Ready for Y2K?
I'm a bit of a worrywart, and I'm feeling anxious about a potential Y2K disaster. Can you tell me what emergency supplies I should stock my home with? How much water and food do I really need?
I'm not expecting to see major Y2K disruptions, just some minor inconveniences here and there. For myself, I'm not planning much in the way of emergency supplies. However, if you're concerned that you'll be vulnerable despite all the preparations made to prevent anticipated computer crashes, you can take precautions to protect yourself and your family. The American Red Cross has put together a comprehensive set of recommendations geared to helping you through the Y2K turnover (you can access the full list at http://www.redcross.org/Y2K.html). Here's a checklist of basic supplies that the organization recommends every U.S. household have on hand in preparation for Y2K disruptions:
Stock up on water -- three gallons per person, per day. Get enough for at least three days.
Make sure you have a three-day supply of nonperishable food, plus ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables. Families with babies should have extra infant formula, diapers, and powdered milk.
Get a supply of flashlights, a battery-operated radio, and plenty of batteries in the event of power failures. Additional supplies should include matches, a non-electric can opener, paper supplies (toilet tissue, paper towels, paper plates, and cups), and personal-hygiene items.
The Red Cross also advises withdrawing about two weeks' worth of cash a few weeks before New Year's to avoid the large demand for cash as Dec. 31 approaches. Another essential bit of advice is to contact the manufacturer of your home computer for any software "patches" your system may need to become Y2K compliant.
If you're among the estimated 50 million Americans who plan to be traveling during the holiday season, the Red Cross advises leaving at least a week before New Year's Eve and returning at least a week afterward.
I hope this eases your worry. Take the precautions that make sense to you, and then relax and enjoy the coming of the new millennium.