Preparation and your second line of Defense. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Gang: This post is intended primarily for folks relatively new to Y2K.

Basic preparation for Y2K is your first line of defense. Contingency planning is your second line of defense against Y2K uncertainty, which there remains a lot of. It is important to formulate and to think through your own personal contingency plans. This should be included as part of your Y2K preparation. Government agencies are doing this. Private businesses are doing this. You should too. Naturally, you should first take care of Y2K essential preparations like shelter, water, food, etc.

Think of these plans as really just like having a different way of doing things. For example, if based on your research you thought there was a possibility of your being without electricity for a while, you may have purchased a solar or kerosene lantern so that you have light. Contingency planning here would simply be to ask yourself the what if question: What if my lantern breaks? Do I have a backup? A failure to do this means you have no light. You probably have bought some extra flashlights and candles, perhaps replacement parts for your lantern, or even additional lanterns. The main idea is to have light, even if what you are relying on primarily can no longer be relied on.

The above obviously is a very simple example which most people will have covered. Now think through EACH of your preparations and ask the what if question. One of the toughest ones for many folks is: What if you see that your current location is becoming unsafe and you need to bug out. Have you thought about this ahead of time? Where would you go? How would you get there? What would you take with you? Lots of things to consider. Visualize potential problems and solutions.

By trying to anticipate the unexpected in your thoughts, ahead of your need, you are more likely to be able to deal with problems since you will have at least thought about it and made some plans. You do not want to have to do this during an actual emergency. Do it beforehand. You will not think of everything. Probably nobody will. Yet you can take a moment and stop to think, make what plans you can, and feel better, safer, more prepared for uncertainty as a result. A little thought and planning now can go a long way later, and the thinking part is free.

-- Rob Michaels (, May 31, 1999


Those getting started will find Rob's advice helpful. Practice trial runs. Pick a weekend to go off the grid. I told my parents to imagine thier living room at about 25 degrees below zero and start thinking fast, and they certainly did! At first, the problems seem too many and unsolvable...not so! Your thought patterns must change. There IS time to cover many bases....there isn't any time for pontificating or hesitation. Sometimes people need to simply "let go and let God". Cancell your vacation to Florida and stay home getting ready (that money will buy alot of needed items instead)Get up, get moving. Stop procrastinating.

-- Will continue (, May 31, 1999.

<< What if you see that your current location is becoming unsafe and you need to bug out. Have you thought about this ahead of time? Where would you go? How would you get there? What would you take with you? Lots of things to consider. Visualize potential problems and solutions. >>

Something we are thinking about is what factors, exactly, are going to have to happen for us to move to our 'next' plan level. For example, we are in the process of deciding just 'how' bad - with specifics, ie., what level of local unrest will we tolerate, and for how long? What specific events will precipitate a swift move to 'Plan B'? What if you're prepared for moving to "Plan B' if "X", "Y", AND "Z" occur, but only "X" and "Y" happen, but they're worse than you originally thought? What if they all happen, but it looks like it's being managed? What if only "X" happens, and it looks like "Y" and "Z" won't (or will be 'contained' or to a lesser degree), but "X" is much worse than you had originally planned for? Lots and lots of "what ifs" to think about and plan for.

-- Wilferd (, May 31, 1999.

One of the simple "what if's" for me is... Fire.

"What if" there is a blackout situation, power's down, and many more households are using candles for light and "what if" one of my neighbor's houses catches on fire? "What if" we can't call for 911 help and can't put out the fire? "What if" a rapidly spreading fire started a mile, or two away? And "what if" the water won't pump?

(Sensitized to this issue because once had to evacuate with a whole 2,000-person town due to incoming forest fires).

Knowing what you need to be mobile, because under this contingency, there's no other choice, is just a smart back-up plan.

(As I learned from rude experience).


-- Diane J. Squire (, May 31, 1999.


Well my bug out bags are coming along rather slowly, and it's annoying that it is taking so long to put them together. Following the many ideas and recommendations found here and elsewhere, I am now planning three kinds of bug out bags. Those that could go on top of my truck (I call these BOBs), those that go on our backs (I call these human SUEs), and those that go on the dogs' backs (Dog SUEs). If I can, I am also getting a trailer for my truck and will pack it about November.

The BOBs are designed for an evacuation by car and involve many things useful to a camping group. I will be using rolling luggage-back packs from Eagle Creek. The Human SUEs are each designed for two people's most basic needs at a shelter or outside for one week. The Dog SUEs have food and water for one day, vitamins, and dog meds and first aid.

I am still working on my Human SUEs, so this is what I have right now:

BAG (Waterproof Backpacks from Cabelas Online at


2 Pair NASA socks (look like liners but supposed to do help fight the cold), 2 Pair Wool Hiking Socks, 2 pair NASA gloves (same as socks), and 2 cotton face masks (for cold faces) & 2 pairs of silk underwear.


Some duplication here as we all are poor fire starters: two brand new disposable lighters, 2 Bottles of NATO type wind proof-water matches, Magnesium Bar and Flint, and Fire starter pellets (25.)


One Packet of Premium Thirst Quencher (makes one Gallon of Electrolyte packed Drink, each in a resealable Zip Lock bag), One Collapsible 2 Liter Water Bag, One 32 Ounce Plastic Wide Mouth Water-Food Jug, Water Treament Pills (25), 12 Breakfast Bars in Box (box = kindling), 12 Tubes of Goo (food supplement for discrete use in shelter), 12 Sports Bars, One Bottle of GNC Multivitamin (Gender specific), and chocolate.


One Pack of Survival Cards in resealable Zip Lock Bag, one Boy Scout Handbook in resealable Zip Lock Bag, and C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe (make friends fast while reading to their kids!).

TOOLS AND WEAPONS: One Pocket Knife, one Leatherman Wave , One Cattle Prod (I'm joking!), Pepper Type Spray (pocket size), 100 ft of synthetic braided utility cord, 50 ft of 6 mil spec. cord, and riot-type plastic hand cuffs (5).






12 oz. of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap, One roll of very nice toilet paper, Wipe-Its Individual Packets (20), face cloth, one bottle of rubbing alcohol, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, and deodorant.


One small travel sewing kit, Ben's Max 100 Insect Repellent (Lotion 6 oz), Permethrin Spray Tick Repellent (6 oz), and 6 Blanket-size Safety Pins in resealable Zip Lock Bag, and 2 emergency space-type blankets.

There's some other things to get, but I'd like to hear you everyone's suggestions.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, May 31, 1999.

One expected event which will force evacuation is SEWER BACKUPS.
Now ppl laugh at that, but in the middle of Winter, when raw sewage streams in and collects 5 feet deep, and there's no hot water to clean it, and no way to stop it, the Fire Dept is going to force-condemn those buildings and evacuate for health reasons.

And guess what? You won't be allowed back in ... and almost all your stuff will be permanently ruined ...

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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, May 31, 1999.

Thanks to all for adding some very thoughtful comments to help the newbies. Keep them coming.

Stan: For signaling and communications I have things like whistles, signal mirrors, and a solar radio with flashlight/siren. Several first aid kits for camping, car, and a large one for at home that can be taken with us without taking up too much space. BTW, ever get that 'e' i sent you?

-- Rob Michaels (, May 31, 1999.

Ashton and Leska: Wasn't there a thread that told folks how to prevent or deal with the sewer backup problem?

Anyone have a link?

-- Rob Michaels (, May 31, 1999.

It may well be the case (assuming Yourdon is correct) that the single most serious threat we all face is unemployment. And don't expect any unemployment checks to arrive in a timely manner either. You can cut expenses for a while by living on stored food, but you probably can't trade your nice new expensive generator for the rent, and it may have no market value to speak of. And making big payments might be kind of a pain with small bills and coins.

And if unemployment is rampant (depressions are like that) finding work quickly won't be easy for most of us. Best to have a *lot* of money to live on. Which you won't if you spend too much on 'survival' items.

Decisions, decisions...

-- Flint (, May 31, 1999.

Yes, there were a bunch, excellent, where Robert Cook really explained the whole concept. Under "Utilities" in archives, long long ago in a time far away.

This is a SERIOUS problem! Many city's storm drain systems run into the sewer systems. The water/sewage is pumped to treatment stations before release. No electricity = no pumping; bad chips = no treatment, no pumping. Add no communication, add Winter. First day of New Year's, rains, pump's out, plenty of extra flushes because of all the anxiety & holiday overeating, and starting in the lower areas, oopsie poopsie.

And nobody will have any warning -- all of a sudden a gurgle sound, then, "Honey, what's that smell? Why is brown water coming out the bathrooms? And the sinks? And the dishwasher? And the shower?
OH S#!+ !!!!!!

And the pressure is too great to stop it. And it's still raining out ... TSHTF

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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, May 31, 1999.

As I recall Leska, someone said something about putting a ball in the line that would block the sewer back-up.



-- Diane J. Squire (, May 31, 1999.

Leska's thread is called Sewers backing up into houses and the link is:

a< href= msg.tcl?msg_id=000Esh> msg.tcl?msg_id=000ESh

-- Rob Michaels (, May 31, 1999.

try again (Duh). msg.tcl?msg_id=000ESh

-- Rob Michaels (, May 31, 1999.

If at first you don't succeed... msg.tcl?msg_id=000ESh

-- Rob Michaels (, May 31, 1999.

Looks like Word was autocorrecting my link! Fixed that but still doesn't take you to the thread. Any ideas?

-- Rob Michaels (, May 31, 1999.

Just a couple of thoughts....

The idea of being able to "bug out" quickly has its merits, and is certainly better than no plan at all. But numero uno should be to assess your primary location, how dependent it is on things that could be a problem with Y2K (include your neighbors!), etc. You can hardly bug out and bring with you what you need for any long period, unless you have a bug out location already outfitted with stored food, etc. Even then, it might be a challenge to get there if there is no electricity and the pumps are not working.

Following up from Flint, certainly having a lot of cash on hand makes sense. In my case, I recently cashed out on my 401k, and additionally put a chunk of it into gold and silver. Investing into barter items also makes sense, as in times when people are out of work and money is tight, bartering picks up.

-- Jack (, May 31, 1999.

(clarification) In my above post, I specifically meant that if the electricity is out then gasoline pumps may not be functional, in which case you are limited in how far you can travel.

-- Jack (, May 31, 1999.

If folks are so concerned and undecided about "whether, when, if, how, etc. perhaps they should get a cheap used camper for a truck or a used trailer to pull. Keep it loaded and ready to go. You could "what if" this thing until New Years Evil. They do not have this problem under control....get over it, now what? You aren't deciding which movie to watch tonight. You're going to have to ask yourself, what are you willing to risk by hanging around, waiting for a sign. Prioritize, fast. Conduct y2k triage and then do it. My parents are willing to walk away from thier mortgage, but then, they have us. a quick reality check. This is *JUNE 1999*. Don't just look at what's happening in this country. America is hooked up to the rest of the world like a life support system and something's about to pull the plug...FACT. NOBODY can give you "the answers". Are you scared? Do something. Are you worried? Do something.

-- Will continue (, May 31, 1999.

Hi all

I responded to a thread along these lines a while back I hope this helps.

First, the ball in a sewer line in the house would have to be placed either at the cleanout or with the toilet removed shoved in far enough to be beyond the first inlet from a fixture in the system (not practical) A back flow prevention device can be installed at the footing wall where the sewer line enters the house. This may be from 18" below the footing to 12 feet or more if a basement is installed in your house (not practical).

Secondly, the hydraulic pressures involved would far out strip the capabilities of the test ball or plug to withhold effluent from backing up into the structure. They are designed to be used by plumbers for testing the integrity of a line to about 5 lb. pressure. This only insures that the line is not leaking into the ground or water table, not for backup prevention.

Thirdly: The vast majority of sewer transmission lines are gravity lines. This means there are no pumps involved in the system until the treatment plant or low-lying area. But if not: If you have ever noticed those metal covers in the street about 2 feet in diameter, these are called manhole covers. Again the vast majority of these lids are below the floor levels of the structures using the system. Therefore the waste product, which by the way is close to 80% soapy water from baths, washing clothes, washing dishes, etc., will come up out in the street before it enters your house. Those structures which are below the level of the main trunk line would already have a pump or lift station installed, (this *can* be a problem). Those at risk because of the *possibility* of backup, normally would have to have been provided with a back flow prevention device in order to pass a plumbing inspection at the time it was built. Building codes are very specific about these things.( not 100% though).

Every year during the heaviest rains our systems become over taxed if it is an *combined* sewer and storm line. The rivers, bays etc take a terrible beating because of planned discharges. The treatment facility is always at the lowest point of the system of lines from neighborhood to "clean and release centers" close to a river or collection point. This means that the gravity system will overflow at this point, but the affected area will be localized.

The chances of accumulation in a structure are minimal, but if you are concerned you should call your local plumbing inspector and have him/her come take a look. He/She is a public servant and will normally be glad to schedule a time to come talk to you.


-- spun@lright (, May 31, 1999.

I'll try to link a couple of threads:

Link (I hope)


-- Gayla Dunbar (, May 31, 1999.

Yep, lotsa good threads, but it's still a problem! The storage apt. we have no longer has their blueprints, doesn't have any idea what their plumbing system is or where it is. Groan. And we're near a Hospital -- not good news for backup worriers! And the city just issued a newsletter proclamation:

"Notice of Water Service Termination (5-day shut off) door hangers will be delivered on June 3 to customers whose backflow device test reports have not been received by the Operations Center.

"To avoid interruption of water service, please be sure that test reports have been delivered to the city by one of the following methods: ...."

Sound encouraging? Crap!

Here's some Forum links with sewage discussions; there's more, but can't find them in labyrinthe archives. The uncategorized page alone takes a lloooonnnggg time to load!

sewage question

Sanitation/Sewage in the cities: Health risks???

Sewers Backing Up Into Houses?

Septic Tanks ... I mean Thanks? WARNING: Long story!

Okay, let's talk about backed up sewers, etc.

Back to the sewers... my mind must be in the gutter!

Sewer Systems

Found a Water/Sewer Site

Sewer backup during Y2K? NO PROBLEM! Put bike innertube in sewer pipe and start pumping!

Calling all Plumbers! How do you stop your toilet and drains from backing up?

How do I keep sewage from backing up into my home?

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-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, June 01, 1999.

I would add to the discussion that bugging out should absolutely be your last option. When you bug out, you become a refugee. Better to defend what you've got...unless of course you live in Megalopolisville with a population of ten bazillion and blood is running in the streets. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

If you are making bug out plans, you need to know where you are going as previously mentioned, and know it like the back of yore hand. Have some supplies already cached. There aren't many people that can trolley on out into the wilderness with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and a pocket knife in their pocket, and live more than a couple of days to brag about it. Having a backpack full of crap gets old fast when you are hoofing it. This is a last-ditch attempt to stay alive if this is what it comes down to, and you better know a little bit about it.

Not trying to burst anyone's bubble here folks...but every year here in Wyoming, people come here to play "great white hunter" and every year, at least a couple or three never go home. And these are people who have fully decked out RV's full of supplies. A hundred and one reasons for what went wrong. Can't possibly cover them all in one post, just remember that bugging out should not be taken lightly, and should be your last resort.

-- Don (, June 01, 1999.

Different solutions are needed and will be used by different people. There is no 'one way fits all' way of solving the same problem, since individual abilities and needs and means are different.

The main idea of this thread is simply to think through what can go wrong and what you can do as a result, and to do it before you are forced to by circumstance. Obviously, we do not throw prudence to the wind, and the more thought we give the better.

-- Rob Michaels (, June 02, 1999.

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