- Check with manufacturers of any essential computer-controlled
electronic equipment in your home to see if that equipment may be affected. This
includes fire and security alarm systems, programmable thermostats, appliances, consumer
electronics, garage door openers, electronic locks, and any other electronic equipment
in which an "embedded chip" may control its operation.
- Stock disaster supplies to last several days to a week
for yourself and those who live with you. This includes having nonperishable foods,
stored water, and an ample supply of prescription and nonprescription medications
that you regularly use. The Red Cross doesn't recommend hoarding supplies.
- Have some extra cash on hand in case computer-controlled
electronic transactions involving ATM cards, credit cards, and the like cannot be
processed. Plan to keep cash in a safe place, and withdraw money from your bank in
small amounts well in advance of 12/31/99 to avoid long lines at the bank at the
- Plan to fill your automobile gas tank a day or so before
- In case the power fails, plan to use alternative
cooking devices in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Don't use open
flames or charcoal grills indoors.
- Have extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves to keep
warm. Please do not plan to use gas-fueled appliances, like an oven, as an alternative
heat source. The same goes for wood-burning or liquid-fueled heating devices that
are not designed to be used in a residential structure. Camp stoves and heaters
should only be used out of doors in a well-ventilated area. If you do purchase an
alternative heating device, make sure it is approved for use indoors and is listed with
the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Have plenty of flashlights and extra batteries on hand. Don't
use candles for emergency lighting.
- Examine your smoke alarms now. If you have smoke alarms
that are hard-wired into your home's electrical system (most newer ones are), check
to see if they have battery back-ups. Every fall, replace all batteries in all smoke
alarms as a general fire safety precaution.
- Be prepared to relocate to a shelter for warmth and
protection during a prolonged power outage or if for any other reason officials
request or require that you leave your home. Listen to a battery-operated radio
or television for information about where shelters will be available.
- If you plan to use a portable generator, connect
what you want to power directly to the generator; do not connect the generator
to your home's electrical system. Also, be sure to keep a generator in a
well-ventilated space-either outside or in a garage, keeping the door
open. Don't put a generator in your basement or anywhere inside your home.
- Check with the emergency services providers in your
community to see if there is more information available about how your community
is preparing for any potential problems. Be an advocate and support efforts
by your local police, fire, and emergency management officials to ensure that
their systems will be able to operate at all times.