Last-Minute Y2K Tips From a Cub Scout Mom

BOULDER, Colo. — Kathy Garcia says she got her survivalist
training as a Cub Scout mom. Now, as head of the Boulder County Y2K
group, she translates that training into no-nonsense advice to
people calling the group looking for Y2K survival tips with only
days left to go.

‘Surviving without electricity, heat or running water for days
or weeks is not as hard as people are making it out to be,’ she
said. ‘You can stock up on one week’s supply of food easily,’ she
said.

Garcia advises sticking to food you’ll eat, like chili, tuna,
chicken in a can. ‘Think peanut butter and saltines. Peanut butter
is a wonderful thermostat for your body. What you want is food that
will keep you warm,’ she said. ‘Don’t buy foods your body is not
used to eating. You’ll be sick and the sewers may not be
working.’

Garcia’s approach to mealtime off the grid is simple: grill your
food on the barbecue or camp stove outside. For indoor cooking,
inexpensive Sternos will boil water for some pasta, or heat up a
can of soup. If all else fails, use a coffee can and a candle.
‘Punch some holes in the bottom, turn it over and put a candle
underneath it. It makes a great burner and it will really cook
food,’ Garcia said.

Staying warm without heat will be a problem, but she discourages
people from buying expensive generators, propane or kerosene
heaters. ‘The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is so high with
these,’ she said. Plus, to stock enough fuel to last a week or
more, people would need to illegally store gallons and gallons of
fuel in their homes, which could cause explosions or fires.

If power is out and the weather is not overly frigid, think of
camping indoors, Garcia said. ‘Bring your tent inside, pile your
whole family into it, and get into sleeping bags. ‘A tent will add
10 degrees of warmth.’ And get out your wool socks, gloves and
hats. ‘Forget cotton. It can kill you because cotton will radiate
heat away from your body.’

For bitter cold weather, if you don’t have a fireplace or
wood-burning stove, make sure you know somebody who does. ‘We tell
people, get to know your neighbors because you might be sleeping
with them,’ she said.

Garcia has also been directing people to www.beprepared.com, the
web site of Emergency Essentials, a Utah-based company that
specializes in outdoor survival gear. Inexpensive solutions include
a 12-hour light stick ($2 each), 18-hour hand and body warmers,
100-hour candles and an emergency space sleeping bag.

And where will Garcia be on New Year’s Eve? ‘We’re staying
home,’ she said. ‘And that’s my advice to everyone: stay home.
Because people who haven’t done any preparations will panic.’

Contact: Kathy Garcia, executive director, Boulder County
Y2K, Boulder, Colo., 303-247-1955.

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