Y2K Drills and lessons learned

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This thread is categorized under "Preparations - General".

Sometimes an overlooked aspect of preparing for Y2K, especially for those relatively new to the subject, is practicing to do without something normally just taken for granted. What I mean by this specifically is holding Y2K drills, to learn first-hand what additional preparations you may need and where any improvements to existing preps could be made. It is better to find these things out ahead of time then during an actual emergency. Therefore, Y2K drills are an important part of your preparations. Electricity is just one example. Think about what is involved in deliberately turning off your juice for a short period, then do it. You will no doubt learn some valuable lessons. Try doing it a second time for a longer period, and you can test how the prep changes and additions from the first drill actually work out, as well as probably learn about other improvements.

In addition, perhaps you will experience an accompanying sense of pride in the knowledge that you have increased your self-reliance. This is no small thing. Do you live in an area where there has ever been a natural disaster? Self-reliance drills will help you in other situations besides Y2K. You may also find a new appreciation for what previously was just taken for granted, which has a value all its own. Perhaps the forum can use this thread to post lessons learned by those of us who have already had drills so that Y2K newcomers can see the efficacy of taking the time to actually do it.

Two cents: We have held Y2K drills over the last year or so, lasting from just a few hours on up to four days. We have held them primarily in summer and winter. Each drill has proven valuable. Even the children (with a bit of planning) have enjoyed them, and more importantly, have learned from them. The old adage practice makes perfect comes to mind. Given the continuing high level of Y2K uncertainty, even a well-planned drill may not result in practice makes perfect, but it most assuredly can be said practice makes better. Some of the most important lessons that we have learned so far are that just about everything takes longer than normal and requires doing things a bit differently and with more planning. The biggest lesson probably was that no matter how carefully we plan, there is no substitute for testing to see where the holes are. It is the rare person indeed that can think of everything, and there are always improvements that can be made to prep plans. We intend to hold at least two more drills before the rollover.

Your turn now. If you also have held Y2K drills, please consider posting about them here.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), July 22, 1999


Well, we haven't actually tested yet. But when we came up north in May, we had one antique (?) trailer and an extension cord that we ran to the refrigerator. We did have some modern conveniences as we could go take a shower at my sons house and we can run water from his garden hoses instead of hauling it from the creek. We took down all window and door coverings so we could see well enough to clean the place up as birds and other critters had dwelled here at times.Then level the trailer and then start on the septic tank.

Talk about cultural shock! But it's worth it when you wake up in the morning and all there is are birds singing and trees outside your windows.

-- sue (deco100@aol.com), July 23, 1999.

We have't done any Y2k testing yet - but we have been tested. It can be very warm here in central Florida in late spring. A couple of months ago our air conditioning was out for 3 days and my wife and I had to stay outside part of the time to keep cool. Then a week later our electric was out for eight hours and we had to navigate through the house with candles. Each time we joked that this was a Y2k drill.

I think Y2k testing is a great idea. It will get us used to living without the comforts we take for granted. Regardless of y2k we should all practice letting go of what we have. Last summer we had the fires here. One Saturday they evacuated the county above us. Some of those people had only five and ten minutes to get out. Smoke was in the air and it was very hot. We live in a very wooded area and we were concerned we might be next to evacuate. We quickly sorted through pictures, paperwork, and other items. We packed them in a duffle bags and put them in the trunks of our cars. What happened next was very different. We sat in our family room and slowly just let go of all of our possessions, our house, and accepted the idea that we might lose it. Unlike tornado or fire victims, we had the luxury of time to let it go. Fortunately, nothing happened.

My point is we have no idea what will next year will bring. I think it's important to practice what we're are going to do if we lose power and etc. But I also think we should prepare mentally for any loss. I guess I've lived in Florida too long. Six months out of the year we wait to get slammed by a hurricane.


-- bookworm (bookworm_2@hotmail.com), July 23, 1999.

Well, we've had the power go out a couple of times this summer. Important lesson: ration your light resources. Not every flashlight or oil lamp needs to be burning. There doesn't need to be a light in every room. When y2k power outages hit, we won't know how long it will be before power goes back on. Be conservative with your resources.

Also went tent camping this last weekend. We used more matches and more water than we thought we would. Buy more matches!! Store more water!!!

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), July 23, 1999.

I spent some time last winter after my small wood stove arrived practicing various meals and baking (dutch oven or small camping stove on top of the wood stove). I learned that yes, indeedy, I can bake on top of the wood stove, but regulating the heat in the oven is difficult, and except for the most frigid days, I had to throw a window wide open.

I needed to become far more proficient than I was at starting the wood stove.

I was surprised at how little light an oil lamp gives out.

Make sure you know where all your emergency provisions are, especially things like lighting. I have been collecting for most of a year and much of it is scattered throughout the house.

I haven't practiced with all of my supplies yet, and that concerns me. Especially my prized water filter.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), July 23, 1999.

One of the comments about starting a wood fire is SO true. Have burned wood off and on for 10 years. Still, starting a real wood fire an art. People who haven't done it before really need: Many matches, newspaper, BIRCH---ESPECIALLY BIRCH BARK, skill in splitting for kindling, and practice --- it can be frustrating, especially if youre cold. Set up right, newspaper and birch bark start fires better even than lighter fluid (which is not recommended and can be dangerous).

-- Jon Johnson (narnia4@usa.net), July 23, 1999.

We had a winter power outage a while back and thought we were prepared. I remember that initally all I could think about was a warm cup of coffee. I forgot where the camp stove was, where the matches were. Found out the fondue pot could heat water, but much slower.

We learned from that to organize materials where they can be located quickly. We increased the amount of candles. Because of Y2K, in addition to the small candles we already had, we purchased six day candles for a year. We also tested and tried out the new butane one burner stove. Practiced hooking up the small propane refrigerator we have.

As a type of drill, I revisit where all supplies are located and work to evaluate ease of quick access and usage in a crisis mentality.

We are presently working on bug out bags. Discovered our Kadalyn water filter can be easily carried in my long suit bag. Also have five gallon collapsible water carrier, light weight sleeping bag, tent, three day food bar, extra set of clothes, flashlight, etc. The bug out bag has been an important part of our preparation, both practically and emotionally. I am concerned about the progress of the chemical companies and the possibility of evacuation because of chemical spill or fume release. Rehearsing how we will cope with the loss of the security of our home has been a process that continues to be difficult. IMHO, it is an important process to engage in.

Because I have MS, my bug out bag will make use of my small airplane carry on suitcase with wheels and collapsible handle. I can use bungie cords to strap sleeping bag and water filter suit bag on. Husband will carry tent and heavier supplies.

Whether a complete Y2K drill or mental rehearsal and supply storage organization for ease of access, drills and rehearsals of all types for Y2K are vital, IMHO.

All important is to consider in Y2K drills and reherrsal is emotional comfort in coping with the possible magnitude and longevity of changed circumstance and plan ahead for that. My inital reaction to the crisis of power outage was wanting a cup of coffee because I was so cold. Comfort for me with Y2K planning is coffee and hot cocoa. For my husband it is coffee, licorice and Snickers bars. Comfort for children might be hot cocoa and quick and easy access to a favorite game, toy, blanket or stuffed animal. We have a deck of cards to help provide some normalacy.

Practical rehearsals for Y2K are essential, physically and emotionally. It is important to remember the emotional part, IMHO. As I have said before, I believe most on this forum are in various stages of anticipatory grief about Y2K and it's implications. Our willingness to notice and allow ourselves to progress through the grief stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance is, IMHO, of absolute necessity to be adequately prepared for whatever Y2K will bring.

This forum offers support and information to help us through the process. The realization that physical, mental, and emotional preparation is a process that takes some time should prompt us to GET GOING as time is short.

It is my hope that the forum might continue beyond the year 2000 to offer information and suport as we cope with what Y2K brings.

-- Leslie (***@***.net), July 24, 1999.

Well, we seem to be experiencing power outages once a week for the last several weeks. This makes for great Y2K Drills. Lately I have been leaving the Generator locked up and doing without it to see how we do. After we went through the "Hey where did you put that ?" for the first couple of times, we have finally gotten into a pattern and can adapt pretty fluidly. The benefit so far is time with the family and time to READ! It seems like I almost forgot how.

Lessons learned:

Knowing where things are is VERY important no time to look for a lamp in the dark.

Know where your lamps are (along with Kero and matches) (pre-position them if possible) Move slowly in a dark house, lamps don't put out as much light as you are used to (Note kids toys are everywhere!)

Make sure you know where that "dratted" camp stove is (fuel too!)

Have alternative dish washing gear handy

Remember: Life slows down without power - enjoy it!

"Deep Woods Off" is Y2K Compliant

-- ExCop (yinadral@juno.com), July 27, 1999.

We did a test weekend in February over President's weekend. Little things we learned:

Aladdin puts out a HUGE amount of light compared to regular oil lamps. I hadn't gotten a shade and decided I needed one. Also got another Aladdin.

Interior bathroom NEEDED a candle all the time so as not to keep using matches. The ones in a jar (like the religious ones) burned continuously for 160 hours (not bad for a buck).

Took too long to make coffee. Didn't have instant. Got some instant to tide me over the first few days until new routines get settled. Other shortcut things - meals - would be good too as it DOES take more planning and time. Make it as easy as possible the first 72 hours to allow time to think things through, find gear, etc.

If water still works, doing dishes isn't much different EXCEPT I couldn't allow scraps to go down the garbage disposal drain. I compost, but still relied on garbage disposal to take care of junk left from washing dishes. Needed a second sink strainer and more attention to scraping dishes into compost before washing.

Needed to organize and spruce up supply of games, cards etc. and have plenty of kids books handy for amusement.

Very dark and cold in a garage without electricity. Not easy to find stuff lost in the clutter. Organize BEFORE disaster.

I'm really going to miss hot showers.

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), July 29, 1999.

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