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Ask the Safecastle Experts--Preparedness-Related Qs &As

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JC Refuge:
For a couple of weeks here, we're going to try something new.

Safecastle's Board of Advisors is made up of experts in a variety of preparedness-related fields, to include medicine, emergency & disaster response, alternative energy, military intelligence, Second Amendment/gun rights/law, wilderness survival, hand-to-hand combat/self-defense, amateur radio, and more. (Of course, your very own Jack Spirko is one of our advisors!)

Our experts have agreed to entertain questions related to preparedness in order to help our Safecastle buyers club members and Survival Podcasters deal with specific challenges they are facing in their efforts to prepare for an uncertain future. For more info on our Board of Advisors, simply go to any page in our Their bios are linked at the bottom of the left column on each page.

So I invite you to either use this thread to ask your questions, or email me directly ( with your questions. Note that Qs & As are subject to public consumption, so personal-identity info should not be included. (They may be revised prior to publication here or subsequently in other venues for brevity, accuracy, etc.)

Please allow for responses to take as long as several days, as these folks are very busy.

JC Refuge:
We've got a couple of other questions we're collecting answers for at this point. But here are a couple of questions I can post here now with my responses ...

I would love to be able to buy more of your products but prepping is not cheap. Do you ever offer dented can sales?

Vic:  Good question! We dropship our food directly to the customers from our various food suppliers. I will follow-up with them to see if they would be up for doing dented-can sales with us from time to time.

BTW, meal for meal, serving per serving, the prudent prepper/buyers club member CAN get great deals on storage food, especially during our special offers and sales that come up from time to time. Please note that many of the foods we list really are about the same price per meal as what Americans spend on average today for their daily quick and convenient diets. I could go on and on about daily calorie intake, the USDA's latest home food cost numbers, etc. But in a nutshell--be sure you look beyond the price of a case of storage food to calculate what you actually get for your money and how that compares to what you already spend to eat today.   ;)

Also, what about offering a way to make TVP taste like food? A recipe section that could be added to by your users would be a real boon for folks like my wife and me. We have a dozen cans of TVP in various flavours and we've tried a few to see how they taste. "Awful" is the kindest word that comes to mind.

Vic:  I hear that. We have never sold a lot of TVP. Personally, I'm an old fashioned meat and potatoes guy. But I'm going to put the call out here for anyone out there reading this--what say you? TVP recipe tricks or tips??? Please jump in here with a rely to this thread.

JC Refuge:
How long will T-Rations be edible, stored in a cabinet in a garage in a temperate area?
There will be a couple 90 degree plus days every summer. How will rice and hard red winter wheat last, stored in 5 gallon buckets with oxygen absorbers? Stored in the same cabinet and garage. Thank you for your advice and thanks for the great deals.

Vic:  We don't deal in T-Rations, but this is what I found in an Army document--

a. Purpose. The T-Ration was designed to sustain groups of military personnel in highly mobile field situations with high quality, nutritionally adequate, heat and serve meals.
MD0718 1-4
b. Product Characteristics.
(1) The components of the 10-day menu are thermally processed, pre-prepared, shelf-stable foods, packaged in hermetically sealed, half size steam table metal containers.
(2) Each menu has been unitized into 18-man or 36-man modules.
(3) The container serves as a package, heating pan, and serving tray.
(4) Instant beverages, non-dairy creamers, hot sauce, and disposables (cups, five compartment serving trays, and utensils) are included in each module.
(5) Each meal with the addition of milk and bread supplements provides approximately 1420 kilocalories.
(6) The shelf life is a minimum of 3 years at 80ºF (27ºC).
(7) A pallet load consists of 24 identical meal modules.
(8 ) Average net weight per module.
(a) The breakfast module weighs 36 pounds.
(b) The dinner module weighs 46 pounds.
c. Additional Information.
(1) Since the T-Ration is pre-prepared, its use allows reduction in food preparation time by 50-80 percent, reduction in water usage by 40 percent, and reduction in fuel consumption by 20 percent when compared with A or B rations.
(2) This ration was phased-out by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) but will be used as long as serviceable stocks exist in the federal supply system. The Marine Corps continue to use this ration.
(3) A unitized Cold Weather T-Ration Supplemental Module is available.
(a) This supplemental module contains Styrofoam clamshell trays, hot cups with lids, pouch bread, candy, oatmeal cookie bars, soup, extra hot beverages, and non-dairy creamers.
(b) The Cold Weather T-Ration Supplement provides an additional 1020 kilocalories.

Note that ANY food stored for long periods of time will be better served and last longer in cooler/colder temps, including military pre-packaged meals. The cooler your food storage conditions, the longer the foods will last. Repeated changes in storage conditions (temperature swings, etc.) will adversely affect shelf life.

Wheat stored in well-sealed de-oxygenated buckets should last many years. There are so many variables involved though, such as condition and moisture content of the original product, quality of the seal, and again, storage conditions. I would feel that good-quality wheat buckets can generally be seen as good for 10+ years. In a garage such as what you describe, you MAY have to subtract a bit from that, as ideally, you want good, stable storage conditions not subject to outside climate. As I said, your mileage will vary.

JC Refuge:
I am a nurse but have not worked in a hospital for years, I work in the community.  I purchased for the potential 2000 change many dressings and other items but now think I need to add to my supplies betadine and other medical items.  Do you have any suggestions of necessary medical supplies we all should have, where to get them and sources of antibiotics?
We have been collecting Mountain House food supplies too.  There are two adults.  What do you suggest for the amount of food we should have on hand?  Do you have any suggestions for a food supply for dogs.  Currently we have 6 GSD and feed them raw food, (we purchase three month supply at a time)?
Thank you for any recommendations, have a blessed day.

Dr. Ducey:  The list of medical supplies depending on access and level of expertise can be very varied. I would just try to start with the basics and work your way up ...

- acetaminophen/ASA/Motrin
- immodium
- saline eye wash
- bacitracin
- all the stuff a basic emt can get online
- You should be up-to-date on all immunizations tetanus/flu/hep a and B, pnemovax if older than 60 or if any respiratory illness
- two to three weeks of all med's as backup, more if able
- a good antibiotic such as Levoquin--it will cover most resp/uti/skin and soft tissue infections as well as most gastro bugs until seen by an MD
- Pedialyte fluids
- crazy glue (small cuts)
- dental floss

A lot can be purchased online. Depending also on cost/budget, there are emergency bags of multiple tiers of capabilities not requiring a license, and even an AED kit (defibrillators you see at schools and airports) would be a great addition. (Edited to add--here is a medical kit we have now listed at the recommendation of Dr. Ducey: )

Vic:  On the food volume questions--If you have a fair quantity and variety of MH food on hand, a good general rule of thumb is one case (6 #10 cans) will support one adult for about one week (at 2000 calories a day). Fpr most preppers, the length of time you want to be prepared for is of course largely a matter of budget. Do what you can, systematically to get yourself to a place where you feel good about it. I would say at a minimum, two to three weeks of storage food would be a good start (if we are talking Mountain House food, that means about 6 cases of food for your two adults). Many of our customers shoot for 6 to 12 months worth of storage food for their household.

For pets, I would suggest you stock a similar volume of food (for length of time) as what you have on hand for your two-leggers.

JC Refuge:
Follow-up to the first question posted in this thread ...

Vic:  For various reasons, our food suppliers are none too enthused about selling whatever dented cans they find. Sorry.


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