Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fresh, Military Spec MREs with Heaters, Priced to Move

Our supplier was stocked for a big hurricane season. It didn't happen and now our customers are poised to benefit--cases of MREs for as low as $69, shipped to the lower 48!

Are MREs part of your emergency storage food plan? If not, consider what they do for you ...

- They are high-calorie, high-energy foods

- They carry and store well

- Most everything you could want or need is included--the new heaters, accessory packs, snack and main entree. All you need is a little water for the drink mix.

These are the same MRE contents as those being used by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were packed in July 2007 and are good for 3-10 years, depending on your storage conditions.

We've got great prices on these for a short time so the supplier can move them and make room for more product in his warehouse.

Check out the listing. Remember--members get 20% off list price AND FREE shipping. Do the math--you won't find a better deal on fresh MREs.

As little as $69 per case of 12 MREs, shipped!

If not a buyers club member yet--get your lifetime membership for just $19.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Across the country, people face food & water shortages in flu outbreak

The need to have emergency stockpiles of food and water does need major attention across the country. It's common sense to have food stored for public use in the event of supply-line disruptions (see the previous blog post). To read the whole article, click on the title below.

Report: Thousands could face food, water shortages in flu outbreak
The Kansas City Star

Tens of thousands of Kansas Citians could face critical food and water shortages in a pandemic flu outbreak, a new report says.

The reason? They’re too poor to stockpile supplies for a flu crisis.

“I’ve been talking about this for three years — how are we going to feed people?” Kansas City Health director Dr. Rex Archer told the city council’s Finance and Audit committee Wednesday.

Archer met with the committee to discuss a new study by the Kansas City Auditor’s office. It found government officials are trying to prepare for a flu outbreak that could make hundreds of thousands of residents sick.

But the audit says potential flu patients aren’t making the same effort: “Local citizen preparedness is not at the level it should be.”

Public health guidelines say families should stockpile a two-week supply of food and water for an emergency. In Kansas City, the report estimates, between 10 and 15 percent of families now have a three-day supply of food and water.


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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Your Food Supply is at Risk

Now this cuts to the chase (and this really is not just about the threat of droughts to the food supply, but about how vulnerable the present just-in-time system is to a broad range of potential circumstances)...

U.S. Food Supplies

"I spent about thirty years working in commercial agribusiness. My main job was to purchase ingredients, mainly grain, for flour mills and animal feed mills. As a part of my job I was forced to understand the US food supply system, its strengths and weaknesses. Over the years I became aware of some things that nearly all Americans are completely unaware of. I am going to make a list of statements and then you will see where I'm going.

--1% of the US population grows all of the food for all Americans.

--Nearly all Americans know essentially nothing about where the food they eat every day comes from. How it gets from the ground to them. And they don't want to know about it. It's cheap, as close as their local store, and of high quality. So no worries.

--The bulk of the food we eat comes from grain. Although they raise a lot of fruits and vegetables in California, Arizona, Florida, Oregon, and Washington, those things don't compose the main part of the average diet. Half of what a meat animal is raised on is grain so when you eat meat you are really eating grain. And, of course, we eat grain directly as bread, bagels, doughnuts, pasta, etc. Milk (and milk products like cheese) comes from cows that eat grain. A lot of grain. And the grain they eat is not produced where the cows are located.

--The lion's share of grain produced in the US is done in a concentrated part of the US Midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri is the center of this area). The grain is moved to the coasts (where 70% of the population live) by only two (2) railroads.

--Nothing is stored for very long in a supermarket. One day grain travels (by rail) from Kansas to Seattle to a flour mill. The next day the flour mill makes the flour and sends it to a bakery. The next day the bakery makes it into bread (and other baked things) and the next day it is at the store where it is purchased that day. Nobody stores anything. The grain is produced and stored in the Midwest and shipped daily in a single pipeline to the rest of America where the people live.

--Up until the 1980s there was a system that stored a lot of grain in elevators around the country. At one time a whole year's harvest of grain was stored that way. But since tax- payers were paying to store it, certain urban politicians engineered the movement of that money from providing a safety net or backup for their own food supply in order to give the money to various other social welfare things. So now, nothing is stored. We produce what we consume each year and store practically none of it. There is no contingency plan.

"Now for my take on what this means for us and what it has to do with the topic you are publicizing.

--If a drought such as has lingered over other parts of the US where little grain is grown were to move over the grain-producing states in the Midwest where few people live, it would seriously damage the food supply of the country and the apples of Washington, the lettuce of California, the grapefruit of Florida and the peanuts of Georgia won't make up the difference because grain is the staff of life and most of it is grown in the Midwest.

--Americans are armed to the teeth. In LA people burned down their own neighborhoods to protest a court case.

--In order for riots to break out the whole food supply doesn't have to be wiped out. It just has to be threatened sufficiently. When people realize their vulnerability and the fact that there is no short term solution to a severe enough drought in the Midwest they will have no clue as to what they should do. Other nations can't make up the difference because no other nation has a surplus of grain in good times let alone in times when they are having droughts and floods also. It takes two or three months to raise grain, yet people have to eat usually at least once a day, usually more than that.

--So basically we have in place a recipe for a disaster that will dwarf any other localized disasters imaginable. The important thing to note is that there is no solution for this event. There is no contingency plan for this. People living in certain parts of the US will fare better than others (which is another story) but those who live in big cities, where most of the US population live, are done for.

"Anyway, I have no agenda of my own concerning this. I just thought I'd share it with someone who appears to have an idea of what might likely cause this scenario to occur. The only people who know about this are those who are involved in the production and distribution of the food supply and there are very, very few of them number-wise. And most of them haven't put two and two together yet either."


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Monday, October 22, 2007

Brutal Wildfires in Southern California Causing Massive Evacuations

There ARE times when digging in is not an option and having ready bug-out bags proves to be wise.

California wildfires force thousands of evacuations
California wildfires force thousands of evacuations

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World Oil Production Already Falling; Wars and Unrest to Follow

The source here is "The Guardian," so factor that into your figuring. But DO read the article in its entirety (click on the title below) for a stark wake-up call.

Steep decline in oil production brings risk of war and unrest, says new study

· Output peaked in 2006 and will fall 7% a year
· Decline in gas, coal and uranium also predicted

Ashley Seager, Monday October 22, 2007

World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.

The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected. The report, which predicts that production will now fall by 7% a year, comes after oil prices set new records almost every day last week, on Friday hitting more than $90 (£44) a barrel.


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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.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

The Logic of Nuclear Proliferation

Continuing with this week's developing theme of doom ala fission-boom, we bring you another one of Jeff Nyquist's columns.

If you digest nothing else over the next 24 hours, let at least this excerpt sink in (click on the title to view the whole Nyquist column):

The Logic of Nuclear Proliferation
by J.R. Nyquist
Weekly Column - 10.19.2007

... A few days ago President Bush made a chilling statement. He said that if we wanted to avoid World War III we must not allow the current Iranian government to acquire nuclear weapons. He spoke from the conviction that Islamic fundamentalists with nuclear weapons cannot be checked by the threat of retaliation. A faith that sanctifies suicide bombers might be expected to sanctify a suicidal nuclear exchange. What nobody wants to hear, and nobody will say, is that the situation is much worse than President Bush imagines. More than half a century ago the Russians acquired nuclear weapons. In 1964 China became a nuclear power. While the nuclear martyrdom of an Islamic nation is to be feared, the rational use of nuclear weapons by Russia and China is even more likely. If a nuclear bomb were detonated in New York we would not be able to prove that Moscow or Beijing conspired in the attack; especially if Iran and North Korea possess nuclear weapons.

America can be attacked anonymously. The enemies of America know this to be true; therefore they want nuclear weapons technology to spread throughout the world. When New York and Washington are destroyed, nobody will know who ordered the attack. In that event retaliation will be impossible. Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) will be a thing of the past. The generals in Moscow and Beijing are working out a strategy based on the knowledge that America is defenseless; for America’s strategy has been based on a doctrine of massive retaliation.

The helplessness of the United States is increasingly obvious. In the long run the Americans cannot prevent the spread of nuclear technology. President Bush points to Iran and warns the world. But notice how helpless President Bush has become in recent months. Notice the paralysis in Washington. The American businessman will not support Bush’s policy. The Shopping Mall Regime believes in peace and economic prosperity. It will not prepare for war and economic decline (peak oil). It will not approve the construction of bomb shelters or tightened border security.

We are stuck.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Potential for Global Warfare Inches Forward this Week

Yesterday, President Bush drew worldwide attention for stating the obvious ... that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it would lead to World War III.

His comment was not adequately expressed, but the logical assumption is that he was talking about the probability that Iran would actually use or allow the use of its nukes against Israel and/or U.S. interests, leading to retaliatory strikes and subsequently escalating warfare that would draw in countries from around the world.

President Ahmedinejad of Iran has indicated several times that Israel is due for annihilation. Israel and the United States are determined to guard against that.

Today, even the Democratic front runners in the U.S. presidential race are saying that the preemptive military option versus Iran's nuclear development capabilities is NOT off the table. Quite simply, in the U.S. there is little give on this issue. France, U.K., Japan, and Australia are key allies who join America in that stance. Germany is also likely to stand firm with the others against the Iranian mullahcracy from obtaining the ultimate weapons of mass destruction.

With strong commitment on this by the world's free nations, there would likely be a peaceful ultimate solution arrived at via strong negotiation and trade pressures. However, Iran has supporters who are increasingly digging in their heels. Russia, China, Venezuela, North Korea, and Syria and the main nation-states supporting Iran to some degree in this matter.

Other Irritants

Each nation has its own vested interests in a controversy such as this. It is never so easy as a simple decision to support or not support. Clearly, there are political/diplomatic/military alignments that are becoming more and more entrenched out there. In fact, perhaps a more telling motivation for some is an anti-U.S. angle to all of this.

Interestingly, this week alone has proven to magnify tensions a bit on all fronts.

Russian President Putin is intensely feeling his oats after meeting with and pressuring at least some of the Caspian Sea nation leaders and declaring that those nations will not be allowed to be used to stage attacks on Iran, as the U.S. has reportedly been planning should that need arise. Further, he clinched a deal that prevents the development of a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline that had been advocated by the U.S., effectively bypassing Russian control over energy concerns in that region.

Turkey is preparing to militarily venture into Iraqi territory to deal with a Kurdish population there that they are feeling threatened by. Needless to say, this is not a development sanctioned or smiled upon by the U.S. or the Iraqi government.

The return of former Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto out of exile to a catastrophic welcome-home bombing by her Muslim opponents is a grim reminder of the vulnerability of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal to a regime change brought about by extremists there who may not be in the minority. Lest we forget, India watches events in Pakistan with their own nuclear triggers at the ready.

Finally, when something so benign as the U.S. recognition this week of the Tibetan Dalai Lama causes China to issue a warning that the honor "gravely undermined" relations between China and the U.S., well, I think we could say that the last few days has not been the friendliest of times in international circles.

We're not there yet where events would be expected to explode soon into a new widespread conflict. But this week would appear to be a period in which the screws have been tightened a half-turn across the board.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

GWB Warns of WWIII If Iran Goes Nuclear

Today at a White House press conference, President Bush stated that he had warned world leaders that Iran must be blocked from acquiring nuclear weapons, "if you're interested in avoiding World War III."

See the AFP news brief.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Disasters as "IPOs" and "Emerging Markets"

Here is a look at wars, terror, and catastrophe from the investment overview perspective .... it is perhaps something different for our readers to chew on. Click on the article title below to read the article at MarketWatch. (Note the suggestions for ways to invest in this sector, including the Spade Defense Index.)

New 'Disaster Capitalism' economy

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- Hot tip: Invest in "Disaster Capitalism." This new investment sector is the core of the emerging "new economy" that generates profits by feeding off other peoples' misery: Wars, terror attacks, natural catastrophes, poverty, trade sanctions, market crashes and all kinds of economic, financial and political disasters.


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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.

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New "National Strategy for Homeland Security"

Yesterday, the White House released the new National (not Federal) Strategy for Homeland Security. To see the full document (62 printed pages), click here.

Excerpting a section out of Chapter VIII, "Ensuring Long-Term Success," it is pleasing to see an emphasis on improving the American Culture:

Culture of Preparedness

Our entire Nation shares common responsibilities in homeland security. In order to help prepare the Nation to carry out these responsibilities, we will continue to foster a Culture of Preparedness that permeates all levels of our society – from individual citizens, businesses, and non-profit organizations to Federal, State, local, and Tribal government officials and authorities. This Culture rests on four principles.

The first principle of our Culture of Preparedness is a shared acknowledgement that creating a prepared Nation will be an enduring challenge. As individual citizens we must guard against complacency, and as a society we must balance the sense of optimism that is fundamental to the American character with a sober recognition that future catastrophes will occur. The certainty of future calamities should inform and motivate our preparedness, and we will continue to emphasize the responsibility of the entire Nation to be flexible and ready to cope with a broad range of challenges.

The second principle is the importance of individual and collective initiative to counter fundamental biases toward reactive responses and approaches. Our Culture, therefore, must encourage and reward innovation and new ways of thinking as well as better align authority and responsibility so that those who are responsible for a mission or task have the authority to act.

The third principle is that individual citizens, communities, the private sector, and non-profit organizations each perform a central role in homeland security. Citizen and community preparedness are among the most effective means of securing the Homeland, and leadership must continue at all levels to promote and strengthen their preparedness, including through public dialogue and specialized programs such as the "Ready" campaign, the Nation's public service initiative for individual and corporate preparedness (see
for more information). All Americans must share in the full range of homeland security activities, including prevention and protection, but it is particularly important that we all take responsibility for increasing the likelihood that we can survive an incident and care for our own basic needs in the immediate aftermath. As more Americans contribute to homeland security through self-reliance and mutual assistance, we reduce the burden on our emergency responders so they can focus on those most in need.

We also will continue to encourage the preparedness of other homeland security stakeholders, including private sector and non-profit groups such as non-governmental organizations and faith-based groups and, whenever appropriate, incorporate them as full partners into our national preparedness efforts across all homeland security disciplines. The private sector is particularly important in this endeavor. As highlighted throughout this Strategy, the private sector is the Nation's primary provider of goods and services and the owner and operator of approximately 85 percent of our critical infrastructure. It is an essential partner in ensuring structural and operational resilience that protects the American people, establishing supply chain security to help deny terrorist weapons and material entry into the Homeland, and reporting suspicious activities at work sites that could uncover and ultimately help disrupt terrorist activity. The private sector also is a critical partner in rebuilding communities devastated or severely affected by a catastrophic incident as well as in fielding scientific and technological advancements that can help secure the Homeland. Due to the multiple and essential roles the private sector plays across all areas of homeland security, continued collaboration and engagement with the private sector to strengthen preparedness is imperative.

The fourth principle of our Culture of Preparedness is the responsibility of each level of government in fostering a prepared Nation. Although Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments will have roles and responsibilities unique to each, our Culture must continue to embrace the notion of partnership among all levels of government. Built upon a foundation of partnerships, common goals, and shared responsibility, the creation of our Culture of Preparedness is an enduring touchstone for homeland security.

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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.


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Machiavelli's Six Conditions

Jeff Nyquist regularly brings needed perspective to his readers. Linked here is another must-read column, included with but a brief excerpt to tantalize your perspicacity.

by J. R. Nyquist, Weekly Column, 10-12-2007

... Here lies the argument of the coming war. It is an argument that will be settled by the mass use of biological and nuclear weapons. For you cannot destroy a power as great as America, or eradicate its memory, without resorting to ultimate weapons. The reason that the Russians, Chinese, Iranians and others put such stock in nuclear weapons is obvious. These are the only weapons that promise to destroy the Americans. Therefore, history necessarily follows a logical path.

The era dominated by American power and the American dollar isn’t going to last. The knives are out and the victim cannot escape. In the long run, something catches you by the heels. We all die. And that goes for nations as well as individuals. The student of history may predict what follows, as a matter of historical logic. The planet will descend into war and dictatorship. Even here in North America we have no assurance that freedom will be prevail. In the last twenty-five centuries of recorded history we find brief periods of republican-type government and much longer periods of monarchy and rule by warlords. Freedom is not the usual state of mankind. As Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote more than two centuries ago: “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.” ...

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Got Shelter?

These days, the NBC fallout shelter in America seems to be experiencing a renaissance. Safecastle is one of the foremost U.S. providers of such shelters. There are several posts in this blog that are shelter related--check the archive list in the right column of this page.

A few updates worth making ...

1. Safecastle's shelter business consists of custom fabricating steel-plate Storm Shelters, Fallout Shelters, and Safe Rooms. They are all engineered to withstand winds of 330 mph. Our builder has installed something on the order of 500 shelters and saferooms all over the USA in the last 15 years, to include about 100 for FEMA.

2. Our primary business these days is in Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (NBC) Fallout Shelters. In fact, right now, we are busier than we have ever seen the business. You can reach your own conclusions about why that might be. Suffice it to say, we are seeing more and more shelters being built by some knowledgeable, wealthy and/or powerful folks.

3. Our Fallout Shelters are installed underground 99% of the time. (Yes, we can berm up adequate shielding over an above-ground shelter if need be). We can even install below the water table--though we prefer not to. Our shelters are fully double welded and double seal coated to create a structure that is impervious to moisture penetration. The use of magnesium anodes greatly extends the life of the shelters, significantly reducing the natural pace of corrosion on outside surfaces. Simply put, our shelters are dry as a bone inside. (In a few rare instances, there is the possibility of condensation forming on the underside of the hatch if that hatch is exposed to the elements and the sun, and we do have a fix for that.) No sump pump is ever needed due to groundwater penetration. Inside climate and humidity in the shelters is very easily managed with a dehumidifier during warm weather periods.

4. Our shelters are designed by state-certified structural engineers to last 90 years in most environments. We offer a lifetime warranty on workmanship and structural integrity.

5. A comment or two on the use of cylindrical steel culvert for shelters: They are very strong and an excellent basis for DIY sheltering. They are engineered for subterranean forces. But if you are doing it yourself, be careful when cutting and welding in that enclosed environment. Be sure your area is well-ventilated as you work. Also, for commercially available culvert-based shelters, they are normally high-margin products for the seller. In other words, be sure to comparison shop. (Hint, hint). A big obvious point to consider is the amount of usable living space in a cylinder as opposed to a six-sided structure such as what our Safecastle shelters are.

6. We're coming out with a new brochure in the next week or so along with a few new offerings and features, to include a standard-sized, above-ground storm shelter that we can offer on a lease-to-own basis. We also now are offering a drive-in, garage storm shelter for those who want to protect their vehicles. Double-thick safety-glass windows are also now an option for those who want to watch Dorothy, Toto, and the Wicked Witch fly by from the comfort and safety of their well-anchored shelter.

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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.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Huntsville Alabama Reopening Fallout Shelters (But Not Stocking Them)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Ready ... Seriously -

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How to Watch Troubling Developments, Yet Stay Balanced and Cool

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Ready ... Seriously -