14 DAYS OF PREPS: Getting Started

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* 14 DAYS OF PREPS : Getting started on your Y2K preparations

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread


Preparing for the risks associated with Y2K can be an overwhelming project. If you have just learned about the late start and slow progress of profitable and government organizations in dealing with their Y2K technology problems. Though there is not much time for those who would like to get ready, newbies need to "prep smart"; it is important that they concentrate first on the basics of survival): shelter, heat, water, and food. Without these first things, one's chances of surviving can be reduced to hours (depending on weather and temperature). Focusing on getting the basics done is also a lot easier than thinking about and shopping for everything that might make life more comfortable in an emergency. Once these essentials are completed, proceed quickly to the second order of preparations: light, self-defense, entertainment, investment, etc. In this order, you will proceed from first things to the second order with less anxiety about your safety and the safety of family, friends, and neighbors.

In this message, I cover the following topics and subtopics:

First Things Heat Water Food Mapping out your wishes, goals, and budget Cheeping As in "being cheap," stretching your budget, and having money for lots of other things that you may want to include in your personal preparations including an Aladdin Oil Lamp, Bug Out Bag, and some other things too.

There is a total of seven topics and subtopics (including the introduction) and each topic should take less than three (3) minutes to read. Generally speaking, there is a lot to cover in terms of preparing fully for Y2K. In fact, it is too much to cover in one thread (and expect someone to read that in one sitting). This message won't cover everything you need to know. My intention here is to help you think about these topics and develop a plan of action for making preparations or helping someone else make preparations as quickly as possible.

The minimum of preparation should be for 14 days for you, your family, your pets, and whoever you know that may come to depend upon you in hard times. This 14 day recommendation is based on an assumption that in the event that Y2K risks become very real catastrophes, public shelters may be organized by local governments, Red Cross, and Fema within a two week period. You should also check with local Y2K community groups that (1) may help you understand the specific risks of local services and (2) provide information about the robustness or inadequacy of local emergency preparations. Alternately, you may decide to prepare in such a way that you do not need to evacuate to a public shelter in the event that your local area is hit hard. Many people on this forum are making such preparations.


Shelter, Heat, Water, Food, and Health. Without these first things, your chances of survival can be reduced to hours. Most people have a shelter (they can "shelter in place" at their house, apartment, etc. In there is risk of a catastrophe, you should make plans for a fall back shelter. Such plans may include any or several of the following: seeking a public shelter (contact your local Red Cross unit and find out what locations are designated as future Y2K shelters), going to a neighbor or relative's home, or bugging out (leaving your local area and going elsewhere). If the extent of a disaster is such that you will be bugging out, quickly coordinate your bug out plans with others in your local area, outer lying areas, and elsewhere. Another topic that is not well covered in this thread is health. Hopefully, you are aware of potential risks to your life and health that may be effected by failures. If you depend on prescription medicines, machines, or other medical services, plan and act upon your needs. Some suggest that a three month or more supply of critical prescription medicines is prudent.

First Things: Heat: Introduction

Heat may or may not be a serious concern. It depends on several factors. Where do you live now or plan to be and how cold does the weather get, how well insulated is your house, and how much air gets in and out of your house. Where I live it seems to rarely get down to 20 degrees (30 being freezing). Still, I find that my body temperature drops when I sleep and I am uncomfortable to sleep in less than 50 degrees with a good down comforter. I want to stay warm. The solution or solutions you develop will vary according to the duration of potential disruptions. Potentially- How long could the power be out, how long would you weather persisting power outages in your home, and where will you be? I am told that over time, your body will adjust to colder temperatures (some number of degrees less than you normally prefer). But can you adjust in less than 14 days?

First Things: Heat: Keeping Warm

There are many ways to keep warm: wear warm clothing, wrap yourself in blankets, and fire up a stove or heater that does not rely on natural gas or electricity. Wood stoves are the most expensive option; warm clothes are the cheapest solution. If you get a wood stove, you will also have to get the firewood, chop it up, and stack it. This could be a $US 2000 or more proposition. A propane stove or kerosene heater are more affordable (usually not more than $US 250), but require adequate ventilation. Thus, they may reduce the heating effectiveness of the fuel and require more fuel to balance out the loss of heat through ventilation. Some kerosene lamps may keep you warm in a tight space (like a bathroom) such as an Aladdin Incandescent Oil Lamp. Wool blankets (Pendleton and Hudson's Bay Company are among the best) and even medium weight down comforters may help you get through high 20 and 30 degree nights. For clothes, wool is fantastic and the other popular insulating materials used in snow suits (Goretex), winter, ski, and snow mobile jackets, etc. But don't forget long underwear (silk long underwear from L.L.Bean is outstanding), socks (liners and heavy socks), and hats that cover your ears.

First Things: Heat: Links

Brian's Preparation Archives: Posts on Heating http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000rye

Five essentials to getting the most out of your woodpile http://hearth.com/what/essentials.html

Chimney Safety Institute of America http://www.csia.org

http://www.chimneys.com http://www.chimneys.com

http://www.oillamp.com http://www.oillamp.com

First Things: Water: Introduction

According to the experts, most people can go three days without water. Years ago, I had a hard time of it on a hike in the Sierras. After about 4 hours from my last gulp of canteen water, I realized that I had been dehydrated before starting out. I was so desperate that I drank right out of a stream and was very lucky not to come down with anything. From now on, keep hydrated. That means a minimum of eight cups of water (not including what's in the caffeinated drinks and sodas that you drink). You'll also need to figure out how much water you need to store up, how to have access to it (well or whatever), or how to filter and/or distill potable water. Will you have water for 14 days?

First Things: Water: Health

According to the World Health Organization, contaminated water is the largest health problem in the world. Throughout the world, 50,000 human beings die every day to waterborne disease. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1,000,000 people in the United States of America suffer health problems caused by microbiologically contaminated water each year. In the U.S., an average 1,000 people die every year from water-related diseases. Furthermore, waterborne gastrointestinal infections account for 80% of all diseases in the world. Health-related problems from chemical contamination is also a serious problem. Biological and chemical water-related health problems are expected to dramatically increase around the world as public water treatment centers seem likely to be temporarily disabled by Y2K technology failures.

The three natural biological water-related health threats are bacteria, viruses, and protozoa-- all of which are generally invisible to the unaided human eye. Bacteria are one-celled organisms that generally vary from 0.2 and 1.5 microns (maximum 10 microns). The most common waterborne bacteria which cause infections include: typhoid, para-typhoid, dysentery, colibacillosis, and cholera. Viruses vary in size from 0.1 to 0.004 microns. While most a virus can pass through the smallest filter, viruses tend to adhere to particles in the water. Many filters can filter out these virus-carrying particles. Common water-borne viral infections include hepatitis, yellow fever, and poliomyelitis. Protozoa are one-celled animals; they vary in size from 10 to 100 microns. They can be carried by insects or in the form of cysts when outside of the human or animal organism. Water-borne protozoans that cause disease include amoeba, giardia, cryptosporidium, and malaria.

Chemicals (found in tap or well water) that may cause health-related problems include toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and common radionuclides. Among the toxic chemicals are trialomethanes, PCB, PCE, detergents, and pesticides. Some heavy metals to be concerned about may include aluminum, asbestos, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, and mercury. A common radionuclide such as Radon 222 may be found in some well water in areas where Radon is a problem.

First Things: Water: How much?

The experts say that you need one gallon of water per day. I say that the number of gallons you need will vary according to how long you guess that water will be out, how long you will weather out persisting water outages in your home, and what you'll do if you bug out. Let's start with 14 days of water after which we would assume that the worst was over. Some of you will be amazed at how much water you would want to have stored. Guess how much water you go through in an average day. And just because you don't do the dishes or laundry doesn't mean that your water use isn't many, many gallons.

You'll need water for everyone in your house and whoever joins you for the following: drinking, bathing, washing dishes, flushing toilets, and possibly washing some clothes like undergarments. Figure on one gallon per person per day for drinking and washing dishes, 5 gallons per day per flush, and about 5 gallons per day for a light load of hand-washed undergarments. Therefore, a party of five flushing the toilet three times per day and washing a small number of undergarments will need to store a total of 350 gallons of water (stored in seven 55 gallon barrels).

70 gallons for drinking and washing dishes 210 gallons for flushing the toilets 70 gallons for clothes washing.

First Things: Water: Water Storage

Depending on where you live (house or apartment and city, suburb, or country), your access to water and storage capacity will vary. 350 gallons of water (stored in 55 gallon barrels in different rooms) will be about the maximum for second or higher floor apartments. Roughly, it is about 2,800 pounds of weight on that floor -- not to mention all your other stuff. If you are in a house or have a house with some yard, storage is less a problem and allows you several options: pond, above ground kiddy pool, well, etc. Let's say that the average cost of very large water storage solutions is about $US 1.00 per gallon. Generally, 55 gallon barrels for food and water storage can be obtained for less than $US 10.00 each from a soda, juice, or other beverage bottling plant. You may also want to pick up a PYTHON which is used by aquarium enthusiasts for filling and draining big aquariums. The PYTHON attaches to a kitchen sink spout and comes in a number of different lengths. It can also be rigged to redirect water from a barrel to other things without electricity. However, you will need good water pressure.

First Things: Water: Water Treatment

There is much debate about treating tap water (if you get city water) for storage. So check with your water provider and find out if you need to add bleach. There are also other chemical agents used to treat water for biological contaminants, but I would stick to bleach (chlorine) or use a filter. Dry chlorine, also called calcium hypochlorite has the added benefit of extended shelf life. Providing it is kept dry, cool and in an airtight container, it may be stored up to 10 years with minimal degradation. If you want to keep chlorine in larger quantities, this is the item to store (according to Bingo1). It must be ONLY 65% calcium hypochlorite, no additional anti-fungals or

-- mommacarestx (nospam@thanks.com), December 26, 1999

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