Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials: 2006

Food Storage, Emergency Preparedness, MRE's, Freeze Dried Food, Water Storage, Dehydrated Food, Survival tips

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The State of Preparedness

Business has been rather slow in recent months ... not only for Safecastle, but for most other preparedness-related outfits as well.

The logical explanation is that there was such a huge surge late last year and early this year in readiness buying around the country, (triggered by the Hurricane Katrina aftermath) that we are in the corresponding trough that almost always follows a reactionary spike like that.

And hey, all of us DO seem to be a bit drained of our sense of urgency anymore to prepare for this, that, and the other, after so many loud wake-up calls in recent years.

Nonetheless, in total, my educated guess is that right now, the American population is as well prepared as it has been for decades. Perhaps 10% of American households have done some substantial preparedness work in the last year or two ... so that those folks can at least pull through a few days of major difficulties without having to crash through the plate glass at the padlocked Piggly Wiggly for water and Twinkies.

Ten percent! Not much more than a sliver out of the big pie, but really, it's progress over the days when "survivalists" were being uniformly ridiculed and/or skewered in the media. Today, the tide HAS turned and we're seeing preppers and practical folks taking heroic roles in TV series (Jericho), and every week there are cable shows if not major network news programs that are outlining how easy it can be to survive disaster with just a little common sense (Survivorman, Bird Flu news programs, etc.). Not to mention a resurgence in the print media of similar fictional titles and non-fiction articles presenting readiness in a mostly positive light. The mass mind-meld is in full blossom, so fear not, the preparedness trend will continue for quite some time.

All in all, my view is that we're in a lull right now. It's a good time to be buying if you need preps, as the demand is down for the moment. Reason--emotionally, we as a population have needed to pause and have a look at the scenery before we have to react to the next spate of the unexpected and horrifying.

Bottom line ... bad stuff happens, but at least some of us will be ready when it does.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Monday, December 25, 2006

All's Well That Ends Well

On this Christmas day, I am reminded, all's well that ends well.

I closed the previous post (see "Who and What will Endure in Our Rapidly Changing World?" ) with a comment about being sure about your philosophical position on things, and a suggestion that life is not all there is to be trying to preserve.

Faith in Jesus Christ and His promise for eternal salvation is the ultimate enduring ambition for those of us who celebrate His birth.

Regardless of all else on this earth, if we are spiritually prepared and faithful to the Lord Jesus, all will end well for us. And that is really none of our doing, but a gift from above. Accept it or refuse it--the choice is each of ours to make.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Who and What will Endure in Our Rapidly Transforming World?

Change is inevitable. It's always been so, yet rarely has "progress" been so strenuously dramatic as what we are experiencing in the 21st century.

Change in and of itself causes fear and resistance in most people. We are creatures of habit and we all develop our own little comfort zones from which we view and interpret the world around us. Normally, we can remain largely in control of at least that personal space so that the changes which otherwise encroach all around us are taken on at a manageable pace.

The key to the success of that kind of personal dynamic is that others out there are not too aggressive or insistent on us to change our ways before we are ready to. This allows us to feel that we retain our freedom of choice ... even if the only choice is whether to get on board now or later.

History Suddenly Morphs

Yet personal choice is not always a given. Human history tends to periodically convulse, usually in the form of violent conflict. These historical mile markers show up when the world as it was, is no longer. Contemporary populations are forced to adapt to explosively overpowering realities. World War II comes to mind as a fairly recent example.

Today, revolutionary levels of technological advancement, global access to the new technologies, resulting oppressive multi-cultural compression, and good-old-fashioned human nature in the form of resistance to change, create a volatile mix that seemingly must ignite and explode before it will clear off.

Virtually nothing today in the world is as it was 20 years ago--certainly not international ethnic attitudes, with emerging hatreds of every flavor competing daily for highest-casualty head-count--sometimes literally. And can my recollection be so bad as to be candy-coating memories of not that many years ago when America had many trusted allies and most border crossings were routine and more welcoming than threatening?

It's one big, hot kitchen today. Pots are simmering on all burners and there are plenty of cooks in line to stir them. Tension and mistrust, pride and envy are a few of the base human ingredients being allowed to fold into each other. Worst of all, emotionally rooted belief systems are at odds with each other, being forced into the same recipe--one that is supposed to be suitable for all palates.

We are living this socio-culinary experiment without a plan B. The only satisfaction being found is for those with a taste for violence, and that is being served up in many parts of the world.

Niche groups pushing aggressive, intolerant agendas are leading the way. Keeping global order will require a popular level of resolve that quite simply is not in place among the masses who are instead determined to remain familiarly comfortable for as long as possible. Surely, the vast majority of people in the world want to opt for peace, but given the malleable passivity of the various large majorities, significant yet small violent causes have little to fear, and their momentum becomes virtually unstoppable at some point soon. Resisting or not resisting that momentum ... either way, the global dynamic changes radically, in short order.

What Endures?

The question that has no sure answer--what will become of the world? Those of us who prepare for potential crises would like to believe that our own existence will be a positive experience.

But can we be sure? Of course not. We cannot even forecast with assurance the variables that will determine new realities. But those who feel there is radical change ahead in some form are likely on track.

How comfortable can we hope to be? Will cultural traditions such as Christmas, baseball, and Boy Scouts endure? Will institutions such as church and family continue unaltered? Will representative government and personal liberties remain possible? Will public utilities and food supplies be dependable? Will neighbors open their doors to each other?

There are certainly lots of opinions on outcomes, causes, and effects. But in the end, what matters is the moment. Be ready to adapt and to make choices quickly based on your values and your position of readiness. At crunch time, you may not have the opportunity to think through options, so it might be best to solidify your philosophical outlook now. I can't spell it out for you and no one else should either.

But one suggestion to take into consideration: death and suffering is not the worst-case outcome to seek to avoid. It may very well be that a just cause or position of belief is larger than any of us.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Need to Know" Forum - Still Another Good Reason to Come in From the Cold

Another new development for Safecastle Royal Buyers Club members ... a new members-only discussion forum, "Need to Know."

Members, check it out.

Soon-to-be members, sign-up for the club and you'll be provided your access info to the separate members site.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Mountain House Group Buy Runs into January 2007

At long last, over the next several weeks, we will be taking orders for a brand new variety package of Mountain House foods ... a new selection of #10 cans in three cases ... 18 different varieties ... at a price you can't afford to pass up.

You can pay full price for the food at our eBay store, ... OR you can save BIG BUCKS by joining our buyers club now!

And oh yes, there's more ... also for the first time, and for the duration of this group buy, we are offering only to members a couple of specially selected add-on pouch packages, including items such as hamburger patties, ice cream sandwiches, organic fruit, and more.

These limited-time offers at the traditional full-discount Safecastle group buy prices are available now only to Safecastle Royal members. So if you haven't yet joined up, go to and sign-up. When you have done that, we will send you access info to the separate members site with the new special deals.

There's no doubt these limited time Mountain House buying opportunities will save you big $$$ and help you continue to build your emergency supplies.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"Whack-a-Mole" Keeps Preppers Jumping

You know the classic arcade game ... now a Hasbro home game as well ... the game where you wield a rubber mallet and try to keep up with the increasingly frenetic pace of whacking those pesky rodents as they pop up out of their holes. Fun for all ages for sure, but most of us end up reaching the limits of our ability to keep things in check.

The game is really not unlike real life for those who try to stay on top of the latest threats of the moment as brought to us by our favorite media outlets.

Within the last few years we've been jumping from emerging threat to emerging threat ... Y2K was a grand technological wake-up call that ended morphing into a snooze button. Then 9/11 jolted us from our slumber. For a while, terror fears and threats were popping up all over. The Axis of Evil entered into the common lexicon and Afghanistan and Iraq became focal points of our national wrath. WMDs in all forms became our boogeymen.

With time, frustration set in (or was it simply attention deficit flaws built into media production cycles?) and our collective attitudes started to degrade, even as other threats drew our attention ... for many, demanding further preparatory action to somehow make us feel safer.

The catastrophic tsunami in Asia caused coastline populations worldwide to rethink their positions. Major earthquakes from time to time reminded us that firm ground under our feet and foundations cannot be taken for granted. Hurricanes, to include Katrina, and their difficult aftermaths served as evidence of how vulnerable we are to nature and dependent on others to recover from disaster.

Talk of the risk of a pending global flu pandemic brought a whole new way of fearing the future, even as we looked to past pandemics to witness how devastating an invisible enemy can be.

Of course the elusive terror and global jihad specters continue to materialize, then disappear again through it all.

Nuclear proliferation, peak oil, and global climate change are other fearsome threats to modern reality, not to mention unexpected visitations from near earth objects touring the solar system.

The danger of economic collapse seems to be gaining popular traction these days. Then there is always the pet conspiracy theory prevalent within a given group or channel that promises to change our world as we know it.

Whack, whack, whack. Deep breath. Whackety whack whack. "Coming up next, a team of experts warn that the earth will implode into a shriveled-up, lifeless peach pit ... it's not a question of 'if' but 'when!' But first stay tuned for another message from our sponsors."

Let's not forget to take advantage of the break to grab a cold beverage and kiss our loved ones. There's always the next emerging nightmare to rest up for, and to have to try to keep in perspective.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

SteriPEN Adventurer with Solar Charger Package Now Shipping

Just posted in the Safecastle Royal buyers club--a complete package that includes the new Hydro Photon SteriPEN Adventurer handheld UV water purifier, the new solar charging case, and the wide-mouth bottle pre-filter. All we can say is--the package is shipping now, in time for Christmas, at a GREAT price for members. January 1, package prices must go up $30, though even then, the club price will be excellent.

Also just posted, cans of non-hybrid vegetable seeds for long-term storage (4+ years). Enough to plant 2/3 of an acre. Great member discounts and as always, free shipping.

Our email list gets first notice of these kinds of deals, folks ... sometimes quantities available are very limited, so be sure to sign up (and confirm when the email system sends the confirmation message) for our email distribution ... the registration form can be accessed in the right column of this blog.

Also, be sure to sign-up as a member of Safecastle Royal to get some of the best preparedness deals anywhere ... a one-time fee of $19 gets you in and you will never regret it! Your first purchase will likely more than recoup you that minimal cost.

More great deals are just around the corner!

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cranking Up Some New Product Buys

Just got back from a brief respite on a warm, sunny beach. Not a bad way for a guy from Minnesota to get lubed and limbered in December!

Now we can get rolling on a few new buying opportunities we've had in the works. This week, we'll be posting two new products at great discount prices in our buyers club, "Safecastle Royal." If you're not yet a member, now's the time to get on board. A one-time $19 membership fee gets you access to some of the very best preparedness buying prices anywhere on a wide range of products. It's easy ... go to to sign up. When you make that membership purchase, we'll send you access info to our separate password-protected Safecastle Royal site.

What's Coming

We'll post more product details within a few days, but in a nutshell, this week we'll be offering outstanding deals on two products ...

  • First, vaccuum-sealed cans of a large variety of non-hybrid vegetable seeds, good to store for years.
  • Second, a brand new water-purification product package called the SteriPEN Adventurer, along with its Solar Charging Case. What a cool new product and technology ... a whole new way for portable, fast, and convenient water purification anywhere!
  • Then in another week, we'll be starting up another one of our unique Mountain House variety-pack buys with a new selection of foods to add to your stores. These packages are extremely popular--for good reason!

Note that these special deals will be for Safecastle Royal members only, and we have the products available in limited quantities. So if you want in, make sure you're signed up and ready to go this week.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Missile Defense to Be Scuttled???

No civil defense, no Civil Defense logo, no missile defense ... could be the red, white, and blue will soon be replaced with an all-white flag.

STAR WARS REDUX: Democrats to Gut Missile Defense / Bush to Announce "Orbital Battle Station"

PJM in Seattle
December 1, 2006 2:59 AM
By Taylor Dinerman

Democratic leaders are poised to gut America’s missile defense - at the same time North Korea and Iran are testing long-range missiles that can strike the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, Japan and Britain.

Meanwhile, sources inside the missile-defense community tell Pajamas Media that the Bush administration is planning to ask Congress to begin funding development of an “orbital battle station.”

With these key developments, 2007 is set to be the biggest battle of space-based weapons since President Reagan proposed “Star Wars” in 1983.

The incoming chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee is Carl Levin. Levin, a Michigan Democrat, has long been a foe of missile defense. In 1980s, he worried that President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative — which aimed to develop technology to destroy Soviet missiles during all phases of flight — was “destabilizing.”

Today Sen. Levin sings the same tune in a different key. “They’ve not done the operational testing yet that is convincing,” said Senator Levin during a post-election press conference. He was referring to the Ground based Missile Defense [GMD] system being installed in Alaska and California, to defend against North Korean missiles. He added that he favors stalling purchases of interceptor missiles - vital for missile defense — until after testing is complete.

In short, Sen. Levin and other longtime opponents of missile defense plan to use “testing” - set to an unrealistically high level - to stop missile defense.


Get Ready, Seriously ...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Read "Empire" - About a Fictional US Civil War Between Red and Blue States

This new work of fiction comes highly recommended by a friend ... it is the just released "Empire" by Orson Scott Card.

It presents a scenario in which a second U.S. civil war erupts between red states and blue states after a terrorist attack that effectively decapitates the federal government.

You can read the first five chapters for free at Card's website:

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Why We Worry About the Things We Shouldn't ..."

Interesting TIME magazine cover story: "Why We Worry About the Things We Shouldn't ... and Ignore the Things We Should"

"Shadowed by peril as we are, you would think we'd get pretty good at distinguishing the risks likeliest to do us in from the ones that are statistical long shots. But you would be wrong. We agonize over avian flu, which to date has killed precisely no one in the U.S., but have to be cajoled into getting vaccinated for the common flu, which contributes to the deaths of 36,000 Americans each year. We wring our hands over the mad cow pathogen that might be (but almost certainly isn't) in our hamburger and worry far less about the cholesterol that contributes to the heart disease that kills 700,000 of us annually.

"We pride ourselves on being the only species that understands the concept of risk, yet we have a confounding habit of worrying about mere possibilities while ignoring probabilities, building barricades against perceived dangers while leaving ourselves exposed to real ones."


Click the link above and read the article. It's good to be reminded of reality in a grounded, statistical way now and then, don't you think?

Balance. It really has to be about balance and perspective. Prepare for risks in a way that doesn't mess you up--financially, emotionally, relationship-wise, etc. Look at the probabilities in a realistic way--not in the hair-raising way the media happens to be fomenting whatever is the fear of the hour.

  1. Prepare logically, systematically.
  2. Reap the resulting peace of mind.
  3. Enjoy life.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Global Realities Being Altered Online

It's an amazingly easy thing to become an active participant in the online global dynamic today. For many, however, it's not so easy to grasp the responsibility that comes with the power to instantly communicate far and wide.

What was once the nuanced province of kings, statesmen, and educated professionals, has become a forceful tool in the hands of common men and fringe groups. Cultural definition, traditions, and beliefs, as well as national interests now are being reshaped by the masses ... without a plan, without a safety net, without effective checks and balances.

Not to say there aren't powerful agendas being worked out there. Quite clearly, the useful online tools that are so enabling in many positive ways are doubling as weapons against civilization and social order by some malevolent parties large and small.

Battling for Hearts and Minds

Social scientists and communication professionals like to talk about the sophistication of the civilized individual today. Certainly most have learned to be more discerning with regard to their ubiquitous exposures to advertising, for instance.

But the truth of the matter is that most folks with their own keyboard and LCD monitor are ill-equipped to effectively manage their absorption of what they choose to look at. And sometimes worse, they have little concept of how their own contributions to the global stream of consciousness impacts the overall direction or eddies and swirls in their own small segments of reality.

It's a huge set of concepts to try to put your arms around--how omnidirectional electronic globalization is changing everything. Even our own personal vulnerabilities and ongoing adaptations to a world twisting, turning, and rushing through the canyons of history are impossible to stay on top of.

Still, it's important, I think, to be reminded of where the real power is shifting today. You and I and billions of others out there from countless different viewpoints of reality are chipping and sometimes blasting out new boundaries and channels for future dialog. But with dialog inevitably comes conflict. Pain and suffering can become by-products, if not even objectives for some. Growing chaos seems assured before things somehow are to become settled again.

My main points:

1. Accept personal responsibility for positively contributing to our world. Volunteer, donate time and money, but also be very cognizant of how powerful your words and communicated emotions are when you launch them into cyberspace. It's not just a virtual world anymore, but a place that defines global perceptions and pushes reality in powerful ways.

2. Learn to be more discerning in your own exposure to the world. Your defenses are not as impenetrable as you want to think. You ARE being manipulated in your thoughts ... just make sure you choose wisely who you will allow to mold the future you.

3. Consider how swirling global perceptions and volatile diplomatic dynamics should affect your outlook on crisis preparedness. At the very least, I would propose that our future will be very different, even near-term, than what we might think it will be. The uncertainty is because of the rapidity of change in every aspect of life, as driven by the complexity of our global interconnectivity. Such explosive change can be traced not only to the rise of individual empowerment around the globe, but also to the resulting demise of traditional powercenters and the chaos that can ensue. Bottom line, expect the unexpected.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Examples of Club Savings

A few have asked for savings examples in the Safecastle Royal buyers club ...

The standard 150-can Mountain House package we sell is priced at $3199 in our ebay store (already below MSRP of $4068), but club members get it for $2499.

The 48-can package is listed at $1034, shipped, on eBay. Club price is $799.

The Montague Paratrooper folding bike costs $705, shipped, on eBay. Club price: $580.

Everything ships free!

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Safecastle Royal Buyers Club - Most Popular Sale Item

Right now, our most popular sale item in our buyers club, Safecastle Royal, is the 3-can package of surplus Mountain House diced ham. Only three of these very rare packages remain. If you are a ham-lover, this stuff is delish! Please act now, as it is unknown when we will be able to get more in.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Buyers Club Open for Business!! - Safecastle Royal

It took us a bit longer than anticipated to get everything together, but at long last, our new Safecastle Royal buyers club is up and running.

The sign-up site is

Note that the products posted at that sign-up site are just a small, representative sampling of the kinds of offerings available to our club members.

What's the Deal?

For a low, one-time fee, you become a lifetime member in our private buying group that gets you our already-famous and sometimes otherwise unattainable bargain prices on the coolest and most essential preparedness products out there.

Join up, and we'll send you your link, username, and password to the members site. Your $19 membership fee is refundable for any reason until you make a discounted purchase in the club (which will in all likelihood already save you more than the membership fee).

IMPORTANT--This is how we will now offer our best pricing to our customers .... on any of our products, at any time--no waiting for group buys, etc.

Check it out. As always, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Emboldened Enemies

Those who have been around the block with me know that, in this blog especially, but in all other venues as well, I reserve my opinions and hold my alerts very securely to the vest.

That said, I am about to post a rare warning here for those who want to be ready for major developments on the global scene.

All indications are pointing toward some new powerful confrontations to be taking place in the Middle East. Israel proper, as well as U.S. and British personnel in the region are at escalating risk.

There are a number of factors involved, not the least of which is the political scene in the U.S.

Iranian, Syrian, and various terror operations are purposefully on the verge of severely testing American and allied will to hold the line against more aggressive tactics.

Watch the wires carefully over the next few weeks as I believe we will be in danger of seeing the next phase of warfare initiated. Politically in greater Europe, the U.K., the U.S., and even in israel, conditions are optimal for the enemy to turn up the heat. It is clear that western weakness is peaking.

Take it with a grain of salt--my crystal ball boasts an old-style vacuum-tube array. The resolution is grainy, and a black and white picture, along with a few shades of gray is the best that comes in.

Nonetheless, I'd offer my friends this heads-up. It is worth staying tuned and being ready to move up in your own readiness posture should conditions prove to suddenly worsen.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

How Prepared Do I Need to Be?

How prepared do I need to be? That's the question folks in this avocation ask over and over again.

Typically, they are looking for some kind of mathematical formula ... presumably incorporating some combination of risk factors, household size, skill sets, geography, and tea-leaf analysis.

I have to suggest that the perspective one should take is a bit more philosophical and personal.


Those I know out there who are very rational and comfortable in their preparedness-related activities have almost unanimously come to one conclusion. That is, prepare until you feel good. The proverbial "zen" of readiness is of course attaining that narrow comfort zone where all suddenly becomes well with the world, at least in your own frame of reference.

Perhaps that's a bit obvious, but really, so many well-meaning preppers get swept way out there, becoming focused on how their worlds might devolve, implode, or disintegrate. In fact, some get so wrapped up in the gloom and doom, that interestingly, they end up subconsciously (or even overtly) hoping for realization of a catastrophe and losing a firm grip on their day-to-day obligations and blessings.

There are no two ways around it ... mathematically, the odds are long against any one of us being flattened by the fickle fist of fate. Potential is always there, but I certainly would never bet the mortgage on a lottery drawing.

Stay real. Stay cool. Being ready is more about daily peace of mind than about obssessing over gaps in your contingency planning.

No one is ever going to be fully positioned for all potential dangers. Just prepare till it feels about right, staying within your budget. Growing peace of mind is the guaranteed payoff we can all reap if we just keep things in perspective.

You decide what level of preparedness feels right, but in my book, feeling right is defined as being in balance.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Voting Pro-Survival Issues

We in the U.S. are soon to once again take measure of our collective will. Our majority voice, as segmented by various political boundaries, will commit the nation to its course over at least the next couple of years in a number of strategic areas.

For individual voters, issues of greatest importance must be personally prioritized as we mull over options for how we wish to be represented in the most fair government the world has ever seen.

Interestingly, today the "collective will" of the people most often means a slim majority opinion of a few percentage points. Often, a margin of 5% or more is seen as a mandate on an issue. Debateable topics that define who we are increasingly show us to be a country of polemic viewpoints that often pull predictably left or right on the political spectrum.

Some voters remain solidly in one position on that spectrum through the years, maintaining a principled take on their world that goes beyond hot-button issues of the day. Others see it as their duty to continuously assess their representatives' performance in government and to make their Election Day choices accordingly. And of course, many combine the approaches, while being flexible in their political stances.

These approaches are perfectly valid and reasonable. As long as the responsibility to vote with a serious conscience is embraced, we can know that we are maintaining our duty to uphold the past, present, and future of these United States of America.

Pro Survival Issues

Readers of this blog likely are tracking on their Election Day radars the following topics. They may or not be candidate-deciding issues, but certainly, we want to be aware of how our choices may impact our ability to prepare for (or perhaps even prevent) crises that threaten our way of life.
  • The War on Terror
  • Tensions in the Middle East
  • Our Right to Bear Arms in Self Defense
  • Illegal Immigration
  • Governmental Fiscal Responsibility
  • Economic Globalization
  • Alternative Energy Development
  • Victim vs. Criminal Rights
  • Rights to Information and Self Expression
There are more issues that a case could be made for to be included on this list, such as Corporate Greed and Corruption, but we get increasingly distant from the obvious connection to crisis preparedness.

I ask that you keep these issues forefront in your mind as you vote your conscience on November 7. We owe it our forefathers, our grandchildren, and to each other.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Safecastle Shelters - Limited Time 5% Discount!

Here's a very unique opportunity ...

I've been able to convince my expert Safecastle shelter builder to extend a private, "need to know" discount of 5% off the list price of any custom, steel-plate fallout shelter, storm shelter, or saferoom ordered by January 31, 2007.

Neither he nor I have ever before offered a sale price on these units and so this is truly a special opportunity. We are talking about a typical discount of $1000 to $2000, depending on the type and size of shelter needed. (The discount does NOT apply to shipping or installation fees.)

The offer is good to anyone who contacts me and arranges for a shelter to be built and places the 50% down payment before February 1, 2007.

For those who may not be familiar with our shelters, they are the best shelters available in the USA, dollar for dollar. They are engineered and built to exceed FEMA standards, and above or below ground, they will withstand winds in excess of 330 mph. Our builder has installed over 400 shelters all over the US over the last 13 years, for corporations, government groups, homeowners, and communities. A few shelters have been real-world tested by storms such as KATRINA and have come through with flying colors, saving lives in the process.

Also worth noting--we can at the moment have your shelter built, delivered, and installed within two months! (Subject to change as the backlog grows.)

You want peace of mind? ... believe me, there is no better way of getting it at a reasonable price.

If interested, please start by looking at our website. After looking through the site, go to the "Request a Quote" page and submit your no-obligation query. It is simply an initial correspondence that will allow us to start a dialog with you about what kind of shelter you really need.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Are You Ready for a Biological Terror Attack?

Here is our last excerpt from the Rand Corporation book, "Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks." This piece is on being ready for a biological attack.

See earlier posts in this blog for excerpts on chemical, radiological, and nuclear attack preparedness.

Note that I now have a few copies of the Quick Guide booklet version (26 pages) available for sale at $23, shipping included. It comes with a handy reference card for emergency info on how to react to critical scenarios. Please email me at if you are interested.

Excerpt - Biological Attack

"Biological attacks can involve two basic types of biological agents: contagious and noncontagious. Contagious agents spread from person to person and include such agents as smallpox, plague, ebola, and dengue fever. Noncontagious agents do not spread from person to person; the primary threat is posed from the initial release of the agent. Such agents include anthrax and tularemia as well as biological toxins. Some agents have the potential to survive in the environment for extended periods of time and cause further risk of exposure if the agent is resuspended into the air. Left untreated, some of the diseases caused by either type of agent have the potential to kill a sizable fraction of those exposed to them. Because biological attacks may not be noticed for several days or weeks, there is no real difference for the individual whether the attack occurs indoors or outdoors."

"Anthrax. Based on data from the 1979 anthrax release at Sverdlovsk, the mean time between infection with inhalational anthrax and the onset of symptoms is 10 days, with the earliest and latest appearance of symptoms being 3 days and about 40 days after the release. The large variation is thought to result from the ability of anthrax spores to remain in the body for long durations before germinating to produce the toxic vegetative form of the anthrax bacteria. In a large attack, initial symptoms will likely begin to appear in the first week. If the release is undetected, it may take another two days or more before anthrax is suspected and another day before it has been confirmed. After the attack, anthrax spores can remain on the ground and other surfaces indefinitely and, if of high weapon quality, could potentially be resuspended and inhaled, posing further risk of infections. The risk of infection from resuspended spores is highly uncertain but thought to be much less than the risk from exposure of the initial release.

"Smallpox. The incubation period for smallpox averages 12–14 days. After incubation, those infected with smallpox will begin to exhibit the initial flu-like symptoms (e.g., high fever). Roughly two days later, a characteristic rash begins to emerge on the extremities of the body. Smallpox will likely be confirmed a few days later, at which point the outbreak will be announced to the public. This announcement is expected to occur about 16 days after the attack. It could take public health efforts many weeks to stop the spread of smallpox.

"Detection. A biological attack may be perpetrated in a number of ways. If an attack is detected while a biological agent is still being released, measures can be taken to prevent exposure and infection (e.g., moving away from the release and early prophylaxis). At this point, however, government officials are likely to detect an attack only after those who are initially infected report to health care facilities and are diagnosed with the disease.

"Support from Officials/Governments. Because of the gradual nature of biological
weapons effects, the government will play a central role in helping the individual. The medical and public health systems will be instrumental in diagnosing any illness caused by biological weapons, as well as in estimating the time and location of attack. They will investigate whether cases of illness may result from a bioterrorism attack; coordinate the medical response; provide vaccinations and/or antibiotics; and inform the public about when and where to get medical treatment, how to minimize exposure, and whether to relocate. This includes informing the public about whether the biological agent used is contagious or noncontagious.

"Individual’s Primary Needs. Fundamentally, an individual needs access to an environment free of infection-producing agents. If potentially exposed, individuals will also need access to medical evaluation and treatment. Individuals can expect guidance about where to go and what to do. Note that guidance in this area is expected to evolve with time as officials learn more about bioterrorist threats, effective treatments, and public responses."

Recommended Actions

"1. If symptomatic, immediately go to medical provider specified by public health officials for medical treatment.
Getting medical treatment if symptoms arise is an important action for improving one’s chances of recovery. An individual can expect guidance from officials about the likely symptoms for the specific kind of biological attack that has occurred. Because anthrax is caused by a bacterium, antibiotics are required for treatment and anthrax can be countered with aggressive antibiotic treatment. While it is important to begin antibiotic treatment in these cases as soon as possible, we do not recommend that individuals self-medicate with home supplies of antibiotics for reasons discussed later in this chapter. Although no cure for smallpox exists, chances of survival improve with medical care. In the event of a bioterrorist attack, special treatment facilities may be established, and individuals should follow the guidance of public health officials about where to seek medical treatment.

"2. If informed by public health officials of being potentially exposed, follow their guidance.
• For contagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation, surveillance, or quarantine.
⎯ If "in contact" with persons symptomatic with smallpox, obtain vaccination immediately.
• For noncontagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation.
⎯ For anthrax, obtain appropriate antibiotics quickly.

"Those individuals potentially exposed in a biological attack are those not showing symptoms but who were either present in the area of the attack or, in the case of a contagious agent, exposed to those who were. The primary concern for these individuals is the heightened probability that they may have been infected but are not yet showing symptoms. These individuals will be identified by public health officials. How precisely this group can be defined will depend on the ability of public health officials to pinpoint the time and place of the attack.

"Contagious Diseases. For contagious diseases, individuals should expect and closely follow guidance from public health officials about the possible need for medical evaluations, medical surveillance, or quarantine. Doing so helps ensure that if they become symptomatic they are treated quickly for their own safety and that they do not infect others.

"Individuals potentially exposed to smallpox include two groups: those 'in contact' with persons infected with smallpox and those present in the release area at the time of the attack or over the next two days. Because smallpox is thought to be contagious from the time a patient develops a rash until scabs have formed—a period of approximately 12 days that begins 12–16 days after infection—individuals "in contact" with those persons will be offered a smallpox vaccination and should get vaccinated as quickly as possible. A "contact" is an individual who has come into close contact with an infected person while that person is contagious, as well as household members of those contacts. Because there is some uncertainty about exactly when a smallpox patient is contagious, public health officials may specify a different period during which contacts are vulnerable.

"Contact vaccination is effective because smallpox is the only known potential biological weapon for which postexposure vaccination has proven value. Postexposure vaccination can be an effective response because production of protective antibodies in response to the vaccine have been detected as early as 10 days after vaccination, which is shorter than the incubation period. Thus, if given within three to four days after exposure, vaccination could offer complete or partial protection against smallpox. Vaccination four to seven days after exposure likely offers some protection from disease or may modify the severity of disease.

"In the case where a smallpox attack is identified more than seven days after the exposure, vaccination is unlikely for the second group of individuals (those in the area at the time of attack) because their exposure will have occurred too long ago for vaccination to be effective.

"The CDC, in conjunction with state and local governments, has developed procedures for vaccine distribution and administration designed to vaccinate large populations anywhere in the United States on the order of days.

"Noncontagious Diseases. For noncontagious diseases, individuals should expect and closely follow guidance from public health officials about the possible need for medical evaluations. This helps ensure that if they become symptomatic, they are treated quickly.

"Individuals potentially exposed to anthrax include those present in the release area at any time since the attack. This group should begin antibiotic therapy as soon as possible because antibiotics are useful for prevention of anthrax in those who have been infected with anthrax spores. As a postexposure step to prevent the development of inhalational anthrax, the CDC recommends that individuals take a 60-day course of preventive antibiotics because the incubation period for inhalational anthrax among humans may range up to 60 days. Those who have been partially or fully vaccinated should receive at least a 30-day course of antibiotics and continue with the vaccination regimen.

"Through the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile (NPS), the federal government has developed a plan for delivering needed supplies (including antibiotics) into a region when an incident requires a response larger or more sustained than the local community can handle. The NPS consists of an initial stockpile that can be distributed immediately, as well as a vendor-managed inventory component that is to be shipped to arrive at 24 and 36 hours after activation.

"Anthrax vaccine exists, but it is available only for preexposure protection to those at high risk and is not licensed for postexposure use in preventing anthrax. Distributing anthrax vaccine is therefore currently not part of the government’s terrorism response plan. However, because of a potential preventive benefit of combined antimicrobial and vaccine postexposure treatment and the availability of a limited supply of anthrax vaccine for civilian use, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has endorsed making anthrax vaccine available in combination with antibiotics under an Investigational New Drug application for persons at risk for inhalational anthrax. What action the government may actually take in another anthrax attack is therefore unclear. In addition to helping prevent the contraction of anthrax, use of the vaccine may reduce the need for long-term antimicrobial therapy, with its associated problems of nonadherence and possible adverse events.

"3. For all others, monitor for symptoms and, for contagious diseases, minimize contact with others.
Given the uncertainties surrounding who may have been infected in a biological attack, even individuals who are not symptomatic and who have no reason to believe they have been exposed to a biological agent should monitor themselves and their family members for signs of infection and be prepared to seek treatment. A common symptom of almost all potential biological agents is the presence of a fever. Thus, if officials announce that a biological attack has occurred in a particular area, it would be prudent for individuals in this group to monitor their temperature daily or as instructed by officials.

"The CDC’s current Smallpox Response Plan consists of isolating confirmed and suspected smallpox cases and vaccinating primary contacts of cases and family members of contacts, but it does not include postexposure vaccination of the general public. While some studies indicate that mass vaccination during an outbreak may be effective, the net benefit of such a policy is still under debate.

"In the case of such contagious agents as smallpox, these individuals should also minimize contact with potentially infected persons by 'shielding' with their families at home. Shielding entails minimizing unessential trips and possibly using a particulate mask when outings (e.g., going to and from work, shopping for food, or seeking medical treatment) are necessary.

"4. Leave anthrax-affected area once on antibiotics if advised to do so by public health officials.
Considerable uncertainty exists about the extent to which anthrax spores released in the air can become resuspended again after they have settled on the ground, thereby presenting a continuing health hazard. If long-term environmental dangers are possible, officials may call for individuals in the affected area to relocate to housing in other areas. If they do call for relocation, it would not have to be done immediately; individuals would have time to secure their homes, but, to prevent spreading spores, they would probably not be allowed to take their belongings with them. For those moving in or out of the affected area, N95 particulate filter masks could be useful if officials believe the risk of infection from resuspension of the spores is significant."

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ready for Terror Attacks? - Nuclear

Resuming the series of excerpts from the very practical Rand Corporation book, "Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks," we move to nuclear readiness.

See earlier posts in this blog for excerpts on chemical and radiological attack preparedness.To see the entire monograph in pdf form, go to:

Excerpt - Nuclear Attack

"A nuclear detonation has several immediate effects: a powerful blast that knocks over buildings, high-energy prompt radiation from the nuclear reaction, a strong flash of light and heat, and an electromagnetic pulse that may interfere with electronic equipment. The distance those effects are felt from the detonation depends on the size of the weapon and how high above the ground the detonation occurs. In the Cold War, attacks were expected to have involved many strikes with very large weapons (hundreds of kilotons). While it is not possible to predict the characteristics of future terrorist attacks, they are probably more likely to use a single smaller weapon that ranges from less than a kiloton to 10 kilotons and are likely to detonate the nuclear device on the ground, not in the air. A ground burst will have reduced blast effects but will produce a larger footprint on the ground of the highly radioactive fallout cloud, extending possibly tens of miles. This fallout could be lethal to those in its path who are not well protected. Nuclear attacks will also significantly damage infrastructure, not only to buildings but also to utilities, electronics, and other services.

"Timelines. The prompt effects of nuclear weapons are essentially instantaneous—they last for a minute or less. The fires caused by the heat from the detonation start soon after but are not likely to become a broad fire for 20 minutes or more. Radioactive particles from the fallout cloud begin to fall to the ground 10–15 minutes after the detonation near the spot of the detonation. Farther away, the radioactive fallout begins to land soon after the cloud passes overhead. After about 24 hours, all the fallout is deposited. The radioactivity in the fallout is extremely high early on. However, after two days, it will have decreased in intensity significantly (by a factor of 100 compared to one hour after the blast).

"Detection. A nuclear detonation will be unmistakable from the moment it occurs. The bright flash, the widespread physical destruction, the searing heat, and the mushroom cloud are unique. During the Cold War, the attack would have been detected as satellites tracked missiles on their 30-minute journey to the United States from Russia, which would have given individuals a chance to get to a fallout shelter. Terrorists are much more likely to deliver the weapon surreptitiously, perhaps by a truck or ship, rather than by missile. Hence, there would be little chance for early detection and warning.

Support from Officials/Governments. Government officials would be unlikely to provide support until well after the detonation. Initial activities would include providing medical care to survivors, rescuing people from areas that are safe enough to enter briefly, and informing individuals when the fallout radiation was low enough that individuals could leave their shelters and the contaminated fallout area."

Response Strategy

"In a surprise attack, an individual cannot avoid the initial effects of a nuclear detonation—blast, heat, and prompt radiation. However, the dangers from exposure to the radioactive fallout from the cloud that will form shortly thereafter can be reduced significantly. This will require that an individual locate the area of this radioactive cloud and act quickly. The individual’s overarching goal would be to avoid fallout by either quickly evacuating the fallout zone or seeking the best available shelter.

Recommended Actions

"1. Move out of the path of the radioactive fallout cloud as quickly as possible (less than 10 minutes when in immediate blast zone) and then find medical care immediately.
"Individuals can best protect themselves by evacuating the area where the radioactive fallout is likely to land. This is the case because evacuation provides protection that is full and indefinite and is appropriate for wherever the attack occurs and for different variations in an attack. It makes possible access to medical care, which will be critical to individuals in the blast zone who may have absorbed a high dose of prompt radiation from the detonation or sustained injuries from the blast and heat. It is also low in cost and requires little preparation. The fallout zone is defined as that area in which the fallout will generate 100 rad over 24 hours.

"Evacuation affords such protection because the onset of the radioactive fallout is not immediate but is expected to begin 10–15 minutes after the detonation in the vicinity of the blast and extend for hours as the radioactive cloud moves downwind.Thus, a shortcoming of evacuation in attacks involving chemical or radiological weapons—that it cannot be done quickly enough to provide adequate protection—does not hold in this case.

"Evacuation also protects against the hazard of large fires that may emerge in the blast zone within 20 minutes or so after the detonation and could endanger individuals in shelters.

"The distances an individual must travel to evacuate the fallout zone are not large. Even for a 10-kiloton weapon, a person located anywhere in the region between the blast site and up to about 10 kilometers (6 miles) downwind of the blast site would need to travel less than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) to evacuate the most dangerous fallout area. Even where the radioactive cloud is at its widest, some 20 to 50 kilometers (10 to 30 miles) downwind, an individual would only need to travel at most about 5 kilometers (3 miles). In this latter case, more than 10 minutes would be available for evacuation because it would take some time for the cloud to reach that distance. Because roads are likely to be impassable for automobiles in many areas because of damage, debris, or traffic, individuals should evacuate on foot.

"The primary considerations for this action are knowing whether one is in an area that may become contaminated by radioactive fallout and, if so, knowing which direction to take. Fallout is likely to cover a portion of the blast zone. Thus, anyone in the blast zone, which will be characterized by severe damage and broken windows even at its outer periphery, is in danger of contamination from radioactive fallout. The fallout zone will extend some 20– 80 kilometers (10–50 miles) downwind, depending on the weapon’s size and the local winds. The downwind fallout zone will be less clearly delineated than the blast zone, but its approximate location can be determined by observing the mushroom cloud and the direction in which the wind seems to be blowing.

"To evacuate from the blast zone, individuals should move directly away from the blast center until they are clear. The location of the center will be apparent from the initial bright flash and subsequent vertical rise of a mushroom cloud. If the location of the detonation cannot be determined quickly, individuals should walk in the direction of less damage, where more buildings are standing and where there are fewer broken windows.

"Individuals outside the blast zone who are in the radioactive cloud path (including those who evacuated in a downwind direction from the blast zone) should move in a cross-wind direction until out from underneath the path of the developing radioactive cloud. To determine the wind direction, individuals should look for the direction that the mushroom cloud or smoke from fires is going and go perpendicular to it. If they can feel the wind, they should walk with the wind in their ears.

"Although individuals may not feel any symptoms, those in the blast zone may have absorbed a high dose of prompt radiation from the detonation. Thus, we highly recommend that such individuals receive immediate medical care once outside the fallout area because such care could be essential for survival.

"2. If it is not possible to move out of the path of the radioactive fallout cloud, take shelter as far underground as possible or if underground shelter is not available, seek shelter in upper floors of a multistory building.
If evacuation is impossible, shelter is essential for anyone remaining in the path of the radioactive fallout cloud. Radiation from local fallout can be intense, delivering a lethal dose to an unprotected person in an area up to 8 kilometers (5 miles) downwind of the detonation within an hour, depending on the size of the weapon. To protect against this radiation, individuals should get as much solid material (dirt, concrete, or masonry) and space as possible between themselves and the fallout, which collects on the ground and roofs of buildings. The best shelter is well below ground level, in the sub-basement of a building, a subway tunnel, or the lowest level of an underground garage. These shelters can reduce exposure levels by factors of 1,000 or higher.

"If an individual cannot get to an underground shelter within the timelines of the arrival of the radioactive fallout, the next best shelter would be in the upper floors of a multistory building (greater than 10 stories) but at least three stories below the roof to avoid the fallout deposited there. Protection is best as far as possible from the outside walls. Such a shelter can provide protection factors of 100 or higher, but it could be significantly less if the windows or structures have been damaged.

"Ordinary house basements provide inadequate protection in areas of intense radioactive fallout because they provide protection factors of only 10–20. However, at distances greater than about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the detonation, where the levels of radiation will be much less, they could be sufficient. Nevertheless, because it could be difficult to know where you are in relation to the detonation and because the yield of the weapon is not known, the more shelter the better. In all cases, once inside the shelter, shut off all air circulation systems and close off doorways and windows. The room should not be sealed completely, because enough air will be needed to breathe for at least 48 hours. Individuals should remain in the shelter and await guidance from officials about when it is safe to leave, which could take 24 to 48 hours. Individuals should attempt to gain access to their emergency supply kit for use while in the shelter, but it is better to reach a good shelter in time without the kit. The ideal shelter would be prestocked with supplies to support occupants for two to three days.

"3. Find ways to cover skin, nose, and mouth, if it does not impede either evacuating the fallout zone or taking shelter.
Although radioactive fallout will not begin to land in the blast zone and surrounding areas for at least 10 minutes, some radioactive particles and dust are likely to be present from the detonation. Therefore, individuals should take the precautionary step of protecting themselves from this radiation. Respiratory protection can be achieved by using particulate filter masks or other expedient measures, such as covering the nose and mouth with clothing or towels. (See the discussion in radiological attack section.) It is important to note that, in contrast to a radiological bomb, the primary hazard from radioactive fallout is radiation absorbed from outside the body. Respiratory protection steps, therefore, will provide only limited protection. As a result, we recommend that respiratory protection be retrieved and donned but only if this causes no more than a few moments delay in evacuating the fallout zone or finding shelter.

"The radiation in nuclear fallout consists primarily of gamma emitters but also includes beta radiation. Protective clothing provides no protection from gamma radiation, although it can provide significant protection from beta radiation.

"We therefore recommend covering exposed skin but again only if it does not impede evacuating or taking shelter. In this context, any clothing that covers exposed skin and the head is considered protective clothing. Thus, most fully dressed individuals would only need a hat or hood. Protective clothing has the additional advantage of facilitating decontamination by providing a layer that can be quickly removed to dispose of any fallout material that may have accumulated on a person during evacuation or prior to sheltering.

"4. Decontaminate as soon as possible once protected from the fallout. Decontamination can provide protection for anyone who has spent time in the area of the nuclear blast or the radioactive fallout zone by eliminating exposure from radioactive particulates (dust) that have adhered to the body. Decontamination should initially focus on removing outer clothing, including shoes, and securing it in a bag or other container. Individuals should minimize contact of radioactive material with skin and eyes by rinsing exposed skin, removing contact lenses, and showering as soon as possible. Contaminated clothing should be treated or disposed of in accordance with official guidance. Decontamination should be undertaken as quickly as possible but only after an individual is protected from exposure to fallout by evacuation or sheltering.

"5. If outside the radioactive fallout area, still take shelter to avoid any residual radiation. Because uncertainty exists about exactly where the radioactive cloud will travel and where the fallout will land, it is important for individuals outside the apparent
fallout zone to take shelter. House or building basements should provide sufficient protection."


The final excerpt from this book will be "Biological Attacks."

One note on RAND's recommendation to evacuate if at all possible, rather than sheltering ...

If you have a well-built, well-prepared fallout shelter within easy reach, I believe reaching that protection is preferable to evacuation. Why? Because of the uncertainty of what awaits in areas where you might flee to. In my view, it's far better to take the certain safety of your shelter over the uncertain circumstances that await evacuees over the horizon.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another Look into the Future - Technology in the War on Terror

Interesting look at technological trends that are undeniable and pretty much irreversible ...


The Terrorists' Technological Edge

by Arnaud de Borchgrave

excerpt ...

U.S. national security is at risk, Mr. Negroponte argues, "unless we take steps to deal with it right away." The 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act created a director of science and technology in the DNI's office. It also established the director of a National Science and Technology Committee, including all the chief science officers from the entire intelligence community.

There are still critical mission gaps. Mr. Negroponte listed three:

  1. Locating terrorists.
  2. Identifying and locating WMD activities by nation-states and nonstate actors.
  3. Protecting the homeland against WMD and cyber attacks.

The DNI also listed "credibility gaps" that the intelligence community is endeavoring to close:

  1. U.S. collection capabilities are not pervasive and persistent enough. Human-intelligence-enabling technology is far from where it needs to be.
  2. Intelligence analysis suffers from a lack of collaborative infrastructure and tools to help minimize analyst information overload.
  3. U.S. ability to foster prudent information sharing remains inhibited by rigid, segregated networks that are too vulnerable to compromise.


The good news in a bleak picture is that ...

Among recent breakthroughs, Mr. Negroponte said, is computer modeling that is "helping us uncover foreign activities that have been hidden underground to defeat U.S. satellite imagery"; "pattern analysis helping us find the insurgents who are building IEDs in Iraq"; "computer-assisted linking of data on foreign terrorists helping us disrupt plans for attacks in this country."

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Look Ahead--the War on Terror in 2011

I'll interrupt my series of excerpts from the Rand Corporation's book on surviving terror attacks to refer you to an article entitled, "Uncertainty The Only Certainty In Future Course Of Global War On Terror." Interestingly, it is by another Rand researcher and author, Brian Michael Jenkins.

Jenkins leaps ahead to September 11, 2011, and postulates what the war on terror may look like at that point. It's worth a look, but I suspect the actual state of affairs may be vastly different depending on how radically our political realities shift in the next couple of elections.


Get Ready, Seriously ...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Prepared For Terror Attacks? - Radiological

Here is the next excerpt from the excellent Rand Corporation book, "Individual Preparedness and Response to Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, and Biological Terrorist Attacks." See my previous post for more on this and for the excerpt on chemical attack preparedness.

To see the entire monograph in pdf form, go to:

Excerpt - Radiological Attack

"A dirty bomb uses conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material across a wide area, although slower and less dramatic methods are possible and may escape detection. The area affected by a radiological attack could be fairly small—a few blocks—or could cover hundreds of square kilometers with low-level radiation, depending primarily on the type and amount of radioactive material used. The hazards to individuals from the radiation are likely to be quite low and will manifest themselves only after many years, if they do so at all. For those close to the explosion, the hazards from the blast are much higher. While indoor attacks are also possible, outdoor attacks have the potential to affect more people, cause more social anxiety, and contaminate a larger area than indoor attacks.

"The hazard from a radiological bomb results from two categories of exposure. The primary short-term exposure hazard is inhalation of radioactive material suspended with the dust and smoke from the explosion. Inhaled radioactive material can be deposited in the lungs and will continue to expose the individual to radiation for as long as the material remains in the lungs, which can be many years. A second, long-term external exposure hazard exists for individuals who remain in the contaminated areas over a period of years. Although there is considerable debate in the scientific community about the effects of low levels of radiation on individuals (e.g., Jones, 2000), it is likely that authorities will take steps to address this risk, either by limiting access or decontaminating the area (Levi and Kelly, 2002)."
"Support from Officials/Governments. Since detectors are required to signal the presence of radiological materials, the government will likely play a central role in the response to any such attack. However, because it could take an hour or more to detect the radiation, individuals within the cloud will not know that radiation is present immediately following the event, the period when the risk from inhalation is greatest.

"Individual’s Primary Needs. Fundamentally, an individual needs to avoid exposure to radiation, particularly through inhaling radioactive dust from the cloud. If exposed, an individual should also seek medical care as soon as it is safe."

Recommended Actions

"1. If an explosion occurs outdoors or you are informed of an outside release of radiation and you are outside, cover nose and mouth and seek indoor shelter. If you are inside an undamaged building, stay there. Close windows and doors and shut down ventilation systems. Exit shelter when told it is safe.

"2. If an explosion occurs inside your building or you are informed of a release of radiation, cover nose and mouth and go outside immediately. The primary safety and health hazard in a radiological attack is inhalation of radioactive particulate matter generated from an explosion or other type of release (e.g., aerosol). A simple and effective way to prevent this is to take shelter in a structure that blocks the infiltration of particulates. This action is attractive because it is simple, quick, and effective. The onset of the exposure hazard in a radiological attack initiated with a bomb is expected to be immediate, and the exposure is greatest in the first few hours, while the particulate matter is still airborne. For individuals outside when such an attack occurs, sheltering in a nearby building will provide good protection and should be attempted immediately. The closest shelter not damaged or endangered by the explosion should be sought because the goal is to minimize exposure to suspended particulate matter.

Individuals already indoors should remain there as long as their building has not been damaged and is not threatened by fires or other consequences of the attack.

"The primary complication with this action is that it is unlikely to be apparent that any radioactive material has been released for some time. However, this action is generally advisable in response to any explosion event because many types of nonradioactive dust present health hazards and should be avoided as well. In addition, sheltering will help counter the tendency for people to gather at an explosion site, thus decreasing the impact of any secondary device that may target those who gather at the scene. As a result, finding shelter should be the goal in any explosion. Once emergency responders begin to understand the type and extent of radioactive contamination, they can provide guidance about when and how to vacate shelters. Respiratory protection should be used to prevent inhalation of radioactive particulate matter. As with sheltering, a complication of this action is that the release of radioactive material is unlikely to be apparent for some time. However, for the same reasons as with sheltering, this action is beneficial in the response to any explosion event, whether radioactive material is present or not. There are two primary variations of respiratory protection: expedient and particulate filter equipped facemasks. Expedient respiratory protection refers to using available materials, such as clothing or towels, as filter material.

"For individuals outside when such an attack occurs, expedient respiratory protection will be necessary, because the onset of the hazard is expected to be so rapid that effective use of a filter mask will be either impractical (i.e., it will have to be carried at all times) or too slow (because an individual would need to travel to a car or other storage space to retrieve it). Evaluation of expedient respiratory protection shows that a wide variety of common materials have similar filtration efficiencies, with the efficiency increasing with the number of layers used (Guyton et al., 1959; Sorensen and Vogt, 2001b). According to those sources, wetting the material makes it no more effective and also increases breathing resistance and so should not be done. Given that most likely expedient filtration materials have similar protective capacities, the primary concern is obtaining a good seal around the nose and mouth. Thus, while understanding that options may be very limited, one should strive to use soft cloth and fold, cut, or tear it so that it can be handled in such a way as to hold it tightly over the nose and mouth. If tape is available, the material should be taped to the face to improve the seal. A substantial shortcoming of expedient respiratory protection is that it requires at least one hand to hold it in place, thereby decreasing agility and mobility. In addition to improving the seal, taping the mask to the face can eliminate this problem. In any case, one should keep in mind that the respiratory hazard increases with the cumulative inhalation exposure, so even if expedient respiratory protection must be temporarily removed, it should be replaced as soon as possible. Individuals indoors should evacuate the premises if the attack occurs indoors or damages or threatens their building enough to undermine its sheltering capacity.

"In this situation, a particulate filter mask may be appropriate. Regular building occupants could store a filter mask in their work space for rapid retrieval and donning in the event of a radiological attack or other explosion. These masks are much more effective than expedient measures, are inexpensive, are widely available, are compact, have long shelf lives, have minimal maintenance requirements, and are simple to use. We therefore recommend their use for anyone indoors in a potential indoor radiological attack.

"3. Decontaminate by removing clothing and showering. Radioactive particulate matter trapped on a person’s clothing, hair, or skin can pose an exposure hazard that remains even after direct contact from suspended particulate matter has been eliminated. Therefore, anyone who has been exposed to radioactive material should undergo decontamination once safely sheltered from the source of radioactive material. Decontamination should initially focus on removing any respirable dust, which would entail removing outer clothing and securing it in a bag or other container. While the hazard is primarily respiratory, contact of radioactive material with skin and eyes should be minimized by rinsing exposed skin, removing contact lenses, and showering as soon as possible. The danger posed by contaminated clothing may persist for long durations, so contaminated clothing should be treated or disposed of in accordance with official guidance.

"4. Relocate outside the contaminated zone, only if instructed to do so by public officials.
Although contamination levels from a radiological weapon are likely to be quite low, long-term exposure may be high enough in some areas that authorities will ask individuals to leave their homes or businesses for some period of time. Relocation does not need to be done quickly because it is the exposure over many years that is the concern; the relocation could happen over weeks or months. Individuals may be allowed to return within a few months if the area is to be decontaminated, but it may also be many years before individuals will be allowed to return. Individuals will have to rely on authorities for information about whether relocation is called for and how long it is likely to last."

More Excerpts to Come

I will be posting more excerpts regarding nuclear and biological terrorist attacks soon.

Get Ready, Seriously ...