greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

There seem to be some concerns about the ability of FEMA to handle an emergency situation. There also seem to be some questions as to who exactly should be responsible in an emergency. I wrote to my state coordinator for the Year 2000 and got a reply indicating that there is a PEMA - Pennsylvania Emergency Management Association - that is being asked to prepare. I assume your state has one as well. It's helpful to contact these people and find out what's going on and who is in charge.

-- Amy Leone (aleone@amp.com), August 25, 1998



YOU are in charge. Don't forget it. Depending on anyone other than yourself or someone who has your personal best interests at heart to take care of your own essentials is foolish, period. In fact, that's one of the reasons the current difficulty looms on the horizon now.

If you want to be told, "Go stand in that line over there and we'll give you a bowl of gruel in an hour or two, maybe" by some bureaucratic hack, call PEMA or FEMA or whoever. They won't be that honest, of course. Which is another reason not to bother in the first place... .

If you want information on how to get prepared so as not to be dependent on bureacracy at any level, why ask that bureaucracy for help? Their vested interest is in keeping you as a 'client' with no options available to you other than their 'services' provided, of course, with your tax dollars. The simple truth is that government agencies on any level are for the most part unwilling to admit that there may be problems, much less preparing to provide solutions. Except for pats on the back of the hand while saying, "There, there... ."


-- Lee P. Lapin (lplapin@hotmail.com), August 25, 1998.

Amy, That's good thinking. We could call and find out what our state is doing to plan for disaster y2k and then we could possibly get in on the planning and have some idea how they are going to handle all those people who have not made any preparations. This is one way to be first in line at the soup kitchen if you are unable to make any preparations for whatever reason OR you will know what to do to get out of the way if they are coming in your direction. It is always good to know what the other side is thinking. Msglory

-- Msglory (roblackard@juno.com), August 25, 1998.

I haven't talked to our local emergency services folk. Perhaps I should.

I _have_ spoken about y2k to a city commissioner, a county commissioner, the newspaper editor, my state legislator, my state senator, a public service commissioner, and my US Congressman, who had to take me seriously because, due to poor judgement on the part of an airline employee, I wound up sitting next to him, in first class.

Of all these people, the only one who seemed concerned enough to lift a finger was the public service commissioner, who has launched an official letter of inquiry onto the power and phone companies here.

The legislator and state senator both suggested that I call someone else.

The newspaper editor apparently hasn't bothered to look into the dozen local angles on y2k, like what's (not) happening at the hospital, the power company, the university, city & county governments, school system, etc.

I feel like I've done my Paul Revere duty; now I'm looking into solar panels and bulk food purchases.

How do you wake up 'leaders' who insist on slumber?

-- Brady Wiseman (bradywiseman@compuserve.com), August 25, 1998.

I was thinking about what happened to me. I asked them what they were doing to warn individuals and they replied by telling me what they were doing to warn businesses, schools, community leaders, and PEMA. In other words, they avoided my question. Of course I was too stupid to see this at first. Something similar happened to me when I called the manufacturer of my furnace/water heater if it would still work in 2000. The nice lady assured me repeatedly that my boiler would still be working. After I got off the phone with her, I realized that she hadn't told me that my furnace would be working.

Watch these people. They are very tricky.

-- Amy Leone (aleone@amp.com), August 25, 1998.

LPL, funny you should say, "If you want information on how to get prepared so as not to be dependent on bureacracy at any level, why ask that bureaucracy for help?" FEMA has a whole pile of good basic preparedness documents on their web site.

Sure, this could be advertised a bit more widely, but its there. The more people that are prepared, the less work for the FEMAites -- and less work is probably their *real* prime motivator.

-- Larry Kollar (lekollar@nyx.net), August 25, 1998.

I see two problems with FEMA or it's state and local couterparts that would have an impact here.

First is their own Y2K preparedness. FEMA got an A- on the last Horn Report Card I saw, so we can assume for the moment that they stand a decent chance of having their own ducks in a row. But if the feds are relying on the state agencies for help in any relief efforts, the question then becomes "How are the various state aganecies doing?"

Second is funding. FEMA has had some problems in the past because it has had to deal with bigger and more frequent disasters than it was fiscally prepared for. If Y2K turns out to present as many wide-spread problems as some people fear it could push the financial reserves of both the federal and state agencies beyond the breaking point. And that's assuming no hyper-inflation and functioning legislatures to consider emergency appropriations. If either or both of these assumptions turn out to be false, it could result in a complete breakdown of relief efforts in a wide-spread emergency.

Anybody have any information on FEMA's emergency relief funds? I could go hunting, but if somebody already knows where to look I would appreciate the pointer.

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@ultranet.com), August 25, 1998.

Here's another example of how much authority FEMA really has (or doesn't have): FEMA posted a "mandatory evacuation order" for the North Carolina barrier islands this week since Hurricane Bonnie is coming in. However, the news folks were talking about the people who refused to comply & were going to be stuck there since the drawbridge was going to be raised yesterday morning.

So FEMA can "order" people out of their houses, but have no means to enforce those orders.

-- Larry Kollar (lekollar@nyx.net), August 27, 1998.

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