WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) kicks off its first series of regional Y2K Preparation & Consequence Management Workshops agencies in Atlanta, Ga., in mid-February. In addition to FEMA officials, participants will include state emergency managers, state fire marshals, state Y2K coordinators and regional representatives of key federal agencies. Attendance by invitation only.
The 10 workshops, to be held across the country from mid-February through the end of March, will provide a forum where the emergency management and fire services communities can discuss initial Y2K compliance assessments, potential consequences of Y2K disruptions and the coordination of necessary responses among local, state and federal responders. The regional workshops will pave the way for a national-level Y2K consequence management exercise to be held in Washington, D.C., in June.
"FEMA has a major role to play in working with state and local emergency management and fire services officials to prepare for dealing with any disruptions and responding to Y2K transition problems," FEMA Director James Lee Witt said. "These workshops are designed to identify possible problems and help the emergency management and fire services communities plan responses and develop contingency plans."
Meanwhile, FEMA officials at the highest level were focusing on Y2K issues in a series of meetings in Washington, D.C., this past week. FEMA regional directors, regional preparedness directors along with the agency's regional response and recovery division directors met on Wednesday with headquarters senior managers with Y2K responsibilities to discuss preparation and consequence management issues. And on Thursday, the senior FEMA managers met with John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on the Year 2000, and representatives of the agency's federal emergency response partners to discuss the status of state, local and federal Y2K preparedness activities.
Y2K refers to electronic and computer system problems that may occur because of the inability of date sensitive devices to compute "2000" when systems move from 1999 to the Year 2000 (Y2K). Virtually all systems that rely on computers or electronic devices that refer to date and time may be affected by Y2K in one way or another. This includes power, dispatch and communications systems, 911 systems, microcomputers, and much more.
As chair and coordinator of the Emergency Services Sector (ESS), FEMA is one of nine critical sector coordinators working with the President's Council on Y2K Conversion, headed by Presidential Advisor John A. Koskinen. The ESS group is working to make sure that all segments of the nation's emergency management community operate normally through the cross-over period from 1999 to the Year 2000 and beyond.
The schedule for the first series of FEMA regional Y2K workshops is as follows:
Atlanta Feb. 17-18
New York City Feb. 23-24
Boston Feb. 24-25
Philadelphia Feb. 25-26
Dallas March 9-10
Chicago March 10-11
Kansas City March 11-12
Seattle March 23-24
San Francisco March 24-25
Denver March 25-26