I would like people to read an essay I wrote way back in January of 1999. It is called “Personal Preparations for Y2K.” It is dated January 26th, 1999.
I did try to post it directly, but my computer skills being what they are, it looked horrible. It may have to do with it being posted in HTML versus text. At any rate, please take a look at it, if you are wondering what you should do to prepare for a potential natural disaster.
I can eventually figure this computer stuff out<G> Here is the entire essay for you to read. In hindsight I feel I misjudged the extent of how Y2K really played out. The scale, scope and damage done was much less than many of us thought based on the sketchy information available to us. At any rate, there is still some good advice here for disaster preparation for people to use. The links didn’t come up as live unfortunately. I am also unsure if many, or any, of them are still up and running 13 years later.
*Personal Preparations for Y2K *
What is Likely to Happen – With less than one year to go, the
Outlines of Y2K are becoming clearer. The key thing to focus on is
what is referred to as the “Iron Triangle”. This name refers to the
Basis of our modern global advanced civilization; namely, Power
Grid, Telecommunications and Banking. Electricity in all its forms;
mass communications with all its devices. These are telephone, fax, fiber optic, Satellite, radio and television.
Finally, fractional reserve banking in all its debt ridden glory;
its birth defected spawn fiat money in tow. After the Iron
Triangle comes what I have christened the three-legged stool.
Namely, basic government services at the federal level, basic
Governmental services at the state, city and county level, and
Finally, the basic business infrastructure. Y2K is a direct threat to
basic electricity generation and distribution. Y2K is a direct
threat to all modern forms of communication. Y2K is a direct threat
to the global banking system. Period. It is my considered opinion,
based on nearly a year of diligent web research, that the three
legged stool legs will be sawed in half. In other words we will see
a generalized collapse in all United States governmental functions.
I also think we will see serious disruptions in the basic fabric of
society, what I call the physics of modern life. Will you
have water when you turn on the faucet, flush the toilet, or
electricity when you turn on the heater, a dial tone when you pick
up the phone-all the things modern American urban dwellers take for
granted? Believe or not as you wish; wrangle over whether Y2K is a
bump in the road or Mad Max time if you want. Disruptions and chaos
there will be, the only issue is how intense, how long-lasting, and
the most critical: how will people react to them. The last being the
most important single issue in my mind. And the answer to that won’t
be apparent until this time next year. This will be much too late
for any reasonable preparation, such as what follows.
Threat Assessment. Go to *www.y2knewswire.com/riskmatrix.htm*
<http://www.y2knewswire.com/riskmatrix.htm> for a walk through of
some reasonable Y2K preparation levels. Personally, my inclination
is medium with a dash of worst case thrown in because I’m Scottish.
Medium is roughly 60 days food, water, sundries, toiletries with
weapons, ammo, silver, gold and non-hybrid seeds thrown in for worst
*How to Prepare for medium Y2K in a modern urban American city*
The best general list for short-term Y2K preparation I have found is
<http://www.y2klinks.net/y2ksup3mon.htm> or the main page at
The following are simply my observations and opinions in order of
what I feel is important.
1. Mental attitude and physical conditioning My signature says it
all, but the will to survive is the most basic survival item.
Y2K isn’t about gloating and enjoying a global collapse. It is
about adapting to whatever comes and trying to help people and
in worst case create a new society. As for physical
conditioning, try to get in some semblance of shape. At least
try to walk for 30 minutes a day.
2. Self-Protection-Loose the Rambo mentality and the desire for an
AR-15. A 12 gauge shotgun, Mossberg 500, Remington, or Winchester
Riot with 100 shells 00 Buck, 100 shells (25 per box) Pheasant,
100 shells Dove and Quail, and 100 shells Target Load is the
preferred urban self-defense weapon. Cost for the shotgun is
about $225 with the hunting loads at about $7 a box. The 00 buck
is more expensive (50 cents to $1 a round) and has more
penetrating power. The hunting loads are able to kill an
intruder and also not kill your neighbor if you live in an
The best handgun choice is a 357 Magnum with a four-inch barrel,
assuming you can handle the recoil. 100 rounds of 357 Magnum and
300 rounds of 38 Special for target practice. The Ruger 10/22 is
an excellent choice for a first weapon. Also 22 Long Rifle
handguns are useful for target practice, plinking, and in
general a lot of fun. But if you only get one weapon, get the 12
Gauge. And please don’t forget that any weapon is loaded until
you personally verify that it is not.
3. Shelter, Heat, Light and communication One of the big debates
on Y2K Use Net is about hordes of spiked headed urban refugees
swarming into the countryside looting, raping, and pillaging. The
idea being that leaving the city is better than staying in it.
Only if you don’t prepare says I. For starters, even an unheated
apartment is better shelter than being outside, unprotected from
the wind chill. And second, there are specific actions you can
take to increase your odds. Some of which are pretty simple.
Dressing warm and in layers and building a blanket fort over
Your bed is two that come to mind. Go to How to survival
for general info.
As far as light goes, there are several options: emergency
Candles, D battery operated lights, propane, oil, and kerosene
Lanterns. Be sure to buy extra wicks, mantles and use extreme
care with the fuel. Using propane or Kerosene heaters in an
enclosed apartment are the preferred method, just be sure and
keep the window cracked open for oxygen. Whatever you do be
careful, especially with candles and other open flames.
There are numerous small radios, CD players and Cassette players
that operates on D batteries. Or if you want to go hard-core, get
the $80 BayGen hand cranked radio. There are also various CB HAM
and hand-held radios for more advanced communications if the
Phones go dead. My point being, the worse thing to do is blindly
flee, unprepared and stressed out, into the wilderness.
Considering it will be early January, the first two weeks will
be easier in a well-stocked urban apartment than as a refugee.
4. Medical and Personal Sanitation-It is far more likely people
will die from disease and infection in a worst case Y2K
situation. For instance, more people will die from drinking
filthy water in Hurricane Mitch’s aftermath than were killed in
the actual hurricane in Central America. So a few dollars spent
on assembling a quality first aid kit is probably the best
single investment you can make. Obviously, if you have medical
problems that require specific medications it would be prudent
to secure at least several weeks supply. This medical “stash”
may just save your life in the event of any supply disruptions.
Rent the movie “Trigger Effect” and pay close attention to the
scene in the pharmacy, where our suburban hero tries to get baby
Medicine without a prescription. There are many places on the
Web which list good basic medical kits, so search around at Red
Cross (www.redcross.org) or FEMA (www.fema.gov) and get some idea.
Another good site for general Y2K preparation info is Noah’s Ark
Personal sanitation is an equally important, if somewhat more
distasteful subject. Some ideas include using plastic lined
buckets with lids as toilets, buying plenty of soap, towels,
general toiletries and sundries for emergency use. Many stores
offer travel size amounts of common toiletries and also foil
packaged cleaning wipes. So take a walk through your bathroom
and decide what you are likely to use and buy some extra. Don’t
forget to include laundry detergent (cold water type), clothes
pins and lines and possibly a bucket, or you can use your
Bathtub, for emergency clothes washing.
5. Water- You’ll notice that I placed water before food in
importance. You can live without breathing for three minutes.
You can live without water for three days, and without food for three weeks.
How to survival documents has a good section on emergency water
as does Federal Emergency Management Agency. In a nutshell, each
Adult needs one gallon a day for drinking and cooking. A small
Bath, brushing teeth etc. would require still more water. Keep
in mind, the average urban American adult uses 50 gallons of
water a day. It really isn’t as hard as it sounds to build up a
50 to 100 gallon supply of tap water. Coleman makes 5 gallon
containers that cost about $10 each. Save the Minute maid gallon
jugs, or other plastic or bottled fruit juices, and fill them
with tap water. A 200 gallon bladder is sold at
<http://www.watertanks.com/main.html> if you wish to go for a
larger supply. At any rate, you should always keep a minimum of
50 gallons of stored tap water on hand regardless of what Y2K
brings. You can meet this goal simply by washing the myriad pop
and fruit juice bottles that come into your life. Don’t use
plastic milk jugs or any container that wasn’t originally used
for food – i.e. bleach, laundry detergent etc.
6. Clothes and Shoes – These might be items that you wouldn’t
normally place in an emergency supplies list. You should. For
instance, many injuries in Earthquakes relate to people getting
out of bed and walking around their house while slicing up their
bare feet on fallen debris and broken glass. So any Y2K
preparations, especially considering it will be January, must
take into account adequate supplies of clean, high quality
clothes and shoes. Particularly if the economy, shipping and
transportation collapse so we can’t import shoes and clothes
from overseas for several months. You might want to consider
having 30 pair of T-shirts, underpants and socks for instance,
so you can change a pair every day if needed. Possibly a bit
spendy, but then again maybe not. A good pair of boots will be
invaluable as will several pair of work pants and shirts. If
nothing else, Y2K may be the chance we need to finally get rid
of polyester. While Y2K has no silver bullet, it may have a
Silver lining if it gets rid of polyester clothes. So inventory
your clothes and think extended camping trip.
7. Food, Vitamins and Fiber You can stop whining now that I’ve
finally come to what everybody thinks of when thinking of Y2K
preparations, namely freeze-dried food. Many people actually
think if they buy a year’s supply of freeze-dried food they have
Y2K licked. Bunk. The only thing worse than paying for a year’s
supply of freeze-dried food is actually EATING a year’s supply of
Freeze dried food. MRE’s, the military version are officially
called Meals Ready to Eat, and unofficially, Meals Ready to
Excrete. So if you do succumb to the freeze dried-slash tulip
mania, by all means be sure to buy plenty of fiber pills and
Metamucil. You should also realize that even the Army only uses
MRE’s for a period of 10 days before the troops get surly. And
the last thing the Army wants is surly troops armed with M-16’s.
By all means, buy a 30 day supply of freeze-dried food to be
used to supplement your regular diet. Just don’t think you will
eat it day in and day out for a year straight.
Vitamins are also a critical factor in any food storage program.
A good general purpose multivitamin is essential, along with
Vitamin C, E, Iron capsules and some herbs for health and tea
drinking. As for the basics of food storage, the cardinal rule
is simple. Buy what you will eat often, rotate it often, and eat
it often. The key word is often, as in constantly. This is a
complex subject way beyond the scope of this brief primer, still
as a duly anointed gold-eagle pundit I shall punditize away. The
foundation is salt, pepper, sugar, honey and numerous other
Spices (thyme, basil, oregano, allspice) you will need to avoid
“appetite fatigue”. Then you will need the grains, flour, rice,
beans and pasta products that will form the bulk of your diet.
Following will be the canned goods, fruits and fruit juices,
vegetables and tomatoes that will give your diet variety. And on
top of that will be the special foods that you enjoy, hard candy
Popcorn and many others. I tend to be a semi-vegetarian so you
can use more meat than I would.
8. BOB The Bug out bag, or 72 hour kit, BOB is designed to be
grabbed in the middle of the night and taken to a public
shelter. This pre packed backpack, plastic box or crate will
allow you to evacuate your residence within 5 minutes and still
have the bare essentials for 72 hours. While not specifically
for Y2K, BOB is the best thing you can do to prepare yourself or
any emergency. If you do nothing else after reading this essay,
at least prepare a BOB. That way, you won’t be one of those
unfortunate souls seen on TV throwing randomly selected stuff in
their cars as they flee into the night.
Many web sites have good BOB lists, so see the ones mentioned
earlier. Briefly the idea is to have a change of clothes and
shoes, personal toiletries, cash in small denominations,
important papers, medications and first aid supplies, sleeping
Bag and pad, food and water, reading materials and leisure
items. All of this is pre packed into a backpack or one of those
hard plastic storage containers, which you can use to sit on
later. These supplies are kept in an easily accessible spot for a
quick getaway. The idea being that if you end up in a hastily
converted public school or church, you aren’t destitute. Just be
aware that the Red Cross has been accused of confiscating food
and water supplies from people seeking shelter during the recent
9. Worst Case-Mad Max and beyond. A few words have to said about
the possibly of much more serious Y2K disruptions. Not that many
of us can do much about them. Whatever happens, the vast
majority of Americans, who live in urban centers, within 10
miles of the ocean coasts are not going to flee into the
Countryside. This survivalist fantasy of living off the land,
like Daniel Boone, or on a small farm, like Little House on the
Prairie is just that-a fantasy. Besides, farming is hard,
physical work, as I can attest from personal experience; the
idea of millions of people shooting wild animals for food is
ridiculous. So this survivalist fantasy isn’t a realistic option
for millions of urban dwellers. This means a few harsh facts
become apparent in Y2K worst case. The first is you are on your
own, with little if any government help. So have no illusions of
FEMA to the rescue, or expect the government to feed, shelter or
make your life comfortable.
The second is that you will not make it
by ignoring your neighbors and family in your Y2K preparations.
So store enough extra to feed some of them as your Christian
duty and if they are open share some simple things, like BOB,
that they can do to prepare. Third, you will need to do some
serious thinking about long-term survival in a post collapse
economy. This means gold and silver, $2500 to $5000 for each
person. $1500 cash in 1’s, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s will be useful
short-term in January, 2000, assuming things stay reasonably
together. Long term also means non-hybrid seeds in case you have
to plant a victory garden in summer 2000. A good source is
Territorial Seed Company at http://www.territorial-seed.com. And
finally, worst case elevates weapons and personal defense to a
higher plane. Be a pacifist if you like, just be aware of the
consequences in case the system collapses. There is an old West
saying of “God didn’t make men equal, Colt did”. And don’t let
your worst case preparations destroy you economically or
Spiritually if Y2K turns out to be a non event. Think of it as an
insurance policy that you may never use.
Some Final Thoughts-This is the single most important essay I have
written for gold-eagle.com. The reason is that the advice within may
save your life in an emergency situation. All the rest may enlighten
you, entertain you, or even enrage you, but this one is about life
and death. I hope you take it seriously enough to at least
investigate, at this very late date, how to make prudent and
rational preparations for a medium-sized Y2K disaster. You have less
than eleven months left before the official Y2K hits, but in reality
the time is much shorter.
*WHO WILLS CAN-WHO TRIES DOES-WHO LOVES LIVES*
26 January 1999