear of strangers) and/or agoraphobia (fear of open places)
The vaults are all very similar in their basic functions, but sometimes were constructed according to different designs. The vaults of the New California area differ from those constructed in the vicinity of Washington, DC, the Commonwealth, and the Mojave area.
The entrance houses the vault's only connection to the outside world - the airlock (with the exception of Vault 19, Vault 87, Vault 88 and Vault 118).
It is closed from the inside by a reinforced high-security door and from the outside by a massive, gear-shaped, four-foot thick vault door. For most vaults this is the only means of entering or leaving. Most vaults have consoles located on both the inside and outside, both of which require a security code to open the outer door. These codes are usually only known to a handful of people within the facility so as to prevent unauthorized exits.
The automated narrator in Washington DC's Museum of Technology states that the vault doors had a projected 2% failure rate in case of a direct hit by a nuclear missile. The only known vault to have been hit by a nuclear weapon is Vault 87, and according to the logs of its overseer, that blast damaged the door beyond repair. This could have been merely a "lucky shot" falling within the 2% failure, but it seems more likely that Vault-Tec's strength projections were incorrect or defined failure as allowing the inside of the vault to be damaged or irradiated.
Most vaults use a Seal-N-Safe Vault door Model No. 343 to secure the airlock. Some older vaults, such as Vault 101, use a different, cruder blast door model. Vault 8, the control vault, had also a second, much larger, blast door built, securing the entry hallway leading to the entrance to the vault. Vault 111 and Vault 118 are the only known vaults to feature an elevator leading to an underground area where the gear shaped door is located already secure in the hill it was built in.
The entrance level also houses the Emergency Medical Lab complete with an Auto-Doc. A vault medic was required to be present at the EML 24 hours a day. The lab had the equipment to treat nearly all injuries and illnesses, ranging from simple bruises to radiation.
Living Quarters Edit
Standard pre-War design of the living quarters was that of a single room with a sanitary annex. Vault 13 had one hundred living quarters, and at maximum capacity, ten people would be assigned to a single living quarter, in a hot-bunking system. A standard level had 20,000 square feet of usable area.
The lights in the vaults used Simu-Sun technology, making it feel just like the outdoors, with only a fraction of a sunburn risk. The lights in Vault 101 were kept on all the time to prevent a radroach infestation.
New Entertainertrons were used to play holotapes and used as a slide projector in the classroom of Vault 101.
Command Center Edit
At the heart of the vault, the command center was where the overseer's seat was located. The operations center, apart from the seat of power, included the computer lab, where the water purification system was located, and an armory, where the vault's weapons, ammunition and armor was stockpiled. A security guard was posted in the command center at all times, to ensure that the armaments were properly secured and handed out only to people possessing the proper clearance from the overseer. The overseer is also able to see anyone inside the vault with the Eye-on-You cameras.
Apart from that, the level also contained the computer core (with the vault's AI monitoring the shelter 24/7), housing data processing units, a library playing an important role in educating vault dwellers, a common meeting room, and the primary store room, where the most important supplies would be stored.
Equipped with dual 5.56mm miniguns in some vaults, the overseer's command post can be considered the last line of defense in case vault security is breached.
in the Secret Vault, there are several command posts for the various sections. The command posts mainly contain buttons to control things like locking of doors and laser protection.