Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials: September 2007

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

Friday, September 28, 2007

Huntsville Alabama Reopening Fallout Shelters (But Not Stocking Them)

On the one hand, a return to a civil defense program is great and long overdue ... but what the heck are they thinking here, not putting in ANY provisions and telling folks they'd have to bring their own? Talk about a formula for chaos in those shelters!

Alabama City Reopening Fallout Shelters
Sep 27, 3:57 PM (ET)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - In an age of al-Qaida, sleeper cells and the threat of nuclear terrorism, Huntsville is dusting off its Cold War manual to create the nation's most ambitious fallout-shelter plan, featuring an abandoned mine big enough for 20,000 people to take cover underground.

Others would hunker down in college dorms, churches, libraries and research halls that planners hope will bring the community's shelter capacity to 300,000, or space for every man, woman and child in Huntsville and the surrounding county.

Emergency planners in Huntsville - an out-of-the-way city best known as the home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center - say the idea makes sense because radioactive fallout could be scattered for hundreds of miles if terrorists detonated a nuclear bomb.

"If Huntsville is in the blast zone, there's not much we can do. But if it's just fallout ... shelters would absorb 90 percent of the radiation," said longtime emergency management planner Kirk Paradise, whose Cold War expertise with fallout shelters led local leaders to renew Huntsville's program.

Huntsville's project, developed using $70,000 from a Homeland Security grant, goes against the grain because the United States essentially scrapped its national plan for fallout shelters after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Congress cut off funding and the government published its last list of approved shelters at the end of 1992.

After Sept. 11, Homeland Security created a metropolitan protection program that includes nuclear-attack preparation and mass shelters. But no other city has taken the idea as far as Huntsville has, officials said.

Many cities advise residents to stay at home and seal up a room with plastic and duct tape during a biological, chemical or nuclear attack. Huntsville does too, in certain cases.

Local officials agree the "shelter-in-place" method would be best for a "dirty bomb" that scattered nuclear contamination through conventional explosives. But they say full-fledged shelters would be needed to protect from the fallout of a nuclear bomb.

Program leaders recently briefed members of Congress, including Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., who called the shelter plan an example of the "all-hazards" approach needed for emergency preparedness.

"Al-Qaida, we know, is interested in a nuclear capability. It's our nation's fear that a nuclear weapon could get into terrorists' hands," Dent said.

As fallout shelters go, the Three Caves Quarry just outside downtown offers the kind of protection that would make Dr. Strangelove proud, with space for an arena-size crowd of some 20,000 people.

Last mined in the early '50s, the limestone quarry is dug 300 yards into the side of the mountain, with ceilings as high as 60 feet and 10 acres of floor space covered with jagged rocks. Jet-black in places with a year-round temperature of about 60 degrees, it has a colony of bats living in its highest reaches and baby stalactites hanging from the ceiling.

"It would be a little trying, but it's better than the alternative," said Andy Prewett, a manager with The Land Trust of Huntsville and North Alabama, a nonprofit preservation group that owns the mine and is making it available for free.

In all, the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency has identified 105 places that can be used as fallout shelters for about 210,000 people. They are still looking for about 50 more shelters that would hold an additional 100,000 people.

While officials have yet to launch a campaign to inform people of the shelters, a local access TV channel showed a video about the program, which also is explained on a county Web site.
If a bomb went off tomorrow, Paradise said, officials would tell people where to find shelter through emergency alerts on TV and radio stations. "We're pretty much ready to go because we have a list of shelters," he said.

Most of the shelters would offer more comfort than the abandoned mine, such as buildings at the University of Alabama in Huntsville that would house 37,643. A single research hall could hold more than 8,100.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Alexandra Kirin said of Huntsville's wide-ranging plan: "We're not aware of any other cities that are doing that."

Plans call for staying inside for as long as two weeks after a bomb blast, though shelters might be needed for only a few hours in a less dire emergency.

Unlike the fallout shelters set up during the Cold War, the new ones will not be stocked with water, food or other supplies. For survivors of a nuclear attack, it would be strictly "BYOE" - bring your own everything. Just throw down a sleeping bag on the courthouse floor - or move some of the rocks on the mine floor - and make yourself at home.

"We do not guarantee them comfort, just protection," said Paradise, who is coordinating the shelter plans for the local emergency management agency.

Convenience store owner Tandi Prince said she cannot imagine living in the cavern after a bombing.

"That would probably not be very fun," she said.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How to Watch Troubling Developments, Yet Stay Balanced and Cool

Sometimes, I find it worthwhile to post here something I initially contribute elsewhere. In this case, I responded with the comments below in a thread at TB2K about someone's concern he had been fooled by those speculating about some pending doom that didn't materialize; and that he had lost credibility with those near to him when sharing his concern.

There were several good responses in that pertinent discussion thread. These were my comments (edited a bit here for clarity):

I've been watching and prepping for 30 years now (to varying degrees through that period). Early on, I was a bonafide, front-line Cold War observer, privy to almost daily feint and retreat bluff charges from the Warsaw Pact. That was literally point-blank, end-of-the-world stuff.

It was very cool to have woken up every day through that, able to have learned from the previous day's hard lessons about power, fear, and many other things.

Now as then, eventually, almost all sane and rational folks connected in some way to intelligence and/or preparedness come to these conclusions:

1. Observing and planning is but a game. It has benefits in the real world but in only limited fashion.

2. Those who make predictions about an extremely complex world do so after filtering info through their own singular inputs and preconceptions of what they think the world is about. No human being is capable of monitoring and analyzing all the variables out there today. In fact, even the largest, best equipped organizations can only guess at their own narrow slice of the future.

3. Bottom line ... NO ONE among us can read the tea leaves or can fully decipher the code to tomorrow, period.

4. When really bad stuff does happen, and it surely does, it is almost always a surprise.

5. Adrenaline surges that come with false alarms are immensely counter-productive. Emotion does not help. One must learn to recognize and manage exposure to scaremongers if you are to truly be ready for anything that actually may happen.

6. One of the most important objectives in a personal crisis preparedness plan is to keep a steady and even pace in all things related ... alert-wise, budget-wise, and also in how you share your perspective with others.

7. Your credibility is one of your most important personal resources. It is up to you and you alone to manage it wisely. Never squander it by allowing your emotions to take charge and spill your worst fears--even, or especially, with your loved ones. There's much to be said about this:

In the end--consider that you are a caretaker of your household's future. That entails a lot more than manning the watchtower and sounding alarms. Do what you need to do to ensure your household's safety and enhancing the probabilities for your loved ones' successes into whatever future there might be around the corner.

Play it all strong and close to the vest. Then, when the barbarians are actually coming over the hill (if they ever do), you will still be able to sound that alarm and be believed. And you will hopefully also have the self-control honed through the years to respond appropriately instead of in panic.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shelter and Saferoom Price Hike, New Options on the Way

Just a heads up to those of you thinking about purchasing one of our shelters soon ...

Some slight price increases are in process as we speak. Our new brochures and our shelter website will include those updated prices in about three weeks, I believe.

Also, we will be adding a few new options such as a drive-in storm shelter for those who want to be sure their vehicle is protected from damage.

We will offer heavy-duty, laminated glass windows as an option in our above-ground shelters.
We will also now be able to offer a small, one-size-fits-all lease-to-own storm shelter that will make it easy to purchase this ultimate above ground shelter protection on affordable terms.

More details in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, if you want to beat the price hike, act now.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


September marks not only the traditional time to begin laying up food and supplies for the winter, but it is also National Preparedness Month. With that as a backdrop, we're excited about three new pre-selected packages of long-term storage foods that we are promoting as part of our new "PROJECT: PREPARE."

We identified these foods as being the ones most desired by our buyers club members in order to enhance their own preparedness programs. We negotiated special prices on these packages with one of our best suppliers, and we have exclusive rights to the packages for a limited time.

Package-Kits for Every Budget; 10-15 Year Shelf Life

We have three kits we're offering, with immediate shipping available on all included foods. Members--use your standard 20%-off coupon code to get your best deals (email me if you need that code again).

PROJECT: PREPARE - Essentials Kit - "Steady as She Goes" - Meats, Cheese, and Butter - Member price, $231.20 - Twelve 28oz. cans of Yoders Meat; three cans each of fully cooked Beef, Chicken, Turkey, and Pork. Twelve 12oz. cans of Red Feather Butter. Twelve 8oz. cans of Red Feather Cheese.

PROJECT PREPARE - Advanced Package - "Ready in Case It Blows" - Meats, Cheese and Butter - Member price, $391.20 - Twelve 28oz. cans of Yoders Fully Cooked Beef. Twelve 28oz. cans of Yoders Fully Cooked Chicken. 24 cans, 12oz each, of Red Feather Butter. 36 8oz cans of Red Feather Cheese.

PROJECT: PREPARE - Freedom Trove - "Fuggeddaboudit, Let's Start the Show" - Member price, $1231.20 - Meats, Cheese, Butter, Bread, Eggs, Fruit, Milk Substitute, Honey, Water. Please click the link to see everything in this package!

Not a member yet? A one-time $19 fee will always get you at least 20% off everything in our store and FREE shipping to the lower 48 on all products we list. Join here and we'll send you your member coupon code to use as often as you'd like.
Get Ready ... Seriously

Global Fatality Rate from Bird Flu at 61%: WHO

Read the article.

SEOUL, Sept 12 Asia Pulse - Approximately six out of 10 people around the world who have contracted bird flu have died, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said Wednesday, stressing the need for improved contingency systems ...
... The director noted that most countries still need to develop their "country-level operational capacity for rapid containment."
"All sectors of society need to be involved in improving pandemic preparedness," he added.
Scientists fear that the A (H5N1) bird flu virus could mutate into a more virulent form that can spread easily among humans, leading to a pandemic with the potential to kill millions.

Get Ready ... Seriously

Saturday, September 08, 2007

"Project: Prepare" Launching Next Week

Just a quick heads-up to our friends and members out there ... we're now wrapping up final details on a very cool food-package deal we've negotiated with one of our emergency-storage food suppliers.

Next week, we plan to launch three new and unique long-term storage packages involving wet-pack meats, milk, eggs, cheese, crackers, fruit, butter, and more! And get this--the stuff is all good for a minimum of 10 years on the shelf in reasonable storage conditions!

We've got some eye-opening deals we're passing on to our buyers club members--and it all ships to customers immediately.

Incidentally, we're also firing up a national radio campaign by the end of next week on Project: Prepare, so we're excited about doing what we can to help more folks out there get ready for contingencies. Stay tuned!

(If you're not a club member yet, join now for just a one-time $19 fee.)

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Got Guns?

Societal chaos figures prominently in many potential crisis scenarios. Thus, at least in America, most self-respecting preparedness practitioners are legally armed.

Face it ... criminals and all manner of bad-guy types must think twice when there is real risk of running into the business end of a well-aimed firearm. Those types often are emboldened when the social structure breaks down, so it is important ethical and law-abiding citizens are equipped to hold the line against anarchy.

Moreover, in the USA, civilian gun ownership remains a worthy collective deterrent to foreign aggression ... not to mention an impediment to our own government from becoming too pushy.

270 Million American Guns

The Small Arms Survey of 2007, performed by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies, points out that the U.S. has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, a position of defensiveness that holds our country as being the most heavily armed society in the world.

A few more tidbits:

  • U.S. citizens own 270M of the world's 875M known firearms
  • 8M new firearms are manufactured every year; 4.5M are purchased in the U.S.
  • There are 9 firearms for every 10 people in the USA; in the rest of the world, there is one firearm for every 10 people
  • Globally, 650M guns are civilian owned, 225M are held by law enforcement and military forces
  • About 12% of civilian weapons are registered with authorities.
For more: read the Aug. 28 Reuters article.

Guns ARE America, Defining and Defending Our Freedom

Several months ago, an excellent book was released called "Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie." The author is Clayton Cramer.

Here's an excerpt of a review published in the New York Post ...

Did you know that in New York City through 1969 virtually all the public high schools had riflery teams?

Thousands of students carried their rifles on subways, buses and streets on their way to school, when they went to practice in the afternoon and on their way home. And until 1963, all commercial pilots were required to carry guns and were allowed to carry guns until 1987.

Gun laws have certainly changed over time.

Today towns such as Kennesaw, Ga., Greenfeld, Idaho, and Geuda Springs, Kan., which all require residents to own guns, are considered odd. But Clayton Cramer's terrific new book, "Armed America," shows that, in fact, gun ownership has been deeply woven into this country's fabric since the colonial period.

Cramer proves that guns aren't inherently the problem. In our day, criminals may have replaced Indians as a danger facing most citizens, but it may also shock many readers to learn how comfortable Americans once were with their guns.

In colonial times, as Cramer argues, people didn't own guns just for hunting. Numerous laws mandated that people have guns for personal defense and defense of the community, at home, while traveling and even in church.

Heads of households, whether men or women, were required to have a gun at home and fines of up to a month's wages were imposed on those who failed to meet this requirement.

Get Ready, Seriously ...