Moving forward with an eye to safety... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Focusing on safety and alternate solutions in the coming weeks...

Should Y2K be worse than what the majority of our population is expecting, the increase in traffic to this forum will continue (barring catastrophic scenarios that shut down the forum).

Some individuals will be attempting to do in just a couple of days what many of the regulars around here have spent the past 1-2 years doing. Many could be frightened. They will go through the same fears and uncertainties that the rest of us has had many months to deal with - only with more intensity.

But many of the contingencies that we have put into place may no longer be viable. Some of our 'solutions' simply won't work.

We have a couple of choices here: We can all bail out or we can try to help as best we can.

Many of you, including myself, have become frustrated with the responses of those we care about when we attempt to speak with them about this issue. But in some cases, we may still have the opportunity to make a difference.

Good people who are are frightened and out of time often do stupid things. Those of us who have had a year or two to get ready will not be the first ones to panic. We prepared explicitly so that we wouldn't have to panic. That gives us a bit of an advantage. But we need to think about the advice that we are giving at this point in time.

Let me give you an example. Those of you who know me also know that I support the right of citizens to own firearms - so long as they are responsible. But those of you who are serious and responsible firearms owners understand that simply owning a firearm does not automatically make you safer. It takes training, practice, guidance, skill and most of all, time. So while suggesting that someone make this commitment a year ago was certainly valid, that same suggestion today is counter-productive and potentially deadly. It's not a gun issue, it's simply a time issue.

Fuel storage is another issue that raises some serious safety issues. Gasoline is particularly problematic - especially if you don't take the time to do it right. It is easy to image a scenario where Joe buys a couple of 5 gallon gasoline containers, fills them, hands them off to his kids and tells them to store it in the basement while he runs off for more supplies. The kids, also frightened, do as they are told, setting the containers not too far from the hot water heater. It was cold when Joe filled them but the basement is much warmer and soon the gasoline warms. Now the lids weren't on too tight - or maybe Joe bought the really cheap containers that don't seal well. In any case, as the gasoline warms, the volatile fumes begin escaping, reaching the hot water heater.

Most of us here would not do something this stupid, but we've had an advantage - we've had time; we been able to talk about it and discuss the ways to store such fuel with a reasonable amount of safety. Remember, Joe is simply frightened and attempting to help his family. He doesn't have the time to pay attention to all the details that we did.

This is, admittedly, a contrived example but it sufficiently illustrates the point. There is a real potential for people who haven't taken Y2K seriously to do great damage simply by trying to do the right thing - at the last minute.

We can help by paying particular attention to safety issues in the coming weeks. We've spent a lot of time helping each other avoid 'stupid people tricks' - we know many of the things that work and, more importantly, the things that don't.

Whether it's good ventilation for a kerosene heater or general fire safety or even practicing deep breathing exercises, this type of information still has the ability to save lives and avoid costly mistakes.

Finally, Stan has done an outstanding job putting together his 14-day prep list and I salute him for his contributions here. It may be time, however, to consider adding a 1-2 day 'ultra-mini' prep list. That is; a subset of the 14-day information that could help those who are interested do something useful in a shorter time frame. It's just a thought.

We represent a body of knowledge that, in some ways, is unequaled even among many of those whose job it is to respond to emergency situations. Why? Because we've had more time - something that could be in short supply soon. Frankly, I would much rather have many of you respond to an emergency in our location than I would our own local Red Cross who has not taken the issue seriously and who has spent as little time as possible thinking about it. At a minimum, I would at least have the Red Cross report to you (grin).

In closing, I would urge all forum regulars to give specific consideration to issues of safety as we respond on this forum in the coming weeks. We do not want people to kill or injure themselves while attempting to prepare to help themselves.

Mrs. Rimmer sends her regards and asks if Dieter is OK; she's been a bit concerned by his absence. G'night all.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, December 08, 1999


Another sensible to-the-point post from Arnie! Mrs. Rimmer, can we draft him for President?

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, December 08, 1999.

from the preps forum, here's mini-tips on water as we approach 1/1/2000:

-- Cowardly Lion (, December 08, 1999.


GREAT POST. THANKS for the reminder.

To my knowledge, Stan was working on a mini list due out (as they say in the record biz) "Real soon now."


-- Chuck, a night driver (, December 08, 1999.

Very timely. I'm intending to do a similar thread on the prep forum and to do some specific encouragement of threads over the next month or, err, two-three that emphasize the need for short-term preparations and sensible responses to emergencies if/as they occur.

While I differ absolutely with the way this has been handled globally, we are left with the cards that were dealt to us as well as the cards we have rearranged best we can. We need to adjust and help others to adjust - not least, adjust psychologically to events.

-- BigDog (, December 08, 1999.

Can anyone tell me how I could I get a hold of Stan's 14 day list.


-- Lorrie Brown (, December 08, 1999.

Stan has been posting it here regularly, daily, and on the TimeBomb2000 Preparation Forum. You can go to old entries, or into the archives, and you will find it in big print saying 14 days of preparations and having his name on it.

-- Elaine Seavey (, December 08, 1999.

Arnie: This is my first time, be gentle with me! Hubby & I came laste to the game, about 2 months ago. I feel pretty well prepared, but have a few concerns about gasoline storage. We purchased a generator and have yet to buy the gas - will do so this weekend. Does anyone have any safety tips for storage? We were planning on keeping it outside in the shed. We live in the NE - cold climate. What should we do safety-wise? THANK YOU!!

-- Maria (, December 08, 1999.

Thanks, Arnie, for yet another very helpful, thoughtful post! I am going to now post separately the reaction of a friend last evening, to give people some perspective on what to expect from others now and throughout rollover months ahead. Please look for this post entitled "Expect Negative Reactions in Last Days of 1999."

-- Elaine Seavey (, December 08, 1999.

Maria: A few thoughts here on the gasoline issue.

First, check through the prep forum's Fuel - Storage & Alternatives Threads

Ideally, you want to position you fuel so that it is both safe and secure. Your last line of defense (but not your ONLY line of defense) should be a significant physical separation between your fuel and your house or garage. We have decided that our house and garage are much, much more important than our gasoline. Therefore, we set up a shed roughly 150 feet from the house.

If, heaven forbid, the fuel should ignite, the storage shed will be destroyed and we will loose our fuel but our house and garage (as well as those of our neighbors) should not be endangered.

One of the most dangerous and explosive aspects that can arise from storing gasoline is a buildup of the vapor. Therefore, ventilation of your storage area is essential. If a leak in a container should develop, you don't want the vapor to build in a confined area.

If you don't have time or resource to build an outbuilding, consider a simple wooden box located well away from living quarters. If you know anyone in the construction industry, they sometimes build large wooden 'job boxes' that you may be able to obtain for little or no cost. A padlock will keep out the mildly curious and the neighbors kids.

My brother-in-law is a car hound and has several auto sitting around that he has filled with gasoline and parked well behind his barn. This solution won't work for everyone, but for him, it was ideal and didn't cost him a dime for storage. He is also able to safely store more fuel this way than I am.

Never store gasoline in any container that was not specifically intended for gasoline. Even then, I discovered the hard way that the cheaper plastic containers are dangerous as they allowed leaking from around the cap and vent areas. I trashed the cheap containers and invested in better containers.

The metal 'jerry can' - similar to the mil-style works well but they are expensive $25-$35 apiece. Safety cans are great but even more expensive.

Next, limit the total amount you store to a reasonable amount. Even if the electricity were to go out for an extended period, we would use our generator infrequently. This means we have limited our total gasoline to an amount that we will use no matter what the future brings. Unless you are extremely wealthy, you cannot use a generator to live a 'normal' lifestyle in the absence of a public utility.

Never ever smoke in the presense of gasoline - this should go without saying but I thought I'd mention it all the same.

Beware of electric light switches in your gasoline storage area - even for battery operated lights. We discovered that the battery operated light in our shed created a small but significant arc (sparc) when it was turned on. This has now been replaced with a fully-rubber-enclosed flashlight.

Pay particular attention to your nose - it knows. If you enter your storage area and detect strong fumes - leave the doors open and allow it to ventilate for several minutes before attempting to discover the source of the fumes. Do not turn on any lights or do anything else that could generate a spark.

Always treat gasoline as the hazardous material that it is.

Finally, if you live in an apartment complex and have very limited storage space, you should probably forget storing any gasoline at all. Look for contingencies such as a friend who lives in the more rural are who can safely store your fuel and generator.

This is far from complete but it is a start.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, December 08, 1999.


THANKS! I am grateful for your response and will heed your warnings. My parents lost a house to a fire and so I have become quite paranoid! We plan on running the generator 3 hours on, three hours off (6 hours total) per day, just for heating up the house and getting water from our well, so hopefully the 15-20 gallons will work for a 1-7 on the "scale" of possibilities!

-- Maria (Maria@timeisrunning.out), December 08, 1999.

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