Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials: Pandemic preparedness

There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Showing posts with label Pandemic preparedness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pandemic preparedness. Show all posts

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Be Aware of Growing Staph Superbug Danger

This week, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that deaths tied to drug-resistant staph infections in the U.S. may already exceed the number of AIDS deaths. Obviously, this is a serious situation. Do not think that you are not vulnerable.

I speak with the experience of having had such a staph infection in my leg a couple of years ago. What started as a normal pimple, quickly became a swollen, extremely painful infection that required more than one emergency room visit and months worth of treatment before we beat it. It was the worst pain I've ever experienced and certainly there were some scary moments after I realized the risks.

Personal hygiene and cleanliness in your environment is your only course of prevention, and even then, there is no certainty that you will evade infection. Nonetheless, I recommend you take the cleanliness approach in your life seriously--especially paying attention to surfaces that are shared by individuals.

One of many particularly dangerous sources of infection is in your pocket or purse right now--your cell phone (even if you never share it with someone else). Clean it with antimicrobial wipes regularly.

(Note that in our buyers club, we offer a unique, hospital-strength decontamination kit that is an excellent addition to any home or business today when microbial threats like this can emerge with no warning.)

Experts: Drug-resistant staph deaths may surpass AIDS deaths

CHICAGO (AP) — More than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly infections each year from a drug-resistant staph "superbug," the government reported Tuesday in its first overall estimate of invasive disease caused by the germ.

Deaths tied to these infections may exceed those caused by AIDS, said one public health expert commenting on the new study. The report shows just how far one form of the staph germ has spread beyond its traditional hospital setting.

The overall incidence rate was about 32 invasive infections per 100,000 people. That's an "astounding" figure, said an editorial in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, which published the study.

[snip] Click the headline to read the entire article.

MORE INFORMATION: Read the Journal of the American Medical Association study Most drug-resistant staph cases are mild skin infections. But this study focused on invasive infections — those that enter the bloodstream or destroy flesh and can turn deadly.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Know Why H5N1 is Not in the Western Hemisphere Yet?

Just came across this tidbit of info that was new to me ....

Avian flu is often carried by waterfowl and migratory birds (hence the name), but most strains of the flu don't actually get the birds sick.

Not true with H5N1 though. The H5 strain is highly pathogenic and thus birds with the virus die before making it from the eastern hemisphere.

The H5 strain has not reached North America, South America, or Australia to date. It COULD happen by smuggling.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Pandemic" - Alarming BBC Shockumentary

This is the two-minute introduction to a 90-minute documentary produced a few months ago by the BBC. To watch the entire program click here.


Get Ready ... Seriously -

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Safecastle's New "Triple Threat Torpedo"

OK, I know--"Triple Threat Torpedo"--yep, dumb name, but just maybe it got your attention. And it does mean what it says.

We're aiming to sink three big threats to your household "coming right out of the harbor." More specifically, in some potential crisis scenarios, you're going to be facing numerous challenges, such as securing your family's food supply, acquiring clean water, and dealing with environmental conditions that may include microbial threats to your health and well-being.

Three Key Elements in Your Improving Plan for Self-Reliance

1. We're offering this bundle of products to especially celebrate the new HAZARiD decontamination kit that is now available at Safecastle Royal.

It is available alone (at 20% off the list price to our club members, with FREE shipping) OR at even lower pricing as a part of this special three-part discounted bundle of product offerings. In short, the decontamination kit includes a powerful hospital-strength antiseptic supply and a fogger unit that allows you to quickly and easily decontaminate large areas or small.

Thinking pandemic here? Yep, we are too, and that's why we're making this available. The HAZARiD package also includes a Tyvec suit, N95 respirators, nitrile gloves, and protective goggles.

This is a decon capability not readily available to the public. We've arranged some very special member pricing , so if at all interested, please do take advantage now.

2. Food is always on our mind here at Safecastle ... it is so key to being prepared for a crisis. A stable, nutritious stockpile of long-term storage food is a must if you are preparing for disaster.

If you are considering a pandemic in your range of potential threats, then you know you simply cannot have enough on hand to weather a worst-case onset of that type of scourge.

So, the second element in this "torpedo" bundle is our unique "Project: Prepare, Advanced Package." It includes a case each of the renowned Yoder's Beef, Yoder's Chicken, Red Feather Cheese, and Red Feather Butter--all good on the shelf for 10+ years.

3. Water. Gotta' have it daily, and it's gotta' be pure. We're throwing in a Katadyn Exstream XR Purifier Bottle here. It'll get you through a tough spot if you need good water for a time. We'd be happy to replace or add to this package for you if you have your eyes on a different Katadyn filter in our store--and we'll give you comparable savings.

Buy the Triple Threat Torpedo package to take advantage of the deepest discounts, or opt for your own separate selections from our store--all of it ships free all the time to the lower 48.

Either way, be sure to use your 20% member discount code. Email us if you need it sent to you again.

If you aren't a member yet, join up for a one-time, lifetime membership fee of $19 and you'll forever get at least 20% off everything in the Safecastle Royal Buyers Club store. Join here.

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bird Flu Can Be Transmitted Between Humans

Article link

SEATTLE -- Local researchers have now proven that bird flu has finally mutated and can be transmitted from person to person. The outbreak occurred in 2006 in Indonesia.

Experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center in Seattle used statistical analysis and a computerized disease-transmission model to show the disease spread between a small number of people in one family.

The chain of infection involved a 10-year-old boy who likely caught the virus from his 37-year-old aunt who had been exposed to dead poultry and chicken feces.

Researchers say the boy then probably passed the virus to his father.

All but one of the flu victims died. All of those who contracted the disease had long, close contact with other ill family members prior to getting sick.

Health authorities eventually placed more than 50 surviving relatives and close contacts under quarantine in an attempt to contain the spread.

One of the authors of the study says that containment came late, so it was lucky the virus didn't spread any further.

"It went two generations and then just stopped, but it could have gotten out of control," said biostatistician Ira Longini, co-author of the study. "The world really may have dodged a bullet with that one, and the next time we might not be so lucky."

Longini says that if bird flu develops enough to cause sustained human-to-human contact, it could spread worldwide faster before enough vaccine could be made available.

The researchers estimate the rate of one infected person passing bird flu to another in Indonesia is 29 percent. That's similar to the spread of seasonal flu in the United States.

Researchers also say another bird flu case in eastern Turkey in 2006 that killed four people was probably spread person-to-person, but there wasn't enough statistical data to support the theory.

The study will be published Sept. 1 in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Dwindling Public Concern Over Pandemic a Dangerous Trend

Pandemic: California is Out Front in Trying to Prepare for Disaster
By Deb Kollars, The Sacramento Bee, Calif. , June 3

excerpt ...

History gives good reason for worry: In the past century, three flu pandemics have struck worldwide, and all came from avian strains. The most recent was the Hong Kong flu in 1968-69, which killed 34,000 Americans. In 1918-19, the Spanish flu killed 550,000 Americans.

"Pandemics are like hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes. They occur," said Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. "Even a mild or moderate pandemic would have tremendous implications."
Osterholm said the dwindling public concern is a dangerous trend. In a serious pandemic, a third of the population could become sick. It would overwhelm not just medical services, but could slow or shut down many corners of the economy if workers were too sick to do their jobs.

Yet, he noted, Congress passed an emergency spending bill last month that was stripped of $650 million for pandemic preparedness.

"People just don't believe it is going to happen," he said.

California's top health officials are taking the threat seriously.

excerpt ...

The state also spent $20 million to buy 51 million face masks, known as respirators, to protect medical staff working with sick patients. The disposable N95 filtering masks, manufactured by 3M of St. Paul, Minn., must be changed many times daily. State officials estimated as many as 100 million could be needed.

According to Grant Barrick, product marketer within 3M's occupational health and environmental safety division, global demand for the respirators has been huge. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared 3M's respirators for general public use in a health emergency.

"We've been working almost 24-7 since the onset of this strain of avian flu to make sure we can produce the volumes needed," Barrick said.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Huntsville, Alabama Reviving Civil Defense Program

Of all the cities and towns in America, Huntsville is the only place engaged in some formal civil defense program?

What does this say about us? About how our state and local officials are so dependent upon the federal government to do it all for us?

Uncle Sam's politically plugged-in bureaucracies will always do pretty much what they decide is in the "public interest," as long as there are ample PACs and special-interest movements pushing them. But local officials are theoretically a lot more approachable and closer to the needs and desires of the populace.

If there is a worthwhile function of local government today, it should be in the field of ensuring local people are always going to have basic life-sustaining services and resources available to them, come hell or high water. Yep, a civil defense program fits that bill.

We should see other municipalities follow the lead of Huntsville. Continuing peace and prosperity in America are not likely in the long-term.

See: "City prepares for nuke terror--Local officials restore long-abandoned fallout shelters, train for WMD emergency"

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Monday, March 05, 2007

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Can't stay glued to your screen ALL the time? Here's a great product that I got hooked up with in the last couple of weeks. The owner, Steve, has been kind enough to offer our folks a big 50% discount on his unique professional service.

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You want examples of the product? Check out the sample links on the AlertsUSA page. To get there, see the banner ad on either our new Preparedness Ning site:

Or the banner on our buyers club site:

In either case, if you choose to take advantage, click on the banner ad, then at the bottom of their page click on the 6-month "order now" link. On the next page, your promotional code to enter is SAFE2007

For that, you get 12 months of coverage, rather than the six months!

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Get Ready, Seriously ...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

BBC "Doomer" Video

A tip of the hat to "Ardent Listener" at for posting this link at the forum. Check out this 1-hour BBC program that portrays five different plausible "end of the world" scenarios:

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Upcoming Moments of Truth Will Make Things Clearer

Occasionally, eventually, we are afforded clear recognition of the truth of a matter if we are patient enough.

But first we have to get through the garbage. The higher level of attention an issue is given today, the more it is obscured in smoke, spin, and political gobbledygook. Everyone has an angle, interest, or ulterior motive, and even reporters and commentators don't pretend objectivity anymore. We can guess at a matter's root causes and effects, but unless we are willing to personally dig and get our hands dirty, pure truth often escapes unsullied.

Big Picture

I'm talking about the big issues of the day. I mean the BIG issues.

Science and moral dogma regarding such things as abortion and stem cell harvesting are seemingly at odds. But are they? Regardless, we may never see the day those issues are satisfactorily clarified in the public domain.

What about the increasing visibility given to the "debate" on whether the holocaust really happened? As time passes, the intent of some to muddy these waters and attract believers gains momentum.

Motivations behind the war in Iraq define another public-opinion dichotomy. Was it supposed to be about WMDs and the war on terror or is it about oil?

Is the war on terror a righteous pursuit or is the U.S. overreacting and overreaching our moral authority in the world?

Are radical muslims who preach the annihilation of infidels the world over representative of the future of the Muslim faith? If not, where are the silent majority in this?

Are Christians to blame for many of the world's ills? If so, is retribution divine? Or is it about court-ordered reparations?

Does Iran want the bomb to destroy Israel and to destabilize the West? Whether or not they do, does the West have the moral and legal right to try to pre-empt that risk?

Can we find someone to take the blame for global warming and to thus pay the bills for trying to fix it? Or is it all a naturally occurring phenomenon?

Will mega-hurricanes become commonplace? Or will storms remain unpredictably dangerous as they always have been?

Are illegal immigrants the death of America or are they sustaining us?

Is communism a threat or a boon to our future?

Are China and Russia ultimately friends or foes to America?

The list could go on forever. Hey ... that's what sells newspapers and keeps advertisers' dollars rolling into the multitude of media outlets.

Sometimes Truth Emerges and Resolves All

When does an issue stop becoming an issue? When it somehow overcomes the surrounding alliances of self-interest and becomes self-evident ... when the truth of a matter becomes apparent to most everyone who is paying attention.

A few of those moments of truth are going to be occurring in the near future.

1. As a matter of fact, today, we may be experiencing one, IF the North Korean nuclear disarmament agreement proves to be the real thing. Suddenly, or gradually, as the case may be, we could see this threat removed from the global gameboard of fear.

2. Yesterday, there was a report that an internal EU memo concludes it is now too late to stop Iran from going nuclear. That is not to say that the crisis is averted or can be ignored. This issue will find resolution soon, one way or the other. Iran may yet follow North Korea's lead ... or it could all become a focal point of a large scale military conflict. We will likely find out by the end of the year.

3. The civil war taking place in Iraq between Muslim factions and promulgated by terrorists there will either be doused by the reinforced US forces, or it will become evident that we must abandon the country to its fate.

4. In the maybe-soon category, H5N1 may be showing itself for the danger or the dud that it really is. Give it another year, but if it remains a rarely human-infectious virus, the world should be largely prepared at that point for the worst it may yet dish out.

5. Also maybe soon, there will come a conjunction of events and realizations ... that will cause a large segment of the general population to embrace preparedness as an important, proactive measure in the face of risks that will become more up-close and personal. How this comes about exactly is truly a matter of conjecture, but there are so many risk factors that are simultaneously being elevated now that chances are growing we will be seeing at least one major event that will provide a stimulus for significant public reaction. Authorities will of course try to manipulate and spin the situation to try to manage public reaction, "for our own good." But many will see the truth of the matter and will respond en masse. For the record, that will NOT be the time to be prepping. Prepping is about being ahead of the curve.

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Got masks?

Many thanks to Michael C. for forwarding this article below on to me.

In the U.K., where the Bird Flu has suddenly appeared, N95 masks are at a premium.

Last week, I received an inquiry from Singapore on 1000 cases of 3M N95 masks.

I mention this as fair warning, folks ... if you plan to be acquiring protective masks in the near future, wait no longer. Although there is not a shortage of masks in the U.S. at the moment, that could change in a heartbeat. This is what preparedness is about--being a bit ahead of the curve.

February 04, 2007
NHS staff face year-long wait for safety masks
David Cracknell Political Editor

MINISTERS are considering stockpiling face masks for NHS staff, carers and even the general public to protect them in the event of bird flu mutating into a form that spreads to humans.
Anyone caring for the elderly, people infected with the disease or showing symptoms would be supplied with the disposable masks first.

But, according to minutes from the latest planning meeting, it is “unlikely” that ordered stocks will be ready until next year.

The Department of Health may also decide to order enough for the entire population, as the French government has done.

However, the minutes of last month’s meeting record that “the [department] would not be recommending the use of masks by the general public” at present because of the “limited science base” suggesting they will prevent further infection.

At the meeting concern was raised that this decision could provoke a backlash. “[Our communications strategy] will need careful preparation and handling, especially in view of the likelihood of our French neigh-bours wearing protection in public,” the document says.

It adds: “Abroad, it is France who has adopted a policy the most radically different. By the middle of 2007 the French will have stockpiled surgical masks to provide for their symptomatic and well general population during a pandemic.”

The latest plans come after the government has already drawn up an extensive strategy to cope with a major outbreak of bird flu, including burying the dead in “plague pits” and widespread closure of schools.

A confidential Home Office report has acknowledged that families may have to wait for four months to bury their dead. The paper said it was “prudent” to predict that as many as 320,000 people could die from the H5N1 strain of the virus if it mutates to humans.


Get Ready, Seriously ...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

"World Braced for Huge Surge in Bird Flu Cases"

Wow. It doesn't take much to start drumming up alarmist reports out there about bird flu now, does it? The red flag in this case is that H5N1 has appeared in the British Isles for the first time--on a turkey farm.

Of course, I have to imagine it will be the same in U.S. newspapers when H5N1 lands on our shores.

This article from the Guardian Unlimited in the U.K. is certainly worth reading, if for no other reason than to realize that we're actually likely approaching another huge surge in preparedness activity. A few more scary headlines like this will likely mean a few shortages and backlog issues on some items for all of us.,,2005605,00.html

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

U.S Issues Guidelines in Case of Flu Pandemic

Important to know and to prepare for ...

US Issues Guidelines in Case of Flu Pandemic


ATLANTA, Feb. 1 — Cities should close schools for up to three months in the event of a severe flu outbreak, ball games and movies should be canceled and working hours staggered so subways and buses are less crowded, the federal government advised today in issuing new pandemic flu guidelines to states and cities.

Health officials acknowledged that such measures would hugely disrupt public life, but they argued that these measure would buy the time needed to produce vaccines and would save lives because flu viruses attack in waves lasting about two months.

“We have to be prepared for a Category 5 pandemic,” said Dr. Martin Cetron, director of global migration and quarantine for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in releasing the guidelines. “It’s not easy. The only thing that’s harder is facing the consequences. That will be intolerable.”

In an innovation, the new guidelines are modeled on the five levels of hurricanes, but ranked by lethality instead of wind speed. Category 1, which assumes 90,000 Americans would die, is equivalent to a bad year for seasonal flu, Glen Nowak, a C.D.C. spokesman, said. (About 36,000 Americans die of flu in an average year.) Category 5, which assumes 1.8 million dead, is the equivalent of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. (That flu killed about 2 percent of those infected; the H5N1 flu now circulating in Asia has killed more than 50 percent but is not easily transmitted.)

The new guidelines also advocate having sick people and all their families even apparently healthy members stay home for 7 to 10 days.

They advise against closing state borders or airports because crucial deliveries, including food, would stop. They did not offer guidance on wearing masks, but Dr. Cetron said the C.D.C. would issue advice on this soon.

The guidelines are only advisory, since authority for measures like closing schools rests with state and city officials; but many local officials had asked for guidance, Dr. Cetron said.
The federal government has taken primary responsibility for developing and stockpiling vaccines and antiviral drugs, as well as masks and some other supplies.

Today’s guidelines are partly based on a recent study of how 44 cities fared in the 1918 epidemic conducted jointly by the C.D.C. and the University of Michigan’s medical school. Historians and epidemiologists pored over hospital records and newspaper clippings, trying to determine what factors partly spared some cities and doomed others.

While a few tiny towns escaped the epidemic entirely by cutting off all contact with outside, most cities took less drastic measures. These included isolating the sick and quarantining homes and rooming houses, closing schools, churches, bars and other gathering places, canceling parades, ball games, theaters and other public events, staggering factory hours, barring door-to-door sales, discouraging the use of public transport and encouraging the use of face masks.

The most effective measure seemed to be moving early and quickly. For example, said Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian and one of the study’s leaders, Philadelphia, the worst-hit city, had nearly three times as many sick and dead per capita as St. Louis, which had was hit weeks later by the virus moving inland from the Eastern Seaboard and had time to react as soon as flu cases rose above averages.

“No matter how you set up the model,” Dr. Markel said, “the cities that acted earlier and with more layered protective measures fared better.”

Any pandemic is expected to move faster than a new vaccine can be produced; current experimental vaccines against H5N1 avian flu are in short supply and based on strains isolated in 2004 or 2005. Although the government is creating a $4 billion stockpile of the antiviral drug Tamiflu, it is only useful when taken within the first 48 hours, and Tamiflu-resistant flu strains have already been found in Vietnam and Egypt.

“No one’s arguing that by closing all the schools, you’re going to prevent the spread,” Dr. Markel added. “But if you can cut cases by 10 or 20 or 30 percent and it’s your family that’s spared, that’s a big deal.”

School closures can be very controversial, and picking the right moment is hard, because it must be done before cases soar.

Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, a health policy organization, noted that in poor city neighborhoods, 30 to 60 percent of all children get breakfasts or lunches crucial to their nutrition at school.

“What are you going to do about that?” he asked.

Dr. Markel said it might be possible to keep the cafeterias open and transport food to points where parents could pick it up, a move that would also keep cafeteria workers and bus drivers employed.

Several public health experts praised the C.D.C. guidelines, although there were some quibbles with aspects of them.

Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said he saw no point in fretting over exactly when to close schools, because his experience in meningitis outbreaks convinced him that terrified parents would keep their children at home anyway.

“I don’t think we’ll have to pull that trigger,” he said. “The hard part is going to be unpulling it. How do the principals know when schools should open again?”

Other experts pointed out that children out of school often behave in ways that are nearly as contagious. Youngsters are sent to day care centers, and teenagers gather in malls or at each others’ houses.

“We’ll be facing the same problem, but without the teaching,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “They might as well be in class.”

Also, he noted, many employed people cannot afford to stay at home and the financial stress from not working could increase domestic violence. And he said most states and cities lacked the money to carry out the suggested guidelines or to stage drills of them.

Dr. Cetron argued that caring for children in groups of six or fewer cut transmission risks. He also argued that parents would keep many children from gathering.

“My kids aren’t going to be going to the mall,” he said.

The historian John Barry, author of “The Great Influenza,” a history of the 1918 flu, questioned an idea underpinning the study’s conclusions. There is evidence, he said, that some cities with low sickness and death rates in 1918, including St. Louis and Cincinnati, were hit by a milder spring wave of the virus. That would have, in effect, inoculated their citizens against the more severe fall wave and might have been more important than their public health measures.

The guidelines did not suggest using the military to enforce quarantines, as President Bush said he might do when he first mentioned avian flu in 2005.

Dr. Levi said that using the National Guard to set up temporary clinics or move pharmaceutical supplies might make sense.

“But they’re not there,” he said. “The people who know how to run field hospitals are in Iraq.”

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Newt Notes Looming Doom

Last year, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was on prime time television with an hour-long program bringing the danger of the bird flu into the hearts and minds of America. His program probably did help reach a good many folks and raise awareness of the still lingering naturally occurring biological threat.

Now, Newt has another cause to embrace and to impart to the unwary ... nuclear holocaust.

You have GOT to read this story on an Israeli site, "Israel Faces Nuclear Holocaust Warns Gingrich." It's not only Israel that is staring down the barrel of the gun, says Newt, but America as well.

"Israel is in the greatest danger it has been in since 1967. Prior to '67, many wondered if Israel would survive. After '67, Israel seemed military dominant, despite the '73 war. I would say we are (now) back to question of survival," Gingrich said.

He added that the United States could "lose two or three cities to nuclear weapons, or more than a million to biological weapons."

Gingrich added that in such a scenario, "freedom as we know it will disappear, and we will become a much grimmer, much more militarized, dictatorial society."

"Three nuclear weapons are a second Holocaust," Gingrich declared, adding: "People are greatly underestimating how dangerous the world is becoming. I'll repeat it, three nuclear weapons are a second Holocaust. Our enemies are quite explicit in their desire to destroy us. They say it publicly? We are sleepwalking through this process as though it's only a problem of communication," Gingrich said.

The article also quotes Newt this way:

"We don't have right language, goals, structure, or operating speed, to defeat our enemies. My hope is that being this candid and direct, I could open a dialogue that will force people to come to grips with how serious this is, how real it is, how much we are threatened. If that fails, at least we will be intellectually prepared for the correct results once we have lost one or more cities," Gingrich added.

He also said "citizens who do not wake up every morning and think about the possible catastrophic civilian casualties are deluding themselves."

Well that's a fine how-do-you-do, isn't it?

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Don't Look Now, But H5N1 May Be Sneaking Up on Us

Of late, most of us have chosen to relegate the Bird Flu Pandemic threat to the bottom of the heap. If you think about it, this common reaction is a reminder of how delicate a job it is, if the media was to actually be doing a public service, walking the fine line--increasing awareness and avoiding the over-hype of potential imminent risks.

The fact is, the bird flu is creeping back into the picture, if you are paying attention. In Vietnam and Egypt in particular, there are current spikes in human fatalities. No, nothing to get too excited about here in America yet, but the point is, we cannot put this boogeyman to bed anytime soon.

This report should make you go "hmmm ..."

Human H5N1 Virus Replikin Count Overtakes That In H5N1 "Bird Flu"
Article Date: 02 January 2007

A common question asked at current scientific conferences is: "Where did bird flu go?"

The recent decrease in reported H5N1 human cases and bird outbreaks might indicate that the virus has become dormant. However, quantitative analysis by Replikins, Ltd. released yesterday of human H5N1 virus sequences in 2006 has found that the Replikin Count(TM) has significantly increased beyond all annual previous levels reported in chickens and humans. The Replikin Count(TM) determined by virus protein software analysis, provides an index of the capacity for virus rapid replication. The Replikin Count(TM) is defined as the number of replikin peptide sequences per 100 amino acids of virus protein, that is concentration, and is independent of the number of specimens examined.

Rather than declining, the Replikin Count(TM) in humans in 2006 has risen 35% over that in 2005, and outstripped the Count in all reported chicken H5N1 virus specimens, both with reference to the mean and the range, of the peptides in all human H5N1 virus specimens reported by the National Library of Medicine.

With the rise in Replikin Count(TM) in human H5N1, (3.7(+/-4.1) in 2005 to 5.0(+/-5.9) in 2006, p<0.001), the human Count exceeds that for H5N1 in chickens, which after rising from 2003, has been constant (3.2(+/-2.8) in 2005, and 3.2(+/-3.1) in 2006. The Replikin Count(TM) in H5N1 is now seen to have risen steadily, by a factor of 3.9 from the 1998 Replikin Count(TM) of 1.3(+/-0.4) in chickens to the Replikin Count(TM) in humans in 2006 of 5.0(+/- 5.9) (p<0.001). The Replikin Count in the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic was 7.0. The mortality rate in human H5N1 cases has also increased 2.3 times, from 26 percent in 1997-98 to approximately 60 percent in 2006.

The increase in Replikin Count(TM) could have provided early warning of the last three H5N1 bird outbreaks (2001-2006). It was also found to precede or was an early association of the three influenza human pandemics - 1918 (H1N1), 1957 (H2N2) and 1968 (H3N2), and the H5N1 outbreak in Hong Kong (1997) (see for detailed data).

In contrast to H5N1, Replikin Count(TM) analyses of H3N2 influenza virus (the cause of the pandemic of 1968) has decreased (2.7(+/-0.6) in 2005 to 0.8(+/-1) in 2006, p<0.001). Such decreases have been associated with periods of relative viral quiescence.

"This rise in human H5N1 Replikin Count(TM) suggests that the replication rate of this virus in humans continues to increase. Humans may be becoming a preferred host for H5N1," according to Dr. Sam Bogoch, Chairman of Replikins, Ltd.

"The Replikin Count(TM) is specific to the virus strain, the host species, and the region, and can be used to indicate the threat level of a particular virus. We know of no other quantitative measures of particular peptide sequences of virus proteins, or of any other chemical constituent, which have this correlative and predictive value," he said.

In addition to FluForecast(R), Replikins, Ltd. has enlisted an international "Replikins Group" of several universities and research institutions to test the effect of its potential synthetic replikins vaccines and other products against these new targets related to rapid replication in H5N1 and other virus disorders.

Replikins, Ltd.

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 ...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

How to Protect Yourself from Bird Flu, from the Harvard Health Letter

Very much worth considering:

How to Protect Yourself from Bird Flu, from the Harvard Health Letter
Tuesday May 23, 5:20 am ET

BOSTON, May 23 /PRNewswire/ -- News media are full of scary headlines about the H5N1 bird flu virus and the possibility that it might spread among the human population. Yet researchers note that no human flu pandemic has ever involved a flu virus of the H5 subtype. On the other hand, the H5N1 virus has already jumped from birds to pigs and cats, as well as infecting some people, suggesting it might have the capacity to develop into a flu that passes directly from one human to another. So should we be afraid -- or cynical?

Neither, says the June issue of the Harvard Health Letter. No one knows for sure if H5N1 is going to explode or fizzle, or whether a different flu virus with greater pandemic potential might be out there.

Whether the H5N1 virus will "make the jump" and spread among humans is uncertain, but here are some tips you can take now to protect yourself just in case:

  • Get a regular flu shot this fall. It won't protect you from bird flu,
    but it will reduce your risk of getting regular flu and bird flu at the
    same time.
  • Don't count on antiviral medications. Some experts say there is "no
    credible evidence" that these drugs help against bird flu, and their
    use may create resistant strains.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Stay away from birds and their droppings.
  • Stock up on water and nonperishable groceries.

Source: Harvard Health Publications

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Bird flu fears hike survival gear demand

This article is right on the mark reflecting the situation for those of us in the preparedness business. What it doesn't mention is that only about 10% of the U.S. population who are familiar with the Avian Flu have done anything in the way of preparing for a pandemic to this point (see poll results). Even that 10% has swamped our little industry. Consider what will happen when a significant portion of the rest are prompted to suddenly do something.

Bird flu fears hike survival gear demand
Associated Press

HEBER CITY, Utah - Harry R. Weyandt worries about a deadly flu pandemic reaching the United States for a different reason from most people: It would overwhelm his business.
Nice on the bottom line. Murder on the nerves.

There's no pandemic yet, and bird flu hasn't shown up in North America. But the staff at Weyandt's disaster preparedness store is already scrambling to keep up with demand for everything from freeze-dried foods to first-aid kits.

"What I'm not looking forward to is when they announce the first bird with avian flu is in the country," said Weyandt, owner of Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center Inc. in Heber City, about 35 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. "Because I know what will happen. It'll be crazy here."

Sales of emergency supplies are booming amid growing fears of a virulent global flu. Across the country, suppliers say they're already struggling to keep stock on hand, and it's taking longer to fill orders.

Phyllis Hopkins of Best Prices Storable Foods in Quinlan, Texas, said the business barely had a breather between the Gulf Coast hurricanes last year and bird flu warnings that intensified over the winter.

"We can't keep product in stock," said Hopkins, who runs the business with her husband, Bruce Hopkins. "As soon as it comes in, it goes right off the shelf."

Pandemic panic buying means heady times for such businesses, which are typically family owned and have no more than a handful of employees.

Weyandt said Nitro-Pak's March sales this year were up 600 percent from last year. He wouldn't reveal the company's finances, but said total sales last year were in the "mid-seven figures."

Nitro-Pak's storefront warehouse looks like a cross between a Costco for survivalists and the post office before the Christmas holiday rush. Cardboard crates stacked floor-to-ceiling spill over with long-burning emergency candles, mini-rolls of toilet paper, waterproof matches and freeze-dried foods ranging from eggs with bacon to blueberry cheesecake.

Scurrying between boxes, workers race to fill orders and load them onto heavy pallets that ship out every afternoon.

Even Weyandt's office, a sparsely furnished affair not much bigger than a typical master bedroom, has desks overflowing with backpacks, compasses and space blankets.

A strain of bird flu known as H5N1 has killed millions of chickens and more than 100 people worldwide since 2003, mostly in Asia. While the deaths are blamed on close contact with sick poultry, experts are afraid the virus could mutate to spread easily among people.

If it arrives in North America, even businesses that stand to make a fortune say they're not prepared.

"This industry is so teeny, that if something happens to get everybody in a panic, it can't handle it," said Richard Mankamyer, owner of The Survival Center in McKenna, Wash.
In recent months, federal and state officials have been urging Americans to stock up on emergency supplies.

At Oregon Freeze Dry in Albany, Ore., orders for its No. 10-size cans, which hold eight to 17 servings of food each, have jumped tenfold since the Gulf Coast hurricanes last year, said Melanie Cornutt, assistant manager. The company's Mountain House division is well-known for its line of backpacking foods.

"We've gone through these spikes for 35 years now, but we don't try to keep a huge amount of inventory on hand because it's so hard to predict when the next one will hit," Cornutt said.
In a worst-case scenario, federal officials say a pandemic flu might kill up to 2 million Americans and keep up to 40 percent of the work force at home for several weeks.

(for more, see the link)

Get Ready, Seriously ...

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Influenza Pandemic Simulation - MUST READ

This well-done pandemic simulation and resulting report by Booz Allen Hamilton is a must-read for anyone keeping an eye on the threat for a pandemic on the horizon.

It's easy reading and there are many worthwhile, thought-provoking points to take in.

One such point to ponder ... "ALL SYSTEMS will fail by day 28." We're not talking one company or one industry or one sector's systems--but rather all global systems--infrastructure, utilities, corporate, emergency response, communications, governmental, etc.

Get Ready, Seriously ...