Safecastle | One Shop For All Emergency Essentials

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Go For It! -- 2011 Safecastle Freedom Awards -- a "New Media" Survivalist Contest

"I'm pleased to announce the 2011 Safecastle Freedom Awards--a program in which we will provide the talented, deserving winners with some great preparedness-related prizes!" said Vic Rantala, owner of Safecastle.

"What we aim to do is find and recognize the best, original, web-based content of the year, related to survivalism and preparedness."

This is essentially a contest of skill. Eligible entries will include new non-fiction articles written and originally posted online at a recognized, participating blog or forum and new survival/preparedness videos originally posted this year and "sponsored" by or posted at a participating blog or forum (see below for participating websites).

Every one of our finalists will be a winner and will receive an engraved "Safecastle Freedom Award" as pictured here, signifying the noteworthy achievement of contributing materially to our country's preparedness.

The creators of the articles and videos judged to be the very best of the best will be awarded the prizes described further below.

Competition Guidelines are few, but what there are, are there for good reason:

1.  Keep it clean and family-friendly.

2.  Modern attention spans are short. That means, in this new media, we are looking for articles that are concise. 1500 words in a non-fiction article is the maximum length please. For the short-form video, 6 minutes is the limit. Note that shorter just may be better.

3.  Submit your own original article or video to ONLY ONE of the participating blogs or forums for entry into this contest. Note your intention to enter this contest with that submission to the participating website so that there are no mistakes. If it becomes apparent that an entry was submitted to multiple websites as an original sole entry, it will be disqualified from the contest.

4.  Do not plagiarize anyone else's work. The author is solely responsible for the content of his or her article or video. Plagiarization results in the forfeiture of any prizes that may be awarded as well as any potential legal ramifications.

5.  Article and video submissions must be posted originally at a participating blog or forum. For videos such as those first posted to YouTube, they must appear on the sponsoring blog or forum within one week of that YouTube posting to qualify as an original creative eligible for prize consideration in this contest--and not appear somewhere else first.

6.  Original article authors and video creators can enter as many different stories and videos as they wish--but again--see #3 above. To be clear--you MAY submit one creation at one participating website and another creation at another participating website--but not the same original piece at more than one site.

7.  Authors and video producers retain ownership rights to their work, but they also agree that those articles and videos may be subsequently posted at Safecastle's blog, Refuge and/or on Safecastle's store site, without further renumeration.

8.  Contest prizes are awarded only to residents of the continental U.S. where there are no legal constraints to such a contest awards program. Prize winners are responsible for paying any taxes that may be due as a result of their prize awards.

9.  Each participating website will be fully responsible for selecting their own article and video finalists (one of each if they have suitable submissions) by Dec. 31, 2011. Then in January of 2012, a panel of expert judges assembled by Safecastle LLC will manage a playoff judging system to determine the prize winners from among the many finalists.

10. Owners, employees, and their family members of Safecastle and the participating blogs and forums are NOT eligible for participation, recognition, or prizes in this contest.

11.  Contest winning decisions are final and cannot be challenged or altered, except at the sole discretion of Safecastle LLC.

The PRIZES are very nice! ...
September 26 note: The economic collapse and marketplace difficulties have forced Safecastle to reduce the prize package in this contest from what was previously announced.

1.  First prizes in the article and video categories will be awarded a Katadyn Pocket , value $320.

2.  Second prize in each of the two categories will be Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrators, value $275.
Excalibur Dehydrator

3. All finalists will receive a Safecastle Freedom award trophy.

4.  Sponsoring blog/forum owners for the grand and first-prize winners will receive Safecastle gift certificates worth $250 each.

More on the Judging

Participating forums and blogs will solicit original entries from their readers. It is up to those websites to use whatever method works best to determine their chosen contest finalists (one for each category--article and video). Entries must have been first posted to those websites during 2011.

In January of 2012, the various finalist entries will be submitted to Safecastle LLC. The final prize winners will be determined by selected playoff system managed by a panel of judges chosen by Safecastle. Prizes will be awarded no later than February 2012.

To Participate:

Contact the webmaster/site administrator at one of the following 15 survival-related blogs and forums to find out how to submit your work and to make sure it fits their particular perspective on things. (Note that our blog here, Refuge, is NOT posting contest entries until the finalists themselves are identified.).

Of course, do be sure to frequent these sites to marvel at the ongoing quality of preparedness-related knowledge being shared so freely:

If there are any questions about this contest, please submit a "comment" here on this blog entry and I will do my best to answer it or clarify the rules as needed.
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The System is Taut and Fraying

Time for some anecdotal reflection ...

I've got my fingers in a lot of different business pies--and what I want to talk about here is mostly the operational aspects of the many businesses I am connected into--transportation, technology, internet, commerce supply lines, food production, and manufacturing.

We all know and have been following the macro numbers (however true or untrue they may be) reflecting the current state of the economy and how many of our neighbors are unemployed. We are perfectly aware how much of America has literally been exported and outsourced, to even include unimaginable sums of our precious tax dollars.

But what I want to bring up here is the very real sense I am getting in my day-to-day work that what we do have left in America is reaching the breaking point ... functional systems operated by those who remain employed and overworked, who are trying to keep things running and maintaining ... it's increasingly obvious that understaffed, under-qualified, under-capitalized business operations all around us are beginning to come apart under the strain.

Performance to previous standards of quality is suffering in MANY areas and expectations are falling. We are left now to settle for whatever we can get whenever we can get it. The next phase in this process is to add "at whatever price."

From where I sit, I now have to call a near-term risk of total system failure. It won't take much to make it happen. "The system" is operating beyond capacity and we don't have the means, financially or spiritually, to recover and rebuild anytime soon.

It's beginning to look and feel like eastern Europe could be our future, sooner than later.
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Our New Bugout Teardrop Trailers

Check out our new Bugout Trailer video. It provides a good view of our sweet, new teardrop trailer line--customized for off-the-grid escapism.

Running from the four horsemen of the apocalypse or fleeing the 9-to-5 weekday humdrum--these handy little vehicles deliver just the right balance of adrenaline and peace of mind.

Each of our four models are constructed to exacting measures by Amish craftsmen. The trailers are built standard with such features as aluminum alloy mag wheels, insulated fiberglass and aluminum walls and ceiling, steel frame undercarriage, heavy-duty axle, entry doors on each side, rear hatchdoor galley, carpeting, mattress, cabinetry, ventilation, and a powerful 12V solar/marine battery package. You also receive a trailer cover and wheel lock at no extra charge.

Available options include heater/ac, sink & stove, a sight & sound DVD player/monitor/radio package, and an external toolbox, not to mention a side-mount room tent for added space.

Well-worth the bargain price

Our trailers, as with everything we sell, ship free to the lower 48. Our buyers club members just need to login to the store to get their 20% off these teardrop trailers.

But for the next two weeks, thru February--buyers club members ALSO get $600 off each trailer purchased, simply by adding this coupon code in to coupon field during checkout:

Need I also remind you? - For 2011, members also have our Cache-Back program which these trailer purchases count toward! Can you count all the savings here?

We have several trailers built and ready to ship. If they go fast, it will take up to 6 weeks to get yours built for you. And yes--you can have any color trailer you'd like, on request ... black is just our trademark color for these bad boys.
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Egyptian Doctor: "Right now, I'd settle for a gun, but I can't even find one of those."

You know--I wasn't going to mention this, but here goes ... it was about 4 weeks ago now, I suddenly sensed that something was dramatically changing. Globally, there was a new dynamic springing up and spreading across the internet--it felt dangerous and ugly and more than anything else--powerfully threatening to the status quo. Now I'm not a sensing kind of person. I'm not even touchy-feely.

But this was a strong intuition that slapped me across the face about a week into the new year after the Pakistan governor's killing by his own bodyguard (who was then given a hero's welcome in court the next day) and then a Philippine councilman was shot and killed as he was inadvertently taking his assassin's photo (shown here).

I don't know why those crimes struck me, other than the fact that in this media-saturated world--everyone saw that Philippine image--it was shocking and it seemed to have the potential of creating a lot of copycat thinking to emerge--given the fact that there was already an obvious amount of frustration and anger out there due to the economy and a multitude of other stresses.

Of course then, the Tucson Congresswoman shooting happened a week or so later. Following that, the riots in Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt have erupted ... which threaten to bring about an even greater potential for violent upheaval throughout the Middle East and elsewhere.

It seems I may indeed have detected an early disturbance in the force. Can YOU hear the sound of falling dominos rippling away in the distance?

Egypt: My Practice for a Gun

I was just scanning an article about the latest situation in Egypt. The excerpt pasted below, to me, captures perhaps a sentiment that speaks to many around the world today at a base level ...

Read the whole article on Egypt's current chaos right here:


A growing number of governments - including China, France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Russia and Poland - warned against travel to most parts, if not all of Egypt. Arab nations, including Iraq, either sent in jets to take their citizens home, or offered to do so.

"If I had a visa to anywhere, I'd join them. But that's not going to happen," said Mohammed Khaled, a 28-year-old Egyptian doctor. "Right now, I'd settle for a gun, but I can't even find one of those."

Second amendment anyone?
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Only 47% of Working Age Americans Have Full-Time Jobs

Well isn't this a kick in the pants? ...
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Monday, January 24, 2011

"When Trucks Stop, America Stops"

How fragile our intricate, modern weave of social and economic interdependence!

A document prepared by the American Trucking Associations a few years ago is an excellent reference for what WILL happen when one of any number of proverbial monkey wrenches gets tossed into the gears of our smooth-running existence today. Read the whole doc here.

Below, I've captured the last page summarizing what we can expect when America's trucks stop running (think such causes as pandemic, war, social upheaval, fuel disruption, border crossing delays, material or parts importation halts, security clampdowns, earthquakes, etc.) ...

"When Trucks Stop, America Stops"
A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage

The first 24 hours
• Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
• Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters
within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become
• Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
• Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component
• U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.

Within one day
• Food shortages will begin to develop.
• Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing
prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
• Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery,
assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.

Within two to three days
• Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and
consumer panic.
• Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and
canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
• ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process
• Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
• Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
• Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted,
eventually coming to a standstill.

Within a week
• Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and
busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries,
or access medical care.
• Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.

Within two weeks
• The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.

Within four weeks
• The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for
drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will
increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.

This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.
. .

Nuclear Explosion

Came across this video posted by a Russian in Zimbabwe, near as I can tell. It has to be an animation, no? ...

Get Ready ... Seriously --

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Fourth American Revolution

Strauss and Howe, in "The Fourth Turning," were very accurate in their mid-'90s assessments of where we would be at this point in time. And Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform does a great job of syncing us up to the minute ...

The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II. - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe -1997

Be sure to read in its entirety this column and recalibrate to where we are in this grand swing of the pendulum.
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Socialism? - "The Soviet Story"

Warning--portions of this video are extremely disturbing. I post this here because of the necessity for thinking adults to realize the scope of the very real evil in this world so evident in our recent history, yet not widely recognized.

Get Ready ... Seriously --

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MUST WATCH - "The American Dream"

Please watch this entire video by "The Provacateur Network." Note that it keeps getting more eye-opening and alarming as it goes. By the end, if you have not found your proper bearings, you are free to return to your naively hopeless existence.

Get Ready ... Seriously --

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Progressive Climate of Hate

After the shooting of the Congresswoman from Arizona this weekend, I was contacted out of the blue by someone who thought I should be punished for advertising my business on Alex Jones' "hateful" sites and radio programs. It took me a while of back and forth dialog to get to a more substantive explanation for why this woman thought I should pull my Safecastle ads from the Jones sites.

The challenge was that she would not provide me even a single example of the "hatred" she claimed takes place there at InfoWars and PrisonPlanet. Finally, she offered this much that displayed the political bent behind her complaint:

"... I'm sure when you hear from more people about the same problem they have with Alex Jones that I have, you will be able to ascertain an idea of what we hear from Mr. Jones and what our concerns are. The rant is not nice. It is in the same frame as the limbaughs, hannitys, becks and palins. AND in light of the recent tragedy in Arizona, I am scrutinizing who I patronize."

I give this woman credit at least for not going gonzo on me. We were able to keep our dialog civil enough. But when she disclosed her angle was pure politics, well ... I concluded our discussion with this:

"You're the first person who has ever contacted me about Alex Jones. And I still don't have an example from you about what it is you are complaining about. (It is your complaint--I am unqualified to read your mind or leap to the conclusion you seem to want me to come to without a solid reference point that would be the basis of a complaint like yours.)

"Near as I can tell, given this last comment--you are politically, diametrically opposed to the conservative viewpoint. Rhetoric and hyperbole in today's world is universal across the spectrum, in my experience.

"If you come across an example of what illustrates your dislike and fear of Alex Jones or the hatred you mention, please forward it on to me."

Anyway, my experience with Alex is that he is neither conservative nor liberal. I see him occupying a space largely to himself on the spectrum. I don't agree with everything Alex has to say, but I appreciate his untiring efforts to get at truth. He uses his right to free speech and I support him for that.

For the record--I am conservative in my politics. I keep it out of my business dealings. And I respect folks out there who conduct themselves in a reasonable and mutually respectful fashion no matter their views.

There are kooks in every corner and niche, obviously. My opinion--it's pretty much up to those groups they affiliate themselves with to police or at least disassociate from and condemn the violent wackos.

The kooks do show themselves early and often before generally either going overboard or just finally going away. If the organizations fail to manage their people, that's how the blame when things go tragically wrong can be more broadly brushed, to include those who wanted to ride the wave of emotion for political gain.

This got longer than I intended. I really wanted to simply introduce this excellent reminder of how perhaps one side of the political spectrum more vigorously agitates the waters, given real examples from the last 10 years:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Asteroid Discoveries from 1980-2010

Video Created by Scott Manley, this is a view of the solar system showing the locations of all the asteroids starting in 1980, as asteroids are discovered they are added to the map and highlighted white so you can pick out the new ones.

The final color of an asteroid indicates how closely it comes to the inner solar system.
Earth Crossers are Red
Earth Approachers (Perihelion less than 1.3AU) are Yellow
All Others are Green

Notice now the pattern of discovery follows the Earth around its orbit, most discoveries are made in the region directly opposite the Sun. You'll also notice some clusters of discoveries on the line between Earth and Jupiter, these are the result of surveys looking for Jovian moons. Similar clusters of discoveries can be tied to the other outer planets, but those are not visible in this video.

As the video moves into the mid 1990s we see much higher discovery rates as automated sky scanning systems come online. Most of the surveys are imaging the sky directly opposite the sun and you'll see a region of high discovery rates aligned in this manner.

At the beginning of 2010 a new discovery pattern becomes evident, with discovery zones in a line perpendicular to the Sun-Earth vector. These new observations are the result of the WISE (Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer) which is a space mission that's tasked with imaging the entire sky in infrared wavelengths.

The scale of the video at 1080P resolution is roughly 1million kilometers per pixel, and each second of video corresponds to 60 days.

Currently we have observed over half a million minor planets, and the discovery rates show no sign that we're running out of undiscovered objects, scientific estimates suggest that there are about a billion asteroids larger than 100metres (about the size of a football field).
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Drifting Into Deeper, More Insidious Social Crisis

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, of The Telegraph, is always an on-target, educational read.

Here is his latest expose' hitting very close to home, with a warning about rising violence in America arising out of the masses suffering the most through the lingering and even worsening economic doldrums:

Deepening Crisis Traps America's Have-Nots
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Saturday, January 01, 2011

$40 Gift Certificate for Every 3 MH Cases Ordered!

Happy New Year, friends!

I'm pleased to announce that for 2011 we have some really cool offers coming your way. I had hoped to be able to announce all of them today, but am still awaiting some critical details on a couple of things.

But for right now, I can unveil our 2011 Mountain House Cans Royalty Rewards program, available exclusively to our buyers club members.

It's simple and easy ...

Until further notice, $40 in Safecastle gift certificates are provided to club members for every three cases of Mountain House cans in a transaction.

As for the ongoing demand deluge for Mountain House cans--December has seen the Oregon Freeze Dry factory able to mostly catch up. We still have weekly dealer order allocation limits, but chances are good that those will disappear in the next few weeks. Right now, your MH cans order will be submitted and processed the week of Jan. 10. That's as good as it gets these days. So if you're looking to stock up--make your move and reap your rewards.

Oh--and I will give you a hint as to one of the other new deals on the stove and which I expect to be able to announce in the next week or so ... Any and every 2011 Safecastle purchase made by buyers club members, starting today, Jan. 1, will be tallied and will qualify for an additional "Cache-Back" credit program good toward the best products in our store. Watch for this announcement coming very soon.

Have a safe and blessed new year!
Get Ready ... Seriously --

Sunday, December 26, 2010

L.A. Dry Run Shows Urban Nuke Attack a Survivable Event

Check out this USA Today article about a recent security exercise in L.A. County. It's particularly interesting that at the end of the article, we find this (emphasis mine):

... The 9/11 Commission reported in 2004 that al-Qaeda has been trying to "acquire or make" nuclear weapons for a decade. The International Atomic Energy Agency has logged 421 reports of lost or stolen nuclear materials from member states. The U.S. has lost at least 11 nuclear weapons, according to Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Given these reports, Rick Nelson, an intelligence expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, holds a different view. "I think in my lifetime I'll see the detonation of a nuclear device. I do," he says.

And here's a well-illustrated animation of how/where to seek shelter ...

Get Ready ... Seriously --

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a Blessed Christmas

Enjoy the season and your loved ones. Even though this gentleman does an amazing job of it, don't "spread yourself too thin."