Another Y2K Prep thread : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

Anita has some great thread going. This one is an email that I sent to each of my adult sons, one of whom will be returning to the US in October after two years overseas. One is a DGI, the other is at the age when he'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow. The intent is to convince them that it isn't hard to get started. Covers a lot of ground. Maybe there's something here others can use.

Thanks to Anita Evangelista, who unknowingly contributed a food list in her book How to Develop a Low-Cost Family Food-Storage System. I modified this list by substituting long storage life items and canned items because the families I'm trying to influence aren't/can't do their own canning (Can you imagine passing through customs, declaring 250 quarts of canned veggies? :))


Official Preparation Policies

As I read the news today, the following -- theyre the ones I know about -- are suggesting that people make preparations for Y2K:


American Red Cross

San Diego

State of California

Dade County, FL

Polk County, IO

..........and a host of cities scattered around the country.

FEMA and the Red Cross recommend a minimum of a 3-day supply of food and water and note that the 3-day number is based on the time lapse until federal help can be expected to arrive in a normal emergency.

John Koskinen, heading up the Presidents Council on Y2K notes that federal help can not be expected at the local level. Its a local thing, he says. Youre on your own! (That means the 3-day preparations wont cut it.) Dade County (Miami, FL) and San Diego County, recommend a much longer period of self reliance -- at least 10 days, and Polk County, IO weighs in at 30 days.

Everywhere we read of companies and federal, state, county or city agencies that are preparing. What we dont hear are most governments actively urging people to prepare. You dont get articles telling the general public what to do, nor what theyll need.

Ive read theory after theory about this. In my belief -- and this is only my opinion -- the reasons for lack of official government preparation instruction are two-fold:

1. Mass preparation could result in substantial withdrawal of money from the banking system which is the catalyst for bank runs, which -- in turn -- would devastate the economy. The worst thing that could happen to an administration is to preside over the resulting crash. 2. Urging people to prepare for the effects of Y2K presents the picture that we will fail. The picture of failure might lead programmers to check it in and leave, especially if they are currently working in such safe havens as New York City, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC. If programmers walk off the jobs, we will fail. Most programmers will stay around for a while if they think theyre doing some good. If programmers stay, many problems can be fixed and the results will be less dangerous than if they arent around. It is the governments hope that enough will get done that results are minor bumps rather than severe disruptions.

This becomes a gamble. If those who pursue this course are correct then their policy will minimize the effects of Y2K But, if not enough is done, the impact can be horrendous -- made worse because the public will be unprepared. The risks far outweigh the costs of prudent preparations.

I urge you to prepare for disruptions.

What is Preparation -- What Do People Need to Do?

The following will be priorities and are briefly discussed:

Water and sewage


Shelter, including heat and lighting (especially in the northern parts of the country)

Medical needs

Transportation, including fuel


Water purification, water distribution and waste water treament are generally well behind schedule all throughout the county. The GAO report on states and municipalities show that few water/waste water plants are very far along with regard to remediation. A human being can survive without water for only 3 days, and the effects of polluted water or failure to treat waste water properly can result in disease and even death.

The recommended minimum of potable water is 1 gallon per person per day. A 30 day supply of water would require about 30 gallons per person. (Two people could make it on the contents of a 55-gallon drum of water.)

55-gallon drums have been available at SAMs for $23. A 200 gallon plastic water tank can be purchased on the web through for $79. Used 2 liter and 3 liter soft drink bottles (much better than the 1 gallon bottles used to purchase water in stores) can be recycled free of charge. Even if one buys the gallon milk jug bottles of water, hoping they dont deteriorate before needed, the expense of stockpiling 60 gallons of water for two people would only be roughly $50.

There is little reason -- other than blind faith in government assurances that well be OK -- for anyone not to store water.


This becomes an issue if water pressure is lost since then water isnt available to flush toilets, and its an issue if the electric companies lose power (unless the water company purchased emergency generators). Without water pressure, you cant flush. If you cant flush, you need some way to get rid of sewage.

A simple way is to make use of a 5-gallon plastic bucket and trash bags that fit the bucket. Put the bag in the bucket, take a toilet seat from an existing toilet and sit it on the bucket. Use the bucket until it needs to be emptied, tie the trash bag and remove it. In cold weather the bag can be set outside to freeze. In a warm climate it may have to be buried or disposed of at some central facility.


How is your home heated? Do you need electricity? Gas? How will you cope if you lose your heating source?

Alternate heat sources can be a kerosene heater, or propane heaters. Any alternate source needs fuel, so that fuel must be stored and stored safely. Use a kerosene heater only with a window cracked a little for ventilation. Not nice, but better than freezing.

You dont have to heat an entire house. One room will do. You dont need to heat it to 80 degrees ......warm clothing helps. So do sleeping bags, lots of get the idea.

Lighting? Oil (kerosene) lamps are still available, even though they have periodically been in short supply. Candles? Propane lanterns (these also put out heat!). Just don't think you'll get these things on December 31.


The average American household barely has food enough for 3 days as things stand now. Witness the rush to grocery stores when a hurricane or a winter storm is announced. Many Americans pick up dinner on the way home from work. Isnt a 30 day supply asking a lot?

Anita Evangelista, who has authored several books on self-sufficiency kept track of the food her family of four uses in a month. Anita does a lot of canning and home preparation, so her list uses a lot of home prepared foods. I have modified Anitas list to provide a 30 day supply for those who currently dont can and who pick up food every night on the way home. My modifications extend to providing storable foods for those who arent in to home storage, eg., canned dried mashed potatoes, instant non-fat milk, dried butter and cheese sauces, dried eggs are substitued for fresh varieties, and cans of fruit and vegetables are assumed to be purchased in a store. Remember, this is for 4 people.

20 cans meat products*

2, #10-cans mashed potatoes**

15 pounds dried beans 15 pounds pasta

15 pounds rice

30, #10 cans fruit

30, #10 cans vegetables

25 pounds flour

1, #10 can dried butter

1 lb. dried eggs***

4 pounds coffee

1, #10 can dried cheese***

2 pounds corn meal

1 pound salt

3 pounds sugar or honey

10 loaves bread****

5 pounds oatmeal and 4 boxes breakfast cereal, or other combinations that will provide cereals for breakfast daily. May include small one person packets of instant cereal.

2, 4-lb (20 quart) boxes instant non-fat milk. Supplement with fresh milk if available.

1 can shortening or 1 gallon vegetable oil (or both)

Yeast, baking powder and baking soda, spices, raisins, nuts, and other extras as kitchen normally uses.

* Corned beef, tuna, chicken breasts, etc.

** Idahoan brand, available at Walmart, Krogers, etc.

*** My source: Custom Dried Food,

****Freeze bread until it must be taken from freezer, either to use or because of power outage.

First, thats not an insurmountable list for anyone to store up. Second, its affordable. Third, everything is available locally except for the dried butter and dried cheese sauce. The point is that having a 30-day supply of food on hand is only prudent.


Coleman propane 2-burner stoves are available for less than $40 (Walmart). Lay aside several of the small bottles of propane, which should be ample for 30 days, or invest in a 20 pound tank plus a hose set to operate the stove. Other choices include kerosene camping stoves or the Coleman gas stoves. My own preference is for the propane for short duration use, followed by kerosene. The gas stoves require a fairly flamable fuel and present more of a fire hazard. Add more fuel if you expect problems to last longer, but get started now.

Medical Needs

This includes any medicine prescribed. It is recommended that you ask your doctor for addition prescriptions and lay aside several months supply.

In addition, a good first aid kit should be kept on hand. The best source of complete first aid kits are camping and outdoor supply outfits. The kits dont contain a bunch of any one item, but generally contain lots of items. Note: I had occassion to open two first aid kits last weekend when I got a splinter. [Having had a recent hip replacement, I am very sensitive to infection now because such could easily spread to my new joint!!] My car comes with a kit in the back shelf. It was worthless -- it contained every bandage known to man and nothing else. I found everyhting I was looking for:


iodine-providone soaked pad (clean up wound and kill bacteria) antibiotic ointment (long term protection agains infection),


in a $16 kit I bought at a camping store.

Transportation, Including Fuel

Fuel will the major Y2K transportation problem. How quickly things might shut down depend on the electric power available: no power, no fuel. But, I would anticipate fuel shortages regardless of whether or not power is available. It would seem prudent to keep enough fuel on hand to allow one to reach an emergency destination if this is required.

One federal official noted that it would be wise to keep the car gassed up, an executive with the American Petroleum Association countered that if everyone tried to fill their car at once there wouldnt be enough gasoline.

A prudent minimum fuel plan would include the use of 5 gallon plastic containers (not stored in the house!!!!!), with a gasoline stabilizer (Stabil, PRI-G) added, and a careful watch to preclude the combination of the stored fuel and gas in the car dropping below the level needed for emergency travel. Larger containers are an option.


Any thoughts or additions? Remember, I'm trying to convince family to prepare for 30 days.

-- de (, July 20, 1999


underline off.

-- Don Armstrong (, July 20, 1999.

Thanks, Don

-- de (, July 20, 1999.

You're welcome. That's what we're here (this world) for, or it ain't much sense at all.

-- Don Armstrong (, July 21, 1999.

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