Read an Excerpt
Four decades ago, when computers were in their infancy, memory was precious. To conserve storage space, programmers reduced four-digit years to two-digit yearsso, for example, 1960 became 60. The computers were further instructed to assume that all two digit-years would be preceded by the digits 19. Hence, 60 means 1960. When the year 2000 (00) arrives, many computers around the world will believe it is the year 1900 instead of the year 2000.
Some of these same computers control nearly every system that keeps the world running-telephones, electricity, gasoline production, banking services, household water delivery, business operations, and most government agencies. Misinterpreting 00 as 1900 will cause the computers to stop working. This simple error threatens to collapse the very fabric upon which our global society rests.
Imagine a gigantic electronic tidal wave that hits the entire country all at once. Those people who saw it coming and have life jackets and a rubber boat will be much better off than those who didn't bother to prepare. This manual will prepare you for the tidal wave should it hit your neighborhood.
Remember that no one knows exactly what will happen. Many authorities believe the problems will be severe and last for several months; others predict only minor difficulties that will be fixed during January. Experts do agree that some disruptions will occur.
It is essential, therefore, that every American family develop some backup systems that can replace short-term breakdowns in the normal supply of goods and services. The question everyone asks is, "For howmany days should I be prepared to live without normal services?" There is no single answer for everyone.
I recommend that you and your family be capable of living self-sufficiently for at least two weeks and, if possible, for a month. This approach will protect you from any significant discomfort during the early months of 2000.
Why Do I Recommend a Fourteen-to-Thirty-Day Plan?
I believe that a minimum of two weeks of disruptions is probable in most of America and that some regions will suffer longer-lasting effects.
Many families cannot afford to store more than a two-week supply of goods, and it is important that everyone has a minimal reserve for Y2K.
Current manufacturing capabilities could not respond to the demand if millions of Americans began stockpiling goods for more than four weeks.
If a thirty-day supply is more than the emergency requires, during the recovery period you will be able to assist others who were less prepared.
Preparing for Y2K disruptions requires that you plan alternatives toyour normal sources of basic services, utilities, and goods. If telephone service is not available, how will you communicate outside your home? If the gas and electricity are shut off, how will you keep warm during January? If there are temporary food shortages, will you be able to feed your family? Do you have enough supplies to provide for your normal daily personal needs? Planning for these contingencies will bring you a greater sense of security as we approach the New Year.
The following chapters detail how and when to develop your alternatives. You can easily be prepared for thirty days of self-sufficient living by choosing what is appropriate for your situation from the guidelines that are presented. Check off the "Done" box as each task is completed.
The actions that we and our families take throughout 1999 will, in my opinion, determine the outcome of the year 2000. We can panic and, by our actions, contribute to a collapse of the system. Or we can educate ourselves and make appropriate plans to protect our families and our communities.
I think you'll agree it's best to be prepared well in advance. Use this information in whatever way seems most beneficial to you, and be sure to share it with your loved ones and neighbors. If you work together on the "Y2K Monthly Program," chances are you'll be ready for whatever Y2Kbrings!
Remember, hope for the best, but prepare for the rest!