Do's and Don'ts of Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


DOs and DON'Ts of Y2K These recommendations reflect a broad swath of opinions, some far more conservative than others. For example, the Red Cross recommends preparations to last three to seven days; California and Florida, seven to 10 days; Canada, two weeks. Some experts insist on longer. Your goal should be to achieve a level of comfort for you and your family, based on your personal inventory list and your educated concerns about Y2K. For the purposes of this list, it's assumed that there may be some difficult situations, but it won't be the end of the world as we know it. USA TODAY's M.J. Zuckerman looks at the do's and don'ts:


DO make all possible preparations as soon as you can.
DO plan on spending a fair amount of time checking, upgrading and preparing your home computer and software applications. PC and software makers typically are providing consumer-friendly information and upgrades at their Web sites.
DO create a basic "disaster supply kit," including water, food, first-aid supplies, clothing, bedding, tools, emergency supplies and special items. Check the Red Cross' Web site ( for specifics.
DO stockpile some basic foods, enough to get through a week to 10 days without going to the store.
DO keep extra cash on hand, perhaps enough to live on for an entire week.
DO keep detailed records of your finances for the last six months of the year and continuing into 2000. And watch carefully for financial oddities, such as unexplained transfers or deductions or decimal points in the wrong places.
DO keep stock certificates, insurance policies and other records in a safe, fireproof container.
DO keep battery-operated lights, specially designed, long-burning emergency candles, or kerosene lamps and necessary supplies.
DO have an alternative means of cooking if you are dependent on electricity. Propane camping stoves are ideal for this purpose.
DO consider alternative means for heating your home, such as kerosene heaters and efficient wood stoves. Keep sufficient supplies stored safely. Make sure the chimney is clean.
DO store enough water for a minimum of three to seven days' use -- a gallon per person per day for drinking and cooking, according to the Red Cross, or up to 4 gallons per person per day if you plan to rig makeshift showers. Some states are recommending storing a two-week water supply.
DO refill prescriptions so you always have a supply for seven to 10 days on hand.
DO consider how you could operate your home, for three to seven days at a time, without electricity.
DO keep your car's gas tank at or above half-full. Have a system for siphoning gasoline, such as the small hand pumps available at hardware stores.


DON'T assume that Jan. 1 is the only date to worry about. Some problems have surfaced, and others are expected to continue for months after New Year's Day.
DON'T assume that having gone through the upgrade process, you are safe. Back up files and systems wherever possible.
DON'T forget that even after Y2K is a memory, the Federal Emergency Management Agency endorses the "disaster supply kit" as a staple of every safe home.
DON'T count on frozen foods; canned and dry foods are a better bet.
DON'T close out your bank account and stash large amounts of cash around your home. ATMs are least likely to fail, and large amounts of cash make you vulnerable to theft.
DON'T panic if you see some oddity. Your documents will help prove your case, and the federal government insures your accounts.
DON'T take everything home from a bank safe-deposit box. That exposes you to an increased chance of loss. Besides, even in a worst-case scenario -- if the bank loses power or the vault door locks -- documents are safer there than at home.
DON'T use decorative, common long candles for light; they are unstable and a fire hazard.
DON'T operate a barbecue gas grill or charcoal grill in the house.
DON'T count on a fireplace to heat your home -- unless specially installed, it will draw off more heat than it provides.
DON'T bother with bottled water. Fill large containers with tap water. Five-gallon plastic containers can be stacked in a garage and easily carried; 55-gallon drums require hoses and pumps; inexpensive 200-gallon vinyl water bags are available through camping outlets. If you store large quantities of water, you also might need some method of purifying it.
DON'T horde prescriptions; that action might deny someone else easy access.
DON'T assume a large generator is the only answer. A small generator, if operated safely on an extension cord outside, can run any number of appliances, one at a time. And battery-operated lights and radios are essential.
DON'T store gasoline or other fuels inside your home.

-- Helium (, December 01, 1999


Not bad, but I wish to take the time to bring up two caveats:

1) Water-packed canned goods are a bad idea for Y2K food stockpiling (due to freeze rupture risk) for people in the northern 3/4 of the U.S., including those with alternate heat sources. This is because of the risk of freezing temperatures (ruining your canned goods keeping ability) still exists; wood-burning stoves do go out, liquid- fueled stoves clog, etc. Now, oil-packed sardines/tuna/corned beef the lard-packed cans of sausages Latins favor, etc., are good bets IMO.

2) If the power is out, what good is your computer? Even with an alternate power source, the Internet is likely IMHO to be down. Also, due to the "one bad apple" risk, functioning reliable computer networks may be only a memory for years. Spend your Y2K prep resources on something besides fixing your computer.

-- MinnesotaSmith (, December 01, 1999.

"200-gallon vinyl water bags are available through camping outlets."

Thanks Helium! I'm going to Popular Surplus now!

-- (, December 01, 1999.


Howdy! If I'm not mistaken, I thought that USA Today ran this same article earlier this week. If so, it sure sounds like they're trying to wake up the sleepers.

-- Deb M. (, December 01, 1999.

A decent starter list.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 01, 1999.

Minnesota Smith wrote: 1) Water-packed canned goods are a bad idea for Y2K food stockpiling (due to freeze rupture risk) for people in the northern 3/4 of the U.S., including those with alternate heat sources. This is because of the risk of freezing temperatures (ruining your canned goods keeping ability) still exists; wood-burning stoves do go out, liquid-fueled stoves clog, etc. Now, oil-packed sardines/tuna/corned beef the lard- packed cans of sausages Latins favor, etc., are good bets IMO.


I have had concerns about it possibly getting cold enough to freeze canned goods, especially since the alternate heat will only be in one room.

I am hoping that temps won't get below freezing the basement. But I imagine it could without heat. (Yes, a northern climate.) Additionally, one end of the basement is exposed, and there is a walk out.

Are there any good suggestions out there for keeping the cans from freezing? Thanks,

-- winter wondering (, December 01, 1999.


I think the best bet for keeping the canned stuff from freezing would be to make your bed over them. Hot racking one bed while other stand guard or work, and letting a dog sleep on the bed/cans would help.

-- Ocotillo (peeling@out.===), December 01, 1999.


You can't begin to imagine how much your post encouraged me. You see, I was late to GI. Not a lot of cash to work with either. I keep looking at what I've managed to stock up on and was concerned that I didn't have enough (as a function of # of people vs. duration).

Why am I encouraged? Because I have a lot more cans than could possibly be kept warm by making a bed over them. Of course, I don't seem to throw a lot of body heat. Wouldn't it be better to have someone stuff cans around you inside a sleeping bag?

As far as my dogs sleeping on the cans. LOL. My dogs are _the princesses_ of the princess and the pea when it comes to sleeping. (KOS, they'll mudwrestle though).


-- winter wondering (, December 01, 1999.

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