Complete Y2K Home Preparation Guide, The

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9780130143068: Complete Y2K Home Preparation Guide, The

Presents everything you need to know about preparing your home, family, and yourself for January 1, 2000. Softcover.

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From the Inside Flap:

Introduction
Mammoth productive facilities with computer minds, cities that engulf the landscape and pierce the clouds, planes that almost out race time- these are awesome, but they cannot be spiritually inspiring. Nothing in our glittering technology can raise man to new heights, because material growth has been made an end in itself, and, in the absence of moral purpose, man himself becomes smaller as the works of man becomes bigger. Gargantuan industry and government, woven into an intricate computerized mechanism, leave the person outside. The sense of participation is lost, the feeling that ordinary individuals influence important decisions vanishes, and man becomes separated and diminished.
When an individual is no longer a true participant, when he no longer feels a sense of responsibility to his society, the content of democracy is emptied. When culture is degraded and vulgarity enthroned, when the social system does not build security but induces peril, inexorably the individual is impelled to pull away from a soulless society. This process produces alienation-perhaps the most pervasive and insidious development in contemporary society.
-- Dr. Martin Luther King

The biggest problems and opportunities with the Y2K bug are not going to be food storage, debugging code, or power outages, but how people react to the situation: how we treat each other; how much we help each other through this; what kind of creative, appropriate responses we meet the challenge with will determine whether we build and bring together our local communities or whether things degenerate into mob rule.
-- Michael Connolly, WizCity (wizcity/)

Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have now entered upon a period of danger. The era of procrastination, of half measures,...of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences...We cannot avoid this period, we are in it now...Unless...,this House resolves to find out the truth for itself, it will have committed an act of abdication of duty without parallel.
-- Winston Churchill, November 12, 1936, Testimony to the House of Commons: Debate on National Defense Posture

DO I REALLY NEED TO PREPARE FOR Y2K?
No one knows what will really happen in the first few hours, days, weeks, and months of 2000. This includes the authors of this book, government and business leaders, computer experts, "Y2K wishful thinkers," "Y2K doom and gloomers," the press, and your brother-in-law. None of us really knows what will happen. And it is because of this one central fact that complete preparation is essential.

Our world will enter the new millennium with everything it takes for modern life to function at risk. How this risk will turn out is, and will continue to be, the subject of much debate and controversy. However, everyone agrees there is the risk. People just disagree as to how much risk there really is. But when your health, your comfort, your food, your water, your heat, maybe even your life, is at risk, no matter how great or small, it would be wise and reasonable to prepare. If the risk does not go your way, you have too much to lose. You should start your preparations as soon as you can. In late 1999, if not earlier, there may be a shortage of preparation supplies. By starting early, we help the situation as suppliers can ramp up to meet the demand. As early as late 1998, preparedness food delivery was taking 2-4 months instead of the usual weeks, orders for large generators were taking several months, wood stoves were selling at triple their normal rates, some solar products were getting hard to find-- all because of Y2K preparedness. And in late 1998 only 2% of the people surveyed believed Y2K would be a serious problem. What happens when this grows to 10%? 25%? 50%? 100%? As the old saying about preparing goes, "It is better to be five months early than one hour too late."

Needless to say, as Y2K approaches, fears will increase. Also denial and wishful thinking will be factors. As we look out at this well-oiled technological machine, humming right along, and an unconcerned population, we keep asking ourselves, "Is this really going to happen? Will our post-Y2K world really be that dramatically different and if so how?" As we lower our fears, our perception becomes clearer and our decision making becomes more effective. Remember Benjamin Franklin's thoughts, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."

IF Y2K IS POTENTIALLY SO SERIOUS, WHY DO MOST OF THE WORLD AND ITS LEADERS SEEM SO UNCONCERNED?
This is the first question that springs to mind whenever someone is told they need to prepare for Y2K. The answer is not as obvious as it might seem. Nothing like Y2K-- nothing so big, so total, so innocuous-- has ever occurred before. For the last 40 years we have spent trillions of dollars and person-hours building an almost unseen global computer system that runs much of our world, for the most part with few failures or disruptions.

Where there was once a typing pool with many people, there is now one person and a PC; where once hundreds of men manually directed trains at switching stations, now chips and mainframes direct them from one central location; where there was once a highly staffed accounting department, there are now a few computer operators. The system is global and affects almost every aspect of modern human life. And until now it was considered safe, dependable and effective. The entire system is broken and must be fixed by a set deadline. There can be no extensions. Because of the size and scope of this problem, it creates denial that it is there-- both in everyday citizens and leaders alike. If the only issue were that the phone systems might fail, or TV transmission, or water delivery, or accounting systems, or billing systems, or traffic lights, or medical devices, or conveyor belts, or oil refinery pumps, or food delivery systems, or paychecks, or residential heating systems, etc., we could look the problem in the face and fix it. But when the problem is so complex, so costly, involving so many areas of our lives and businesses, it is much easier to shut down, ignore the evidence, and assume it will get fixed-- somehow.

Also, computer stories are inherently boring to the general public. The recent coverage of the Microsoft court case can attest to this. The press does not really know how to cover Y2K. All there is to report is everyone's opinion as to what will happen. There is no event yet and the media is event driven. With the massive onslaught of information delivered daily, the Y2K story does not rise above the other stories. In fact it sinks. The implications of the problem are too massive to assimilate easily.

Many people believe there will be a "quick-fix" that will fix every computer in nanoseconds. However, even IBM and the U.S. government have admitted this is impossible. Add to that the issue that it is almost ludicrous to believe that a small two-digit year date could collapse this magnificent machine called modern life, and you have a disaster in slow motion. John Kenneth Galbraith, one of the great writers and observers of capitalism, could only find one inherent flaw in the system.
Long-run salvation by men of business has never been highly regarded if it means disturbance of orderly life and convenience in the present. So inaction will be advocated in the present even though it means deep trouble in the future. Here, at least equally with communism, lies the threat to capitalism. It is what causes men who know that things are going quite wrong to say that things are fundamentally sound. It is this possible threat, the only one Galbraith could find in our system, that may manifest through Y2K. Not so much because of the threat itself but rather from our incapacity to maturely deal with it once detected. Many business leaders are concerned that if the public knew they had Y2K problems their stock price could drop. Many government leaders worry about everything from terrorist threats to a run on the banks to stockpiling weapons. All of these fears could keep us from dealing with the issue or announcing the truth to the public. However, as the quotes from leaders throughout this book will show, many have already spoken out of their deep concern about Y2K.

THE FIVE STAGES OF Y2K
Many people feel accepting the reality of Y2K is like the five stages of dying outlined by Dr. Kubler-Ross, the well-known death and dying researcher. Her five stages were denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. Let's take a look at how these five stages would apply to Y2K. First, in denial, we may tend to deny that we could have done something so stupid, that "they" could let this happen, that technology could really fail us to this degree, that something so small could cause something so large. In the bargaining stage we are likely to feel if we just do enough work, or if we are lucky enough, the risk will dissipate. In the anger stage we will feel anger toward programmers, computer companies, the government, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, and maybe anyone who warns us about the problem.

In the depression stage, where we have accepted that Y2K is really a threat that could cause us much pain, collectively and individually, we may become despondent, almost incapacitated to take action. It seems too big, too overpowering. What can we as individuals do? Preparation for an event of this potential size seems too overwhelming.

Finally in the acceptance stage our emotions start to level out and we are moved to action. We realize that no matter how much time is left, a certain level of preparation is definitely possible and appropriate. We move from "this can't be happening" into "what do I need to do." This is the stage of positive action and hope. It is the stage that we need to get to as quickly as possible.

Also, realize that Y2K will continue to create moral dilemmas for everyone. Do I need to store food for others who do not prepare? Should I leave my home if I do not feel comfortable there if Y2K problems are major or long lasting? Do I buy a gun? Do I take my money out of the bank? Do I tell others of my preparation plans and maybe help them or keep quiet so no one will ask me for food if they need it? Do I take this thing seriously at all, spend all this effort and expense, when it just may roll over without any major problems or am I a fool for not preparing when potential risk is undeniable?

No one can answer these questions for you. Everyone who has looked this thing in the face has gone through these decision making processes. Many know the feeling of laying in bed at 3 AM, with your family safely sleeping around you, and wondering what to do (or as one Y2K expert said, "If you're sleeping well at night, you do not understand the scope of the problem."). Some questions will bring up deep issues of self-interest versus group interest, of generosity versus self-preservation. Other questions will bring up issues of how much ridicule and loss of stature in another people's eyes you are willing to risk to emphatically encourage others to prepare-- even when their eyes continue to glaze over when you mention Y2K. The only advice that we can offer is, as much as possible, to make peace with your fears and be willing to let go of your attachments, and then trust your heart as to what you feel guided to do. We are well aware that this is much easier to write than to do.

HOW LONG SHOULD I PREPARE FOR Y2K?
How long to prepare is the subject of raging debates. Some say days, others weeks, others a year or more. As an example,

How Long to Prepare
Red Cross
3-7 days FEMA
3-7 days U.K. government
2 weeks Canadian government
2-3 weeks Most Y2K experts
1-12 months Authors of this book
1-12 months As you can see there is a tremendous range. If budget is not a big issue, prepare for the high side. If it is, prepare for as long as is financially feasible. It may not be that those who prepared will eat while others starve but rather they may have more choices as to what they eat and more convenience in getting their food. Or they may be able to stay home while others need to go to a shelter or relatives. Or they may be able to shower when others sponge bathe.

Between now and the New Year, read every article about Y2K with discernment. Ask if the writer or spokesperson has a hidden agenda or ulterior motives. Adjust your preparation plans as we near the event if you feel that information or events call for it. Be conservative. Prepare for the top end of your estimate. In the end, the decision is yours.

WHOM SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY PREPARATIONS?
You cannot get very far in the preparation process before you begin to realize that no matter how completely and cleverly you plan for your family's needs, all it takes is a few relatives, friends, or neighbors-- who didn't prepare-- to show up on your doorstep and spoil those well-laid out plans. Of course your option is to remind them that you encouraged them to prepare, slam the door in their face, and send them away cold or hungry.

If things get too bad, everyone of us may need to make those kinds of decisions. There just may be too many people in need. However, if the breakdown is moderate or slight (the most likely scenario), though we can't help everyone, we might be able to help some. It may be best to decide to prepare not only for your family's needs but for several others-- if you can afford to. At worse, you'll have to shop less often in 2000; at best you may rescue a friend or relative from a painful situation.

This event may well stretch us in many ways, especially in our willingness to serve and give to others. Maybe that's the beauty of Y2K, that the only way to repair our world will be through tremendous cooperation between countries, between companies, between communities, between neighbors, between friends.

WHERE DO I SPEND THE WEEKEND OF JANUARY 1, 2000?
Many people are giving a lot of thought to where they want to spend the weekend of December 31, 1999-January 1, 2000. People are reconsidering the "Millennium Celebration" in exotic places (much to the concern of the travel industry). Many are opting to celebrate at home in a well-Y2K-prepared home, surrounded by loved ones. Whatever your choice, a good rule of thumb is celebrate that weekend knowing that wherever you are, you may be stuck there for awhile-- perhaps without essential services and supplies. A Caribbean island may seem like a great place to be stuck in early 2000 but not when you realize that almost everything they need to survive must be brought in-- from a fully functioning outside world.

No one really knows how the airline, cruise, train and other transportation industriews will make the transitions. Many top officials such as Senator Chris Dodd, co-chair of the federal Year 2000 Committee, recommend against being on a plane. Cruise ships are floating computerized worlds, needing the rest of the world to supply them at every port. Trains are now totally computerized and track switching is controlled from one centralized location. Add to this the threat of terrorist attacks, in and outside the United States, and maybe the weekend is best spent at home.

Another option is to be prepared to go to a safe shelter provided by local emergency agencies. However, these might become overcrowded, straining their resources if conditions are too difficult. B

From the Back Cover:

You've heard about the Year 2000 bug and what might happen. So, what do you do?

This book tells you everything you need to know about preparing your home, your family, and yourself for January 1, 2000. The old saying "Better safe than sorry" has never been more true. Experts agree that no one knows what to expect. What happens if the power goes off? What if the phones don't work? What if there is no running water? No sewage service? Your ATM doesn't work? All or some of this could happen and this is the book has the answers. You'll get information on advice on:


* Heating
* Power
* Food and cooking
* Water
* Lighting
* Staying clean, healthy and safe
* Money
* Important papers
* And more...

You'll get information on products that will work, what quantities of items you will need, and what to avoid. You can decide on your level of preparedness; use the numerous checklists in the book to make sure you are ready and comfortable regardless of the event. Even if the year 2000 doesn't get you, you'll still be prepared for power failures or other natural disasters. And you may even profit from this by finding you important papers and addressing issues you have put off. In most cases, you can use what you buy. We tell you how to minimize costs and the reference section is the best source of information you need to prepare for the Y2K anywhere.

You owe it to yourself to get prepared. The Complete Y2K Home Preparation Guide is the single resource to tell you exactly what you need so that you can relax and enjoy the New Year knowing that you are ready.

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