'All the good news is self-reported,' Roskind said. 'There is no way of evaluating what the truth is.' Which is reason not to assume that the Red Cross or the Federal Emergency Management Agency will take care of problems in your community should they happen. 'If something does happen it won't be like an earthquake or flood; these agencies will be overwhelmed.'
Taking preparation matters into your own hands is simple and not expensive, Roskind said. 'It's as easy as shopping for January in August.'
To prepare, Roskind offers the following 10 tips:
1. In mid-1999, buy the food you usually buy in early
2. Purchase the nonperishable food that you are used to eating. Almost everything in the grocery aisle has a shelf life of 1 to 3 years.
3. Purchase long-life emergency candles, solar lights or kerosene lamps and kerosene. Do not rely on battery operated lights. Batteries may be hard to get.
4. Have a good camp cookstove and enough fuel. If you already have a propane stove, test to see if it works without electricity.
5. Have a heater and enough heating fuel available. This can be wood, kerosene or propane. All other heating fuels come from a central source, which may fail.
6. Have enough prescription drugs, a good first aid kit and book, off-the-shelf medication, and paper products.
7. Store one gallon of water per day per person in clean, food-grade containers. Also store unscented chlorine bleach for treating water. Use 2 drops per quart, 4 if water is cloudy.
8. When storing fuel, check local fire codes and add a life-extending additive as you store it.
9. Buy an inexpensive camp solar shower, a fire extinguisher and a battery-operated smoke and carbon dioxide detector. If you buy a generator, get a small one. Large ones require large amounts of fuel.
10. Stock enough of everything to help others.
Roskind admits that it is very hard to convince people now to prepare for Y2K, which worries him. 'Groups are withering. It is real clear that less than 50 percent of the people will prepare... If something catastrophic does happen, we are only going to get through this by helping each other.'
Contact: Robert Roskind, author, 'The Complete Y2K Home Preparation Guide,' and president and founder of Y2K Solutions, Inc., Blowing Rock, N.C., 828-295-4610, 888-Y2K-4YOU; web site: www.readyfory2k.com.
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