Getting through the winter. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Thanks to those who answered my question on the imbedded chips. I see there *are* some bad possibilities there. Also glad we nudged some discussion of human waste disposal. Its an important consideration. The Scat Pack that was mentioned is exactly the device I used through the 70's as a microwave tech in the hills. Very handy. Keeps one from having to put on the snowshoes to make the trip to the outhouse in a blizzard.

I'm in the northeast where it will be cold on 1-1-2k. We have been thinking about the cold a lot. To do it right, you must imagine the worse conditions and work from there. I have some ideas and would appreciate other's thoughts on them.

(Un)fortunately, keeping frozen foods cold will probably not be a problem. Just keep the stuff in a container outside. Or better yet, bring ice inside and use the refridgerator as an ice box. It would likely be easier to control the temp (cold but not freezing, etc.)than trying to deal with the extremes that would occur outside.

For the stuff you don't want to freeze, a refridgerator may still be useful. Load it up with the jars and canned goods, insert a large lighted candle somewhere safe inside and close the door. The candle will of course go out eventually but I believe it would do a fair job of heating the inside enough to keep Jack at bay for a good while. You would want to replenish the oxygen periodically and re-light the candle. Keep a thermometer inside so when you do open the door you can see how things were going in there. The cans etc. should retain most of their heat while the door is opened for short bits. Those who are more energetic might punch a hole in the side of the fridge for heating the interior with a propane torch or other method.

With enough material, one could also build a "warm box" out of plywood and insulated with styrofoam and plastic. Size dependentent on need. It could have shelving, a provision for heating at the bottom, allowance for interior circulation, and thermometers mounted to monitor the interior. Heat could come from sun heated bricks, propane torch, lighted charcoal embers or whatever available. Would it, could it, work or not?

BTW; I believe charcoal might possible be one of the better sources of heat for cooking and warmth. What say others? It is cheap, easy to store and handle and is relatively safe. It will not spill, explode, or bleed away by accident. A very large bag is only $3.00 and it would keep a well insulated room warm for many hours in addition to cooking your food. Keep in mind that it uses up oxygen and you may die from lack of that precious gas. I have experience with that scenario and know that you will likely not feel the end coming. That is a *real* danger. But; if an existing enclosed grill or other enclosed metal box was prepared for this purpose, with a flexible metal exhaust path to the outside, you should be able to breath deeply and safely. The exhause tube could be made long enough to transfer radiate additional heat to the room but not long enough to cool the rising exhaust to the point where it stopped raising to exit the room.

Remember your automobile's interior will be a good source of heat during sunny days. It will certainly just be nice to sit in it for awhile but you might also want to use it to warm some wash water or other items.

Another "warm" spot might be the cellar floor and lower walls. Being 5 feet below ground they will be heated by the earth outside. This would normally remain above the freezing point at least until the colder temps come through the floor and down the steps. If nothing else, the cellar floor would soon become just as frozen as the ground above. I wonder though, if a triangular area in a corner, not more than about two feet high but out as far as necessary, was well insulated against the cellar air but not insulated at all towards the walls and floor, would the ground below be able to keep the inside of the box warm enough to fend off the colder air from the outside? Sort of a patch work fruit cellar?

The cellar may in fact be the best place in the house to hole up if things got bad. It will be easier to keep the cold at bay if you're half underground to start with. In an extreme case, you might pull the insulation from the attic and put it on the cellar ceiling. Or, lay in some insulation and even comlete the job in advance.

If nothing else, this preparation business is an enjoyable mental exercise. While I certainly hope there is not so much as a light flicker at midnight, I am enjoying the challange of the preparation and there is no down side to doing so. Whatever I might do to prepair will certainly not be wasted. Much of this stuff could/should/would have been done anyway but we were just too lazy or other to rush it. Like cleaning the house when company is coming... You do a better job because you have a special reason. :-)

BTW; if you're stuck away down in the cellar and there is no electric door bell anymore; take the wire off the bell transformer and hook it across a nine volt battery and a small buzzer or tone alarm which can be obtained from Radio Shack for a couple of dollars. They can also be used for intruder trip wires. Hook one to a micro switch and then lay a weight on the switch to keep it open. If the weight gets pulled off the switch for any reason, the alarm sounds. Some of them give a choice of warble or steady tones so you can tell which switch was triggered if you have two of them connected; even if they're only front and rear door bell buttons.

I'll appreciate any comments.



-- Floyd Baker (, October 15, 1998


I'm also in the Northeast. Rather than charcoal, I'm soon to purchase a coal stove and quantity of coal. Like charchoal, it stores easily, doesn't rot, doesn't invite bugs, won't be high on a looter's list, and with a properly installed stove is safe and WARM. Charcoal is a good idea, but I agree with your concerns about the dangers.

Note that the car will be good on sunny WINDLESS days. A strong wind will keep the inside temperature of a car frigid. Perhaps you'd want to plan ahead by parking on the less windy side of a house, or creating an artificial wind barrier.

Your battery operated door sensor idea has some merit.

-- Ron Southwick (, October 15, 1998.

Floyd, charcoal produces large amounts of carbon monoxide (poisonous) and should be used outdoors.

-- Gayla Dunbar (, October 15, 1998.

Ohh? Thought is was lots of carbon DI-oxide. Worse than I thought then. There was a time when I was one of several people sitting in a van around a hibachi. When someone stood up, they fell over. Then they would stand up again and proceed to fall over again. Thank god for the call of nature; the only way we became aware of our impending deep sleep.

Thanks for the additional insight.


-- Floyd Baker (, October 15, 1998.

Floyd it sounds like you need the lesson I teach all my kids. I call it "how to keep from freezing in the woods if you get lost in the winter". Its a sort of 5 step process.

1. Get into a grove of decidous trees (trees with leaves). You can use pine branches if you must but will have to break them off of the trees.

2. Find a fallen tree, hopefully one with a large fork, or two fallen near each other.

3. On the side of the tree (or bank or whatever is the best you can find) that is out of the wind, pile up leaves from the ground several feet deep and hold them down with branches.

4. Carefully burrow into the leaves with your legs first, trying not to disturb the leaves.

5. Pull the rest of your leaves over your body and head (yes you can still breathe) and secure as well as you can with branches.

This trick will keep you warm if done correctly. You have to have at least a foot of leaves between you and the ground, and a foot or more all around you for it to work. In the woods around here, 6 inches of leaves on the ground is not uncommon, so this is a good thing to know. You can use pine or cedar branches, but it takes longer to break off the branches. They don't have the same tendency to blow away if it is windy though.

-- Paul Davis (, October 15, 1998.

I'm hoping you're right about 'warm box'. Since I want to have some canned goods, I want to build what we normally would consider a 'cold room', here. It's a room, preferably in a corner of the basement that is insulated against the rest of the house, but not against the outside, underground walls. I'm hoping that we will be able to store non-freezable goods in a room like that. I appreciate the idea of using a heat source in it to ensure it stays above freezing, with a thermometer so I can know. A typical January here sees about 1-2 weeks of -30 weather, especially at night. Brrr!

-- Tricia the Canuck (, October 15, 1998.

If the water pipes freeze those in colder parts will have a lot of plumbing repair work on their hands down the road. They already know this. Lacking power or heat the only way is to drain 'em all.

-- Tom Carey (, October 21, 1998.

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