Article linked to the US GSA site re: preparedness for home and business : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This is an interesting article posted at the GSA's link to the Y2K Conference. I am a little surprised that the government continues to support this link. Then again, the government is predicting anything from 0-8 depending on who's talking and on what day and before what audience.

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Emergency Preparedness in Year Zero [Practical Solutions Posted on GSA's Virtual Y2K Conference]

Dick Lefkon


This article is a living document. It will be updated every week, as long as existing plans, specific antidotes, and operational suggestions for emergency preparedness are received at the following e-mail address:

[General Questions and Comments to -] Self-serving public relations announcements by your enterprise will not be excluded, as long as they contain practical nuggets that can be applied by others.

At least once per quarter, solution titles will be tweaked in the interest of making the growing solutions list easier to reference. In between, titles will remain the same so that repeat visitors to this document can easily skip over what they have already read.


More than 25 years ago, this author began his technical courses with the following advice: Some time after Thanksgiving, 1999, pack a good supply of canned and other foods into your station wagon and go on a camping trip, preferably where there are caves and a natural supply of fresh water.


Some solutions given here, first appeared in our book, Year 2000: Best Practices for Y2K Millennium Computing: Panic in Year Zero. This was published in 1996 and 1997 by AITP/DPMA SIG-Mainframe, then re-revised and published by Prentice-Hall in 1998. The commercial publisher dropped the last third from the original name, and replaced the movie photo of Ray Milland and Frankie Avalon with a Western-Hemisphere picture of the globe. If you like the "go camping" solution rent or buy the videotape, in which Los Angeles is A-Bombed as the family is leaving the driveway.


Possibly as a publicity stunt, some Year 2000 consultants have moved noisily to rural U.S. locations and brought their petrol supplies with them. If on January 1 you dont own such real estate but intend to escape civilization in an RV, remember what Milland did:

* Bought a pistol and a long gun and ammunition.

* Holed up in the cave he had forbidden son Avalon to play in.

* Divided up supplies into segments, which he buried underground.

* Regularly washed clothes, shaved and kept acting politely.

* Did not assume Nature would provide everything..

The last bullet point is important. If you do not build up expertise in living off the land, January 1 is a poor time to start. As one Y2K consultant recently joked, "All you New Yorkers will go out to the country and shoot Bambi. But in a week Bambi will be extinct, and then what will you do?"


If you have supplies on board January 1 when your navigational system fails, dont navigate. Nothing requires you to do so.


If you insure containerships carrying perishables, have some food inspectors, etc., ready at the disabled port so a tricky shipper is not compensated for late-unloaded goods that were spoiled to start with.

If your building has automated locking, train and pre-schedule employees in shifts at critical entryways and make sure everyone has been walked through the memo detailing the portals and procedures.


Part of your Y2K contingency planning is to walk through manual accomplishment of ordinarily automated tasks. To the extent that alternate automation (e.g., PCs or Y2K compliant mini-mainframe) is portable, have a minimal supply ready in a location with manually controlled access.

You might as well stock this location with a large number of pre-charged cell phones and extra batteries.


Be a football coach. Give every employee and expected business visitor a customized booklet of well-explained activity diagrams annotated by various contingent Y2K-related failures. Rehearse those who will compose and post your January 1 announcements, and make sure to utilize your main telephone number, an exclusive alternate number, your website, etc.


New Yorks Consolidated Edison will supplement its in-City LNG-powered electricity generators for Y2K in two ways. If the network stops transmitting gas, Con Ed has a separate in-City gas storage facility that can be connected. Also, each power generator is dual-fuel and can just as easily consume oil, which burns dirtier but is already tank-stored near each generator.


Even if nothing goes wrong for anyone, you would feel better knowing a critical business partner cared about you; and so will they. You encourage repeat business by showing you rate them highly and are systematic about it. Task each of your relationship managers (if you call them that) with writing a full, independent, alphabetized script for every phone call to be made. If you employ 50 and need 10,000 scripts, thats fewer than one cookie-cutter script per business day, even if you dont begin until 1999.

Get alternate names for those who might be on vacation or sick or "sick." And if you get alternate phone numbers you can get/convey a good picture Saturday, then a confirming one on Monday, January 3.


"20% of your customers/suppliers . . ." etc., etc. If you develop major Y2K problems you will be doomed if everyone spends an hour talking to each small child with a thirty-five-cent purchase. Write your procedures booklet tastefully so your enterprise isnt doomed if a disgruntled executive gives one to the local tabloid; but write it just the same. Make sure the appropriate commanders know who is to be served first and who must be put off using a prepared script, even if the reciter feels embarrassed. Remember that Criticality #1 usually means that Y2K failure will endanger the life of your organization or a human being. A monopoly power company might thus put snow-bound rural customers first, and a catering service put large corporate clients first.


Rugged survival in the woods isnt the only thing you shouldnt try January 1 for the first time. The recent UPS strike has taught us the difficulty of striking up a substitute relationship while the crisis is happening. If you have only 50% faith in a particular supplier, try re-allocating 50% of your business to a competitor well before Thanksgiving. There is an old stock market saying, "Put all your eggs in one basket; then watch the basket." Try not to do this if there is still a large hole in the bottom of the basket.


Whether they know it or not, millions of businesses - including financial ones - are just plain lying about their Year 2000 preparedness. After it is too late to do anything, we will find out who the majority of them are. Before January 1 - but not too far before - get paper copies of any records that prove who you are and what you own. No matter how outrageous, pay the makers extra fee for making the copy as definitive as possible. If they have no such policy, go to your local bank or stationery store and pay the two dollars to notarize the fact that the records existed as of that date. Use your imagination. Checking account and investment statements are important, but so is your consolidated credit report.


No, there will not be a run on the banks. In the 1930s, bank vaults did not contain enough coins and paper money to satisfy the demand. This time Uncle Sam intends that there will be. Many billions in currency will be "put on the street" to help address your legitimate concerns about useless credit cards - or unreasonable creditors threatening to do something dire if you dont pay those 99-year-overdue obligations!


As they say, the stock market will fluctuate. Choose your own scenario. Dont expect an extra dive just because everyone needs a few thousand dollars of walking-around money.

* You can withdraw it from checking.

* You can borrow from credit.

* Some enterprising business might lend it to you at 3% for a month.

(Hey, thats 36% APR!)

* You can borrow "on margin" using your stocks and bonds as collateral.


Possibly a backwater bank or S&L will forget to order its wheelbarrows of extra New Years cash and be so desperate for big deposits that it will ignore mandatory large-transaction procedures. Most will not.


Do not violate operational rules on an ad hoc basis, just because of Panic in Year Zero. Perhaps change the rules in advance for that period, but make sure everyone obeys the consolidated rules. Sloppiness breeds sloppiness. That is why cave-dwellers Ray Milland and Frankie Avalon shaved and brushed their teeth every day.

DISCLOSURE: Dick performs Y2K risk analyses, automation triage, contingency planning, forms preparation and manual replacement procedures preparation as part of a regular Year 2000 consulting practice.

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-- Puddintame (, March 18, 1999


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-- Puddintame (, March 18, 1999.

Pretty good, overall, Puddin, but he's obviously clueless when it comes to the money supply.

-- Vic (, March 18, 1999.

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