SEATTLE, Wash. -- Emergency managers, fire marshals, and emergency services officials from throughout the Pacific Northwest met with their federal counterparts in Vancouver, Washington last week to update Y2K threat-assessments, and share strategies to manage potential disruptions caused by software or embedded chip failure. In spite of general agreement that Y2K will NOT trigger widespread failure in electrical, telecommunications, financial, or transportation infrastructures--the message was clear: Americans should still prepare for what could be numerous small disruptions throughout the country. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency regional director David L. de Courcy, the very same precautions which protect families and businesses against natural hazards such as winter storms and earthquakes, provide adequate protection against potential Y2K disruptions.
"I think that we all know that, in spite of our collective best efforts, every computer will not be reprogrammed by the end of the year," said de Courcy. "Nor will we be able to root out and replace every non-Y2K compatible embedded chip by year's end. Prudence dictates that all of us be prepared for sporadic small disruptions, by restocking our emergency kits, updating family and business disaster plans, and maybe even rehearsing 'immediate actions' with family members and employees."
Traditional emergency kits include food, water and prescription medication for 72-hours, battery operated flashlights and radios, blankets, clothes, and first aid supplies. "There's certainly no need to hoard," said de Courcy. "We just need to inventory our daily support requirements and plan accordingly."