What's the top priority?

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With no one able to predict when the word will seep into the consciousness of the masses fully... what is the order of importance of your planning? Food, water, energy, moving, money reserves, security, what?

I had been trying to stockpile canned goods gradually to spread out the expense, but am getting worried now.


-- (frantic@emptyshelves.com), November 12, 1998


First of all, try to relax a little. I found that I was completely unable to act or make reasonable decisions for a while just because I was nearly hysterical. I had to struggle to get a grip, but if I could do it, anyone can.

Where will you be living? If you are in an urban area, and there's a way you could relocate, make a decision about that first. When you've decided if you will move, you can make decisions about shelter and energy, as well as security. For example, if you've decided to stay put, you can start looking at your options there. If you will move, you can decide what to seek in your new digs (like a well, a wood stove, room for a garden & some rabbits, etc.)

Then, when you know where you will be (or plan to be)living, and how you will get your water and energy, you can make decisions about defense, food (what kind, how much, can you replace it, etc..)

It's a step-by-step process. I got a piece of paper and wrote it down, kind of in a flow chart. You could list pros-cons for each decision, if you need to.

I know it feels like a waste of time to write or plot a course, but it sure beats running in circles and laying awake night after night until you look and sound an awful lot like Renfield... He-hee He-hee!!

You're already way, way ahead of most people, simply because you are aware and worried and willing to take action. Pat yourself on the back for having a big bunch of sense and courage, right now!!! (I don't heeeaaar any paaaatting!! Okay, maybe you could just shake smile at yourself a little, and say thanks to yourself for saving your fanny, and the fannies of your loved ones....)

Be chillin', 'kay?

-- Arewyn (nordic@northnet.net), November 12, 1998.

That's good advice from Arewyn.

When I started this I got a cramp in my stomach (knot) and decided I couldn't possibly do everything needed. Then I realized that this was no different that planning any project. So, every once in a while I pull out my Gant chart:

Order Date Receive Date item #k X-------------------X

item $# k+1 x-------------------X

with many many lines of this type. Drawing the thing up forced me to prioritize. What is most important to me? How long will it take to get it done? Do I have to do other things first? (for instance, before I store food in a root cellar, it would be nice to have a root cellar built........before moving it would be nice to have someplace to move to).

Now, factored into all of this is supply. Dehydrated storage food is operating on a long back order basis, so if you're thinking of ordering some, it might be a good thing to get into that long line.

On the other hand, if you're making do with canned food, and if the shelves haven't appeared too empty, you can do well by picking up only a little at a time. BTW, the last time I checked the 'use by' date on canned pineapple (acidic, short shelf life) had gone out to 2001, so most canned food from grocery stores will last.

Keep track of supply and demand. Learn new sources. As Walton Feeds began to choke on orders, new sources have opened up. These don't have immediate delivery, but some have delivery within 8 weeks.

What do you need? Everyone's different, so you'll have to plan for yourself. How long will you need it for? I'd plan differently if I was anticipating a 3 week food storage need than if I was planning for a year.

Take a deep breath, then plan. Once you've planned, do it. As obstacles pop up (they will), don't panic, just look for new sources, or for ways to make do without.

Put one foot in front of the other, and step out. You'll get there. As Arewyn said, you're well ahead of nearly everyone else.

-- rocky (rknolls@hotmail.com), November 12, 1998.

I offer a well used time planning technique. Write everything down that you can think of that you have to do.

Assign an A a B or a C priority to each item.

A is Urgent AND Has To Get Done. B is Important and Needs to get done, but not Urgent. C will eventually need to get done but is not urgent.

Once the A items are identified, then assign an A1, A2, A3... priority. Now you know where to focus first. Do this daily, and youll get done what you need to get done for Y2K preparations.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), November 12, 1998.

Oh, the useful book is "Getting Things Done" by Edwin Bliss. Don't know if it's still in print. It's short, sweet and to the point. Once knew a top manager at Memorex who gave a copy to all department heads, then told them to fix their areas. They did.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), November 12, 1998.

I would add that it is vitally important to NOT spend all your resources at once. Until you've had time to think things through carefully and research your many options, make no expensive or irreversible decisions.

But do continue to take ACTION -- a good, no-cost way to proceed is to simply inventory what you already have looking for what could come in very useful under a VARIETY of different scenarios.

You have already begun picking up a few extra canned goods (veggies will keep the best for the time being). Keep doing this.

As you do these things, continue to THINK and RESEARCH - don't make the mistake of assuming only ONE scenario is the only possible outcome. Stay as flexible as possible, as long as possible.

DO NOT make 'large decisions/actions' while you are feeling panic (but 'small decisions/actions' can help alleviate some of the panic).

Continually ask yourself "What assumptions does this proposed course of action make and what will be the consequences if my assumptions are wrong?" Don't be afraid to leave many questions unanswered for the time being. Many actions (e.g. gathering suitable foodstores) will fit well into a broad range of contingencies/scenarios.

It also helps to build your 'Y2K resilience' in steps - i.e I started by preparing to do without electricity/banking/water/essential services for a period of 1 day, then 2 days, then 1 week, and so forth... and I've STILL got some rather large decisions to make - for example, I'm exploring the cost of either a new hand-pumped well ($5000) or adding a hand-pump to my existing well (there is a difference of opinion here as to feasibility, cost and effectiveness).

The location thing is also bothering me - I would PREFER to stay where I am (a somewhat rural area in a county in Iowa with a population of 200,000) and help this area to prepare - but I'm not sure that will be possible and moving would present some rather difficult obstacles. We would have to sell the house we now have. I don't want to 'bail' on this area - I like it here -- but my attempts to educate those in the community have (for the most part) been met with disbelief and ridicule. Perhaps worse, in a few cases where I have been 1/2 successful (one partner 'gets it' and the other doesn't), I am now blamed for causing problems in the relationship. This is usually because one partner will research it and the other won't. I don't spend too much time worrying about this however - but I've no desire to be a martyr. I will do what I can in the time remaining but if serious preparations here are not underway by the end of Q1-99, I will not risk putting my family in jepordy by remaining. They are my top priority - not the people who refuse to listen and learn. We've been looking at more rural locations for some time now. But I acknowledge that if I wait too long, I risk not being able to act when I want to.

You've already identified the major areas of concern (water, food, shelter/location/heat, security). Consider also what is unique to your situation (health, family, etc).

Read the archives here and you'll no doubt find other people here who have similar needs and concerns. It helps to see what others are thinking/doing but remember that these are just EXAMPLES and do not necessarily apply to your particular situation.


-- Arnie Rimmer (arnie_rimmer@usa.net), November 12, 1998.

Since becoming aware of the severity of the problem, I have skimmed every post in this forum and kept the ones that contain my choice of keywords. BTW; I think its getting busier every day.) The arguments, levels, and degree of impact are not important to me anymore. I believe we are in for a major problem and that I cannot fully prepare for it. I'm somewhat cavalier in my thinking, and some of this has shown in my posts, but expect this is a subconscious attempt to keep an objective head. I am very worried but it does seem to work. I also understand what one person meant when she said she was getting some perverse enjoyment out of this. Preparing is a challenge; a contest that is an exercise for the mind. It is a learning experience. Something different. I just wish it was here (and gone) already, so I could get on with my life, one way or another. :-)

At this point I am thinking TEOTWAWKI, with the hope y2k will meet me half way or better. I know it will come to us, wherever we are, and that x-y crossing will determine our "comfort" level.

Personally, at my beginners level of preparing, I read all I can about methods and other information from the web and print it for future reference. We are building notebooks on the subjects of water treatment, collection and storage, food preparation and storage, self medical help, FEMA, How To's, etc. in addition to buying a few books on those items plus basic chemistry, physics, etc. Alternatives may have to be devised at any time but only if you know if and how they can be done. This forum is also a great help and I have a lock on many of the posts to make notes from or print out as we go along.

In the mean time; I think, and try to follow everything to all the possible final outcomes in my mind, then try and cover them. As an example; what about the smell of baking fresh bread you emit into the neighborhood? It may be a problem if it passes under the wrong noses at the wrong time.

Just sit in your chair and imagine scenarios. Think what you would do and, more importantly, what you would want to have available at that moment. Carry things out to their conclusions and then go on in your head for a day, a week, a month, etc. It becomes very clear, very fast what you will need.

There seems to be a concensus that water it of utmost importance; but only when that system fails. You have to plan on it but food (and other needed items) can become a more important, and much sooner, if and when the store shelves get emptied through panic buying next summer/fall; not to mention later. Buy now or pay later. Try and get barrels and/or other water containers collected but, most certainly, it seems you will need to have food available *prior* to 1- 1-2000. For quick, large amounts, we have gone back to our childhood again, during the war and rationing, etc. Beans! They can be prepared in very tasty methods with tomatoes, maple syrup and other additions. For bulk, nutrition, easy storage and cost, they are hard to beat. In a trial run, we bought and prepared three quarts of 15 bean soup for less than a dollar. Its delicious. If you pack away 25 or 50 lbs/person of various types of beans, kept dry and dusted in food grade D-E, (available at a garden nursery) you can whip up a meal any time you want for quite a long time. I also think that similarly stored rice and other grains, cooked and mixed into the soup, will combine all those seperate amino acids and produce much of the protein you need. Of course; a few other types of food would be nice for variety and a breath of fresh air once in awhile. ;-)

For energy, if you don't already have a fireplace, cheap and easy seems to be kerosene. Notwithstanding the need for some ventilation and reasonable care, home heating types appear to be very efficient and thereby very safe as far as fumes are concerned. The fuel can be collected in small increments from rental stores and other locations and poured into garbage pails if nothing better. Bulk delivery costs about a buck a gallon but requires 150 minimum delivery around here. Still, that's probably a good minimum to have. The fire hazzard is minimal. You can throw a lit match into a bucket of kerosene and it will go out. Please don't try this inside the house. I have been known to be wrong at times.

I'm not even thinking about having or needing money during this 2k changeover period. Not that I have much anyway. If my monthly income is to suffer because of no electric or other reasons, there is nothing we do can do that will prevent it. Nothing worth thinking about and we will just have to get into something else when the time is right. Likely, everyone else will be in that same boat anyway. Not to worry. Right? Barter is probably a better thought. Cheap expenditures now can bring greater returns later, or at least you won't have to buy anything yourself for a long time after things return to normal. As has been mentioned, toilet paper. Then there is also salt, hair shampoo, seeds, hard candy, pads and pencils, throw away razors, and many more small items, not necessarily needed for survival, that can be expected to be in great demand, and increasingly so, until normality begins to return.

Just my ideas. It I had time for oxygen absorbers and other such things, it would be the way to go. Right now I don't see 5-8 year requirements simply because I can't afford them and just don't have time to get "that" ready. Just looking to get as far as the time remaining will allow. Realistically, that means about six months over the 99/00 winter. As we progress towards the end of that period, I guess we will learn to cope further, if necessary; or else.


-- Floyd Baker (fbaker@wzrd.com), November 12, 1998.

Exactly what will happen in the future is unknown. People will have various beliefs that will change over time. The most important considerations in any eventuality are who and where (we already know that when=next few years).

Survival Risks exposed to will depend mostly on these two factors. They are closely related, and they both tend to correspond to socioeconomic level. Most people have chosen who they are to live with in the same house (Who are housemates) and change is not appropriate. This leaves who do you work with and who are your neighbors. These often follows implicitly from Where (although with the internet you can work with anyone anywhere).

Improving where you live is the most important aspect of preparation, both in terms of the domicile architecturally and the location geographically and demographically.

Architecturally many options exist, divided into above-ground and below-ground. Below ground is safer, but more expensive (underground safe homes cost a million dollars). Physical security, self- sufficiency, and reasonable population density (both housemate and neighbor density) the are the main concerns.

Geographically, the more temperate climates are preferable, but water supply, ecological status, and politics will factor into the selection. Location is better away from areas overpopulated, of violence-prone demographic, or at risk for toxic release. Selecting the exact latitude and longitude (which selects resources and initial structures) where you make home is the most critical step. The structure needs to be sturdy enough to withstand a big bad wolf or an angry mother nature coming around.

Each person is responsible for placing themselves out of harm's way. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't help others. One also bears responsibility for assisting housemates and neighbors both in preparation and in need. Preparation has to be as widespread as possible, otherwise the better prepared are at higher risk and would require increased defense and fortification. Safety in numbers, spread the data.

-- Jon (jonmiles@pacbell.net), November 12, 1998.

My top priority, when I became fully aware (if there's such a thing..I'm becoming more fully aware still each day ;)) was to get to a safer place. I live too close to a major city. (First I had to make my husband fully aware and convince him.) All my energy was put into this one goal. I couldn't start stockpiling until I knew exactly where I'd be, and had posession of this new place. It wasn't easy to convince my husband. (I thought for a while he might be right and I would need to consult a shrink, but only because I was near hysterical ;)) I now have a small house in a Y2K safer place, with lots of clean water sources, on higher ground and far enough away from major cities. It's also in a "y2k friendly" community. (Ok, I ran for the hills, I admit it. I don't care what anyone thinks or says, I'm doing what I think is the best for my own family and situation.) We happen to be able to afford an extra small house, but if we weren't, I would have insisted we sell our present home. Nothing was going to stop me from moving far away from the city.

My next priority was to make my extended family fully aware and get them to prepare too. I don't want to have to feed and protect them while strugling myself if I can help it now (this is still an ongoing process.)

I'm now on my third priority, stockpiling and preparations. I've started with my first batch of canned goods at a Club Price type of store. I now need to really get serious and write down a detailed plan. What I need, where to get it, etc. I have printed loads of info gathered from this site and have many good ideas, but I need to organise it, brake things down, and take it one step at a time.

I feel relaxed and motivated since I got my first priority out of the way. Things are in motion. I feel good and can sleep at night. I had been stressed out and upset for the past 6 months. I can now enjoy life, with a new outlook. I take each day as a gift and appreciate every little "wonders" of life, it's like the knowledge of what's to come finally opened my eyes to the everyday little wonders and security, things I've always taken for granted. I plan to enjoy and relish the next few stable coming months to their fullest.

If it turns out we don't need this Y2K little house, I'll turn it into our vacation home, and give to charity the excess food. I expect the worse, but hope for the best.

(The preceeding was a the plans and priorities in the life of one of many determined little women on this planet.)

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), November 12, 1998.

Start with the basics; water, food, heat. Then work on the rest. As we get closer and things look worse you will want to buy more, so buy as much as you can now before the rush.

-- Bill (bill@microsoft.com), November 12, 1998.

Think Big. Consider converting a bedroom to a pantry if you can. Then BUY OR MAKE VERY STURDY SHELVES. It does no good to have stuff you cant find or readily inventory and keep track of. STAY ORGANIZED and keep a list of how much of what you have and where it is and what special needs that item requires ie. keep cool, keep dry, keep in dark etc, and where co-required items may be found. You have the lantern, but cant find the mantles or the lighters but cant find the flints or fluid.

-- Ann Fisher (zyax55b@prodigy.com), November 13, 1998.

I agree with this last answer: we happen to have an extra bedroom due to the heartbreak of secondary infertility (we are now actually kind of happy at the thought of just one child to protect) and turned it, literally, into a stockroom. Piled high with canned goods, potato flakes, instant rice, oatmeal, sugar, etc. Also candles, candles and more candles, kerosene lamps, batteries, flashlights, etc.

I know how the original poster feels: when I first "got it" I walked around for a week with a killer stomach ache and a pounding headache, I was soooo worried. Action takes the worry away, mostly. Few weeks ago we bought two cords of wood --it was so much we had to put it in three different places, but that is fine. Next purchase, 4 each 55 gallon FDA approved drums for water storage. We are not spending any money on nonessentials--every extra penny either gets socked away or spent on preparation. BTW, I always say this: LEARN FIRST AID AND CPR! Buy first aid manuals, EMT training manuals, anything you can get your hands on. I have a terrible feeling you won't just be able to call 911 come 1/1/00, maybe before.

Quietly Preparing in Texas

-- Quietly Preparing (bil_n_kellie91@hotmail.com), November 18, 1998.

Not an answer, but a question.

To those who have already addressed this kind of question in another thread, please take time to jot down the thread and where it can be found. Please excuse me, but sometimes I really have a hard time tracing down and locating a recommended thread. I'm sure this question or one like it has already been addressed. I'd like to see what was written early on also.

To me (and obviously others) the question of "top priority" is just that, top priority. Others who also are "frantic" need the help of those of you who have already been down this road. We need your experience. Thanks for listening.

-- JoB (jbabinsky@theriver.com), November 18, 1998.

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