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

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our Complacent Comfort Zone

Americans are once again settling back into that well-insulated nest of self-awareness we are so renowned for.

It's been "forever" since we've been effectively attacked on our own soil, and since our military forces have taken the fight to the aggressors' stomping grounds, it seems we no longer have anything to fear back in the good old USA.

Well, maybe other than just an occasional dose of mother nature ...

Yes, we're back into hurricane season, but Katrina last year wasn't so bad, was it?

We all saw the recent reports suggesting Southern California's San Andreas fault may be in position now for a cataclysmic snap-back that would dwarf other modern era quakes. But that's been looming over SoCal heads for so long now, it's mostly urban legend, isn't it? Just more of the same blah-blah-blah.

Oh, and we can't deny there's that rather ominous background buzz about a potential flu pandemic that could kill off more people around the world in a year or two than all history's wars combined. But other than that ...

Heck, one thing we've got under control is the economy. It's down to a science for those Greenspan/Bernanke types, so THAT variable of uncertainty is passe ... even though admittedly, more and more economists are alarmed about key indicators that suggest a major correction is around the corner if not a global economic collapse. Bottom line is, U.S. stock markets still offer rosy opportunities for short-term investment gains, so things can't be too bad out there, right?

There IS some interesting public discourse out there about illegal immigration, peak oil, Iranian and North Korean nuclear weaponry, and the like these days, and the subsequent seasonal political posturing taking place that makes for compelling election campaigning. So along with our ever-more finely tuned/chemically engineered athletic-cycle productions coming to us in High Definition and Surround Sound to keep us mildly entertained, America is back to normal.

Comfortably Numb

America's security blanket is of course woven from the finest pure fibers spun in our media industries.

Knowledge and information ... or manufactured ambivalence and disinformation ... in this age of competitive abundance of versions of the truth, it leaves all of us at some point wiping the spittle from our chins after periodically coming-to, when the microwave timer reminds us that we can always ingest a little more convenience and satisfaction.

The fact of the matter is, throughout our nation's history, our people have always shown that we do not have the stomach for major, long-term initiatives that require ongoing sacrifice. Yes, we certainly do step up to the plate and we'll get inspired to kick some butt when required, but after a few years of putting off our collective tendency toward complete self-indulgence, we lose interest ... and by golly, that time has come again, hasn't it?

That, more than anything else these days, does have me wondering what is in the wind. The smoke and alarming scents that were recently so easy to discern seem to have become nothing more than the environmental norm.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.net

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kim Jong-il Needs Attention from Time to Time

So once again, it seems for the moment, North Korea has taken center position on the global threat matrix.

A couple of excerpts from worthwhile BBC informational pieces follow (recommend reading them in full) ...


Tracking N Korea's missile intent
by Rob Watson Defence and security correspondent, BBC News

Like most things about North Korea, little is known for certain about the Taepodong 2 missile.
But there is no doubt North Korea does have a very long standing and pretty sophisticated missile programme.

In 1998, before it began observing a moratorium on tests, North Korea launched a Taepodong 1 missile which passed over northern Japan and surprised Western intelligence agencies by the use of three stages in the missile's propulsion system.


What is striking about the Taepodong 2 is that it could well be North Korea's first genuine intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) - a missile with a range of more than 5,500km (3,400 miles).

Just how far it might be able to travel and with what weight and type of warhead and level of accuracy is uncertain. But it has been suggested it could have a range up to 15,000km.

That would put Alaska or Hawaii within its reach and even the continental US if a lighter warhead were used.

(More ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5103394.stm )


Profile: Kim Jong-il

The little that is known about Kim Jong-il, North Korea's leader, conjures up a caricature of a diminutive playboy, a comic picture at odds with his brutal regime.

Diplomats and escaped dissidents talk of a vain, paranoid, cognac-guzzling hypochondriac.

He is said to wear platform shoes and favour a bouffant hairstyle in order to appear taller than his 5 feet 3 inches.
But analysts are undecided whether his eccentricities mask the cunning mind of a master manipulator or betray an irrational madman.

I know I'm an object of criticism in the world, but if I am being talked about, I must be doing the right things
Kim Jong-il Mr Kim may well encourage the myth-making surrounding him precisely in order to keep the Western world guessing. North Korea has little to bargain with, and ignorance breeds fear.

Film buff

The analysis of him as a mercurial fantasist is certainly beguiling.

He is said to have a library of 20,000 Hollywood movies and to have even written a book on the cinema. He even went so far as to engineer the kidnapping, in 1978, of a South Korean film director and his girlfriend.
This taste for the exotic apparently extends to gastronomy.

Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian emissary who travelled with Mr Kim by train across Russia in reported that the North Korean leader had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day which he ate with silver chopsticks.
The two men shared champagne with a bevy of female companions of "utmost beauty and intelligence", according to Mr Pulikovsky.

Mr Kim also has a reputation as a drinker. He was seen draining 10 glasses of wine during his 2000 summit with the South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and is known to have a taste for Hennessy VSOP cognac.

Strategist

As head of North Korea's special forces for much of the 70s and 80s, he has been linked by defectors to international terrorist activities, including the 1986 bombing of a Korean Airlines jet in which 115 people died.

(More ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1907197.stm )



Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Calm Before the Storm

The year's first hurricanes are doubtlessly germinating in the tropics at this point ... perhaps as yet little more than a breathy wisp off the edge of the proverbial butterfly's wing.

But have no doubt, the bell has sounded and the folks on the Gulf Coast and on the Atlantic seaboard have to be alert for the next killer storm warnings, wherever they may need to be issued.

You Know the Drill

The household storm-preparation drill remains the same, but the big-picture stakes continue to increase every year.

Unabated urban development inflates the potential for disaster all up and down the coasts. It also clogs escape paths for residents if they need to take flight. Meanwhile, insurance companies continue to amend their homeowners policies to minimize company potential for catastrophic loss ... and to of course increase the exposure of their policyholders to disaster.

There are many things beyond one's control in this situation. We can bemoan the fates of nature; the moves of city planners, government regulators and emergency management bureaucracies; and the ethics and motivations of corporate insurers. But it does still all come down to what is it YOU are doing to optimize your household's position in the struggle to overcome.

Your Options

Moving away from the danger is out of the question for most.

Building hurricane-proof homes and/or shelters are also unrealistic for most.

What does that leave? A need for a well-thought-out plan of action, that's what. Have on hand plenty of provisions that are portable and ready to move inland. By now, you should know well what you ought to be ready to take with you--the media has done a fine job of educating us on how to bug-out effectively. The key is, are you actually ready to throw it all in the car and move quickly? Yes, quickly--if at all possible, you want to be ahead of the surge--the flood of evacuees.

Initially, many will linger to see if indeed the hurricane track will change or if the storm will be downgraded. Others will simply wrestle with the decision to leave their homes till it is almost too late.

If you are ahead of the curve, you know what you will do to board-up, having the materials already on hand. You know what you will take with you, where you are going to go, and what routes are possible. And most importantly, you will have made up your mind to be decisive and not second-guess yourself if you want to avoid the gridlock and emergency-shelter shortage you will encounter with any delay in your reactions.

Take Advantage of the Opportunity

Now, before the storm appears on your horizon, is the time to do the prep work and to think it all through logically, calmly. Being prepared leaves you only that final decision to take action ... potentially life-saving action.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Montague Paratrooper Folding Bike


I just listed the ultimate prepper bike in my store--the Montague Paratrooper--developed in conjunction with DARPA for the military, and only recently made available in the civilian marketplace.

The bike comes in either an 18 inch or 20 inch frame. The one you want is based on your height--see the bottom of the listing. I could go on and on about this bike, but I suggest if you are interested, you have a look at the listing and do more research. This bike was designed and built to be dropped out of airplanes on a man's back, to be unfolded and to be ridden away in 30 seconds. Yep--tough and lite!

See my listing: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7246333712&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1

Needless to say, a very nice preparedness / "bug-out" option to have.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Scaring Up Preparedness

A good article here. Interesting to me that those finally embracing readiness in the last year have totally swamped existing preparedness supply lines ... and yet so very many more need to still wake up. The guy whose response was that he'll wait to get whatever he needs till the storm is on the horizon is typical. Most folks don't understand about our "Just in Time" supply-line limitations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/31/us/31prepare.html?ei=5090&en=467e4e2eb6fdbce3&ex=1306728000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

May 31, 2006
As Hurricane Season Looms, States Aim to Scare
By ABBY GOODNOUGH

MIAMI, May 30 — Convinced that tough tactics are needed, officials in hurricane-prone states are trumpeting dire warnings about the storm season that starts on Thursday, preaching self-reliance and prodding the public to prepare early and well.

Cities are circulating storm-preparation checklists, counties are holding hurricane expositions at shopping malls and states are dangling carrots like free home inspections and tax-free storm supplies in hopes of conquering complacency.

But the main strategy, it seems, is to scare the multitudes of people who emergency officials say remain blasé even after last year's record-breaking storm season.

To persuade residents to heed evacuation orders, the Florida Division of Emergency Management is broadcasting public service announcements with recordings of 911 calls placed during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

"The roof has completely caved in on us," a woman cries as chilling music swells, only to be told that rescuers cannot come out during the storm.

Speaking of the tactics, Craig Fugate, Florida's emergency management director, said last week at a news conference in Tallahassee, "We're going to use a sledgehammer."

This save-yourselves approach comes after government agencies were overwhelmed by pleas for help after last year's storms and strongly criticized as not responding swiftly or thoroughly enough to the public need. Now, officials have said repeatedly, only the elderly, the poor and the disabled should count on the government to help them escape a hurricane or endure its immediate aftermath.

Mississippi, where more than 200 residents died in Hurricane Katrina, unrolled a "Stay Alert. Stay Alive" hurricane awareness campaign in April. State officials told residents what to pack in a "go-kit" for evacuating (flashlight, radio, nonelectric can opener) and, like many others, commanded them to stockpile at least three days' worth of water and food.

Horry County, S.C., home to Myrtle Beach, held a hurricane exposition last month and is giving similar presentations at Kiwanis clubs and homeowners associations.

"The big shortfall is complacency with the community," said Randall Webster, director of Horry County Emergency Management. "Our main theme is, take interest as an individual and make preparations."

But will it work? Emergency management officials groaned this month at a poll by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., which found that of 1,100 adults along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, 83 percent had taken no steps to fortify their homes this year, 68 percent had no hurricane survival kits and 60 percent had no family disaster plan.

"I can't rightfully say I see any increased sense of people getting ready," said Larry Gispert, emergency management director in Hillsborough County, Fla., home to Tampa. "It's like a psychological issue — 'If I don't think about bad things, bad things won't happen.' "

In Nags Head, N.C., Jimmy Austin, a former commercial fisherman who now operates his own seafood market, said he was unfazed by this year's predictions, some of which suggest that the Carolinas will be especially hard hit. He keeps his insurance current, Mr. Austin said, but sees no need for special precautions.

"I don't pay these things a whole lot of mind," said Mr. Austin, 69, a native of the Outer Banks. "Because they say so doesn't mean it's going to happen that way."

In Galveston, Tex., Keith Patterson, a resident there for 30 years, dismissed the urgency of a hurricane survival kit on Thursday. No use worrying about a hurricane until it is near, he said.
"When one is coming, I'll make preparations," said Mr. Patterson, 68, a retired purchasing clerk. "I'll get what I have to get then."

In Florida, the second annual tax holiday on hurricane supplies, from May 21 through June 1, has not drawn an overwhelming response, several store representatives said. But at least one store, the Lowe's in South Fort Myers, was selling more generators than barbecue grills last week, said John Sandford, operations manager there.

At a Home Depot, Brenda and Jerry Dyche of South Fort Myers were shopping for a generator last Wednesday. With that and a new roof, they said, they had no reason to flee.

"We'd just as soon be in our house," Mr. Dyche said. "Where are we going to go? I-75 is a parking lot by the time they evacuate everybody."

Likewise, Ronda Burke, who did not go inland last year to avoid Hurricane Rita but stayed on South Padre Island, Tex., to watch over her new health food cafe, Naturally's, said she would probably do the same this year if necessary.

"We feel about our store like you feel about a person," said Ms. Burke, whose husband took their two young children to higher ground as Hurricane Rita neared the Texas coast (and eventually came ashore far from South Padre Island). "We'd probably ride it out again."

Meanwhile, government agencies are preparing more thoroughly than ever, stockpiling water and food, improving communication technology and outfitting supply trucks with global positioning systems.

Hattiesburg, Miss., is buying $4 million worth of generators for its public buildings and water system. Broward County, Fla., bought a $500,000 command post vehicle to shuttle emergency managers among crisis spots. Many areas will offer more hurricane shelters this year, though officials like Herminio Lorenzo, the Miami-Dade County fire chief, are portraying them bleakly to encourage people to make their own plans.

"The very last place you would want to go is a Red Cross shelter," Mr. Lorenzo said last week at a community hurricane preparation meeting. "You're so close to the people sleeping next to you that you can feel the hair of their mustache on the side of your head."

Some communities are coaxing the public to prepare in a piecemeal way, like saving old milk jugs as emergency water containers and buying one extra can of food on every grocery trip. Escambia County, Fla., is publishing weekly shopping lists to try to get residents to stock up little by little. Martiza Vazquez of Miami said that approach had made preparing more manageable.

"Every time I go to the supermarket I buy four or five cans of tuna or soup or whatever," Ms. Vazquez, 37, said. "I have a checklist that came with the paper the other day, and I am using that to figure out how much is enough."

Waiting for a taxi to take her to her job at McDonald's, Chanavia Williams of Galveston, who makes $5.75 an hour, laughed at the notion of buying provisions to sock away.

"We got food, but I got none saved," said Ms. Williams, 17, the single parent of a 2-year-old, who lives in public housing.

Ms. Williams said she would have to sacrifice buying diapers and baby clothes to afford a hurricane survival kit.

Still, Ms. Williams, who evacuated on a bus as Hurricane Rita neared, said she wanted to prepare, echoing others who had frightening experiences last year. Wayne P. Sallade, emergency management director in Charlotte County, Fla., which was devastated by Hurricane Charley in 2004, said the Mason-Dixon poll numbers on hurricane preparation were skewed by people in states that had not had hurricanes recently.

"You talk to people in cities here, and there's an absolute fever for information," Mr. Sallade said.

That is also true in New Orleans and along the Mississippi coast, where post-Hurricane Katrina anxiety has compelled many to prepare diligently this year.

But in Houston, Joe Laud, spokesman for the city's emergency center, said only 1,000 people with special needs had registered for public transportation to pick them up in an evacuation. During Hurricane Rita, Mr. Laud said, 25,000 such residents needed help evacuating.
Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, at his annual hurricane conference this month in Fort Lauderdale, sourly recalled the chaos after Hurricane Wilma last year, where throngs of residents lined up for free emergency supplies that quickly ran out.

"It makes it a lot harder when people line up in their Lexuses or Mercedeses to get ice and water at a public distribution site when the Publix is open a block away," Mr. Bush said.
As his audience of emergency workers applauded, he added, "I don't know about you, but it sure made me feel better to get that off my chest."

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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

Very much worth considering:

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060523/netufns1.html?.v=12

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 ... www.safecastle.com

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Resolve to Repel Radical Islam

The recent letter to President Bush by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems to have been largely ignored in the West as being irrelevant bloviation and just all-too typical denunciation of the ways of the west.

However, there are some who view it as being a rather formal religious pronouncement or even a pseudo-diplomatic declaration of war on the United States. Whatever its purpose, it does paint an expansive picture of the intent of the Iranian regime, as it positions itself to inspire and drive the global jihad beyond the level of Bin Laden-esque hit-and-run operations.

The article linked below is a thoughtful look at what may be transpiring in the foreign Islamic world. I include here only the concluding passage, but I'd encourage you to read the entire article to be sure you remain adequately aware and prepared for the growing risk of large-scale warfare waged across lines of religious ideology. (Note that the author's reference to "liberal democrats" encompasses the entire traditional political spectrum of the west.)

Reading Ahmadinejad in Washington
The Iranian president's letter needs to be taken seriously.
by Hillel Fradkin 05/29/2006, Volume 011, Issue 35
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/246utlpf.asp?pg=1

... what is known, or what should be known and deeply grasped, is that everything Ahmadinejad--and for that matter the radical movement as a whole--does is guided by an ideological vision and commitment. It needs to be addressed as such. For the moment and not only for the moment, this requires that liberal democrats declare that they have no intention of abandoning their way of life and see no need to do so, since they are fully prepared to defend it and because that way of life provides the resources--political, economic, and military--to defend itself.

It is necessary to inform Ahmadinejad and his radical allies that they are in for a real fight. This may not suffice to lead them to question their fundamental assumption and inspiration that we are on the run. But it may give pause to the many Muslims and non-Muslims standing on the sidelines, who see radical success and do not see American or Western resolve.

Of course the best person to make the first such declaration is President Bush--not as a Christian but as the world's leading liberal democrat. And not to Ahmadinejad, for whom a direct reply would be a victory, but to the Iranian people, the Muslim world, and the non-Muslim world.

Hillel Fradkin is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and coeditor of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What is it that Worries Us Today?

The 21st century is turning out to be the age of panic and anxiety ...

... or at least a time when we're bombarded with unprecedented reinforcement from the media that we OUGHT to be worried about something, by golly.

Every week there's something new to absorb through our outer calm. Sometimes, there are DAILY developments that need to be swallowed and digested. Eventually we get our fill.

Top 10 "Final Tomorrows"

Let's see ... in the last month or so, I've been told by customers that THIS is it ... the time and issue that is undoubtedly about to be our undoing ("... and so please be sure to send that order asap, 'cause I want to be sure to take delivery before TSHTF") --

1. The impending attack of Iran by the U.S. and Israel, using nuclear weapons, which will surely bring about a global apocalypse.

2. The impending attack by Iran on the U.S. and Israel, using nuclear weapons, which will surely bring about a global apocalypse.

3. The Bird Flu is about to start (or already has started) going head-to-head in the beginning of a human pandemic that will surely bring about a global apocalypse.

4. The Bird Flu is a total fabrication by the media (or by the global elite) designed to bring about a global apocalypse.

5. The U.S. and global economies are about to catastrophically deflate, bringing about a global apocalypse.

6. Numerous countries around the world are about to stop trading in dollars, a move which will collapse the US economy and end up bringing about a global apocalypse.

7. Certain communist/socialist South American countries are joining together with U.S. enemies elsewhere to counter the power the U.S. wields in the global economy. (Which may or may not create a global apocalypse)

8. The illegal immigrant issue is about to spiral into a divisive civil war in the U.S. that will result in a global apocalypse.

9. Al Qaeda is moving into position to launch a massive, coordinated attack on the U.S. and western interests. The hope is to create the beginning of a global apocalypse and a Muslim paradise.

10. Geez ... I'm at 10 already, and I haven't yet mentioned cometary fragments, warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico before the start of hurricane season, earthquake swarms, floods, droughts, caldara volcanoes, NSA spying on Americans, conspiracy and intrigue reaching across all organizational boundaries, political hunting and driving accidents, etc.

Get Anchored

Here's the real deal. For all the scary headlines and for all the antidepressant medications that are part of our daily life today, a person needs to develop a seriously oily disposition that will allow for all the stuff raining down to roll right off.

How to do that?

1. Connect spiritually with your Creator.

2. Disconnect literally from the media and the internet amateurs who daily are competing for your adrenaline.

3. Enjoy your family, friends, and your everyday life.

4. Nurture a healthy passion that you can feel good about feeding.

5. Allot a small amount of your time and resources to preparing logically for bad times. Do it, then forget it.

THE END (or not)

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ideal Time to Place a Mountain House Order is Right Now

Mountain House's production cycle replenishing their #10 can inventory will be completed in the next week. All backorders will be shipping post haste. For those of you holding your breath waiting for your March order, you should have your food by the end of the month.

For those of you anxious to get into the queue, now is the ideal time to do so. Any orders placed in the next week should deliver in about a month.

FYI, a couple of weeks from now, for all I know the situation could be totally different and there could again be inventory issues cropping up, once the demand surge starts peaking again.

Here are the larger package deals that I am always taking orders on (email me to discuss, if you'd like): http://stores.ebay.com/REFUGE-offered-by-Safecastle-LLC_Mountain-House-Food_W0QQcolZ2QQdirZQ2d1QQfsubZ15QQftidZ2QQtZkm

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

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.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/living/health/14500986.htm

Bird flu fears hike survival gear demand
JIM GRAHAM
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 ... www.safecastle.com

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.

http://www.boozallen.com/media/file/Influenza_Pandemic_Simulation.pdf

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

A Few of My Favorite Prep-Related Sites

For some odd reason, a couple of months ago, the Blogspot template I use (and other Blogspot templates I tried as well) started dropping my left-column info--bio, favorite links, etc.--down to the very bottom of the page if I did anything at all to alter the basic format. So I had to remove all those favorite links to keep that left column floating to the top of the page. Blogspot has been non-responsive in my efforts to get a fix.

Anyway, FYI, here are a few of my current favorites that keep me going back for more:

www.survivalblog.com ... James Wesley Rawles' blossoming compilation of some excellent articles and snippets of survival and preparedness advice.

www.goldismoney.info ... A well-attended forum focused on precious metals, preparedness, and more.

http://www.timebomb2000.com ... A prep-related forum that has been around since before the turn of the century.

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/ ... A very comprehensive forum site with a focus on guns and ammo, but also with an excellent Marketplace section.

www.survivalmonkey.com ... A core group of solid, well-balanced individuals camp-out here, in a growing discussion forum.

http://jrnyquist.com/ ... Jeff Nyquist's scholarly commentary is always thought-provoking.

http://counterterrorismblog.org/ ... Not given over to hyperbole, this site is a gem for prospecting golden nuggets of insight into the counterterror challenges faced around the world.

www.safecastle.com ... I need to plug my own store site when I get the chance, don't I? If I do say so myself, a rather unique blend of product offerings, form the premier line of prefabricated steel storm and fallout shelters to Katadyn water filters, Mountain House freeze dreid emergency food, and on and on.


Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Sunday, April 23, 2006

ATF should be a convenience store, not a government agency





I wish I could sell some of these T-shirts, but the folks who sell them are alright folks who retain all rights to selling them online. Give 'em a look-see if these tickle your fancy as they do mine. There are plenty more than what you see here.

http://www.thoseshirts.com/tshirts.html

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Are You Adapting Well?

Being prepared for a new dynamic most often conjures up images of sudden, catastrophic change. One such nightmare-come-true was when Hurricane Katrina transformed life on the Gulf Coast for hundreds of thousands. Who knows when life will get back to normal there for residents in southernmost Louisiana and Alabama?

Yes, that is a type of scenario most of my customers envision and prepare for. They also talk about impending dangers from global war, WMD terrorism, economic catastrophe, pandemic, and more. The general expectation is a sudden, total dissolution of the world of convenience and safety we are comfortable in today, and they want to be ready for the chaos that will surely ensue.

There are always ominous signs on the horizon of major cataclysms brewing. But few ever come about and when they do, they most often only impact limited populations. Yet, our deeply-rooted Hollywood frame-of-reference keeps many waiting for the apocolyptic hammer to fall in the next scene.

Weathering Carves Canyons, Shapes Mountains

The plain truth is, life is about constant change and adaptation. In our modern world, change can come about in singularly spectacular fashion, though almost always it is actually incrementally and as a result of countless contributing factors.

More often than not, the great life-changing events we ought to be prepared for are recognizable coming around the bend. Yet most people are equipped only to be spectators in the big game and not suited to jump on their horse and ride.

The sharpest prepared individuals anticipate, adapt, reposition continuously, and ultimately thrive in the continuously newer realities being born daily.

Little by little, our lives are being weathered by circumstance. Sometimes, it's a slow drip ... occasionally a series of deluges and gales that recast our perspective.

Survive or Thrive?

There really isn't much difference between those who want to survive and those who are prepared to thrive. The dividing line is attitude.

Few, if any, really embrace change for the sake of change, but when you can accept that it is inevitable and you see it coming, you might as well go with it and make sure you and yours can stay ahead of the pack.

There's not much point in being among the multitude who choose to try to stand fast and grumble and complain about things, when it only serves to delay them from taking action and adapting to the earliest opportunities that are there for those who will seize them. In fact, sooner or later, that tendency will trample most who choose that path.

Put Some Purpose in Your Program

The global dynamic IS changing. There are going to be some heart-rending and painful collisions and upheavals. The world is full of people who like to gripe about new directions, but there are very few who try to do something to make a difference ... in even the smallest, productive way. I'm not talking about changing the course of history ... I mean just taking the rudder of your own boat.

Preparedness in it's most basic manifestation means being adaptable to change--sudden or gradual. Are you adjusting your course in life to ensure you come out ahead, rain or shine?

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mistaken Entitledness is a Core Global Issue

Short and sweet ... we are experiencing a period in history when most people don't feel required to earn their way in life. Instead, they are "entitled" to their place in the sun, whatever they deem that position to be.

It's an attitude that can can be found at the core of much of the unrest across the globe today. It's an attitude fostered by certain religious beliefs, by a few international organizations, and by political groups clearly leaning in one alarming direction.

The ultimate result of promoting entitlement, in whatever flavor a people will buy, is turmoil. Where we as a society are arriving today is at an intersection of animosity, distrust, and fear. People everywhere are being pushed and pulled together in a calamitous chain reaction.

The solutions to our various crises are not topical remedies to be applied like a soothing salve. It will take a major collective mindset change ... and that will not come about easily.

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

Those who embrace a responsible work ethic are always the ones who come out on top, historically, eventually ... individually and culturally.

This is no time to allow yourself to be sucked into the sweeping flow down the chasm, becoming one of the majority who choose to emote and obstruct rather than being among those who are determined to promote and construct.

The principal value that will always be the way to least risk and greatest reward is to do for yourself and to apply yourself according to what you hope to accomplish. Talking about it won't cut it.

If you feel tough times are around the corner, now is the time to prepare. You have to do something about it. No one else will do it for you ... nor should they.


Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gold, Guns, and Grub - the Rebirth of Preparedness

There are a number of possible technical economic explanations for the ongoing surge in precious metal prices, but there's no denying the fact that the prices of gold and silver ARE climbing steadily with worldwide popular demand. And although there are always efforts afoot to whittle away at our right to bear arms, U.S. gun sales continue to cook.

I don't commercially deal in either of those commodities, but I CAN personally testify to the fact that freeze-dried food sales as well as selected other key preparedness product types are similarly enjoying strong, even unprecedented growth across the U.S.

Gold, guns, and grub (that stores for lengthy periods of time) are traditional refuges for the crisis preparedness "investor." As the number of disturbing and disastrous headlines multiply and speculators editorialize about scenarios for the doom of our life of comfort and convenience, more and more people buy into the logic of prepositioning their household, just in case.

And why not? These are unusually practical and low-risk uses for one's discretionary funds. Better to invest in insurance for the future than in transitory entertainment that delivers nothing beyond momentary detachment from reality.

It's a trend still in relatively early stages. The corporate monarchies are yet to recognize the implications, but with a bit more time or a couple more Katrina-like wake-up calls, it's inevitable.

H5N1's potential for worldwide disruptions, far beyond what was ever envisioned for Y2K, does have the attention of the movers and shakers. It's a big impetus for current movement in this market. Are you ahead of the curve?

See: "How the Bird Flu Experts Prepare"

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Prudent Prepare

In the Crisis Preparedness sandbox we play in, most "veterans" come to adapt to the market rhythms that are fairly regular in cadence and which are being pounded out by the media.

From a large media perspective, it's 100% about engaging increasingly jaded and numbed audiences; gaining marketshare; and commanding higher ad revenues. Simplified--sensational angles equate to growing shareholder returns. And fledgling media outlets play the same game, just on a smaller scale.

For vulnerable readers, viewers, and listeners, the incessant news cycles thumping out the thrill or outrage of the hour sometimes means getting hooked to a roller coaster, and eventually yearning to regain some feeling of control over one's course in life.

Emotion Drives Reaction

I wish I had the time and resources to conduct a proper survey of the markets, but without it, I can only guess ... so I will ... I'd wager that half the folks who come into crisis preparedness, do so out of an emotional reaction to some news story or stories that are eliciting a sense of helplessness.

Suspicion, fear, anger, anxiety, hopelessness ... it can all channel people into feeling the need to do SOMETHING to counter whatever it is they are in the shadow of.

Reacting can be a healthy and productive response. Or if taken to an extreme, it can become a greater problem than the original anxiety source.

Methodical Remedies

I believe in preparedness as being a logical, intelligent way to position one's self for the future ... a future that in many ways is beyond our real control. To have a partial focus in life toward systematically and appropriately preparing for life's less-pleasant possibilities helps build personal peace of mind.

In fact, that's really how I present my crisis preparedness business--I am in the business of selling peace of mind.

Different folks need different measures of security and they instinctively come to realize what it is they need to find some improved inner peace. Oftentimes, it's going to mean a systematic approach to preparedness, wanting to build up one's household defenses against a wide range of perceived threats. Occasionally, it's more about reacting to one imminent threat that looms large. Either way, taking proper steps to offset or counter the risk is a material remedy that can deliver peace TODAY.

Real Threats Need Real Responses

The world today is full of real threats to our well being, but at the same time, it's important to note that those threats are almost always overinflated in the popular media because of the nature of that business. Today, the Doom du Jour is a selection of three specials: an H5N1 pandemic, the Iranian nuclear crisis, and surging ethnic tensions around the world. Pick your poison, then seek your personal antidote.

Do what you need to do, then disengage and focus your attention on life's other real demands.

For perspective--the world has always been a dangerous place. It was quite a while ago Euripides said: "Chance always fights on the side of the prudent."

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Still Need Mountain House Emergency Food?

The stampede for Mountain House emergency food (as well as other storage foods) over the last several weeks happened to coincide with our extraordinary March opportunity to get in on some special bulk buying at prices unseen in years.

Those of you who took advantage--thank you. You helped make our buy a stunning record-breaker no matter how you look at it.

Though we weren't the main problem in the mid-March depletion of Mountain House's emergency food, our volume was indicative of what was and is happening all over--people are preparing for the worst. As are government and corporate groups. H5N1 is a major risk on the horizon, and stocking up on storage food is one important step in starting to circle the wagons.

Still Taking Orders

Our very best pricing offerings in March were a limited time opportunity. But we continue to establish Safecastle LLC as the very best place to get your Mountain House food, at the best prices possible.

The need for storage food remains critical. If you are not where you want to be with your emergency food, and you'd like to get the best available freeze dried food out there--stuff that is officially rated at a 30-year shelf life ... contact me directly for the best prices.

See our current packages listed in our store. Note that, as Mountain House rebuilds inventory, our ordered varieties are shipping in stages over the next several weeks, with the latest foods produced and delivered by mid-May. (Not too bad, considering how things MIGHT get in the near future.)

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Friday, March 24, 2006

Last Week of Special Mountain House Deals

Only seven days left of the extraordinary opportunity to stock up on the best long-term storage food on the planet, at the best prices anywhere ... and with free shipping to the entire U.S.A.

I will not be able to repeat this offer in the future, so if you need emergency food, please consider this as the best chance you'll have. I have 150-can and 48-can packages to which you can make substitutions ... or you can custom-build your own bulk package.

Note that demand for this food is so high right now, last week Mountain House was wiped out of inventory in the #10 cans. That means our orders are now shipping in stages as the food is made available, with the last of the food in an order possibly shipping as late as mid-May.

To get the prices, email me at jcrefuge@safecastle.net

Payment must be received and cleared by noon, Central time, March 31 to qualify.

To check out the packages, see my store: www.safecastle.net

Monday, March 20, 2006

Being Buoyant in Stormy Seas

I woke up this morning to a mind-pic of three inflatable buoys bobbing around in frothy waves.

My immediate understanding was that those buoys were the proverbial "faith, hope, and love" holding me up through the churning realities of day-to-day life.

There is of course the obvious spiritual meaning of that choice biblical nugget that "these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13
If you haven't embraced that truth as yet, I would encourage you to find the substantive meaning in that insight as it applies to your place in the universe. They are virtues that abide all.

Still, for many readers, another immediate and relevant context for these treasures can be had right here on the ground where we live today--in a modern life filled with difficulties and dangers. Yes, establish your relationship with your maker and cultivate it. But beyond that, so too, these virtues serve you well applied to developing your own self confidence, to your household and community relationships, and even applied to your preparedness activities.

Preparedness Delivers Peace

Along the same lines of the principle that has proven itself through history--that there is peace through strength--so too is there peace of mind to be had via personal readiness. That is, if you are reasonably equipped to deal with whatever life can throw your way, then you are going to be feel pretty good about your future.

In terms of my own preparedness and how I keep my head above water ...

Faith: I trust that God always provides for me as needed, and that He blesses my household accordingly. I also believe that He has steered us onto our present course and that we are well situated for events anticipated and unanticipated. It's a good feeling to be able to trust that we have done what is wise and reasonable.

Hope: With a Christian faith, we always have hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus. We also have hope in this life of coming out on top of any trials and tribulations, since we are given only that which we are capable of enduring. Being physically prepared bolsters our position of strength and allows us to extend a positive and beneficial outlook toward the future. It also permits us to be able to afford to cheerfully influence and impact the lives of others around us.

Love: "The greatest of these is love." Love God, love yourself, love your family and your neighbors. It's a powerful virtue--to be able to reach out and give of what you have and of who you are. I fail in that more often than I care to admit, but in terms of preparedness and being involved in the business, I can truthfully say that it is a labor of love ... a heartfelt effort to encourage others to find peace and buoyancy in a balanced, systematic approach to the future.