PA's Y2K Director Says: Stock up to be safe : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Y2K expert warns: Stock up to be safe

Pa2K's director says no one knows what will happen Jan. 1, 2000.


By SONIA CSENCSITS Of The Morning Call

The director of a state program to increase awareness of the looming Y2K problem told emergency management coordinators Tuesday that people should stock a week's supply of food and water to prepare for computer system failures.

Up to 30 percent of potential Y2K problems in the state will not be fixed in time, and small businesses, nonprofit agencies and local services are most at risk, said Frederick Loomis, executive director of Pa2K, an educational program started by Gov. Tom Ridge.

Loomis spoke in Bethlehem at a training session the state Emergency Management Agency held for county emergency management coordinators.

He is director of administration planning and information technol ogy for the Pennsylvania State University Outreach and Cooperative Extension division and was project leader for development of the Executive Survival Guide for the Year 2000.

He also wrote a guide for contingency planning, business continuity and emergency management with the Commonwealth and Information Technology Association of America.

Loomis told those at the session it was their ''obligation to keep the public informed, and we have to do it ahead of time.''

''Meeting the Y2K challenge is very much a leadership issue. It is not just a technical issue.

''We don't know what will happen'' when the clock ticks into Jan. 1, 2000, Loomis said.

''People say a lot of hype. Some say nothing will happen. Something is going to happen. Some people will act irrational. We are in the middle. We believe if we take an appropriate stand, all will benefit.''

Loomis said embedded technology, the 70 billion computer chips that operate facsimile machines, security systems, laboratory and hospital water, sewer, electricity systems and traffic lights have date-sensitive codes in them.

He said 1 to 5 percent of the chips will be affected.

''But we don't know which ones,'' Loomis said. ''Every system needs to be tested. The problem is not just computers. It is in the equipment we depend on.

''If it fails, what will happen? You must begin planning. You need to ask, 'What if? What if the computer shuts down? What if the electricity shuts down? What if there is no dial tone?''' There must be assessments and risk analyses to determine what will happen if systems fail and the consequences of the failures, he said.

Loomis said 90 percent of failures caused by the Y2K problem are expected to be repaired within three days.

But community resources must be identified and backup systems for power, food supplies and shelters assessed, he said. Teamwork among emergency management, police, fire, emergency services and local government is vital.

''If you think you can depend on your existing plan, don't think it is adequate unless it has been thoroughly tested to every Y2K contingency.'' Local emergency plans must be tested, he said.

''Is your local government Y2K compliant?'' he asked. ''Begin thinking about your professional responsibility, how to get word out to the public and organizations so you don't have panic in the streets if there are failures.''

He said he does not believe ''the worst-case scenario, where all shuts down on Jan. 1, will happen.''

But while very little in homes will be affected, Loomis said, homeowners should do a personal inventory, make paper copies of vital information stored in their computers, monitor financial assets and make copies of December bank statements.

Pa2K is the state's plan to increase awareness, assess the potential for problems and develop a plan to deal with the problems ''so minor disruptions of service are a minor inconvenience,'' Loomis said.

He said an electronic town hall will be held June 30 to begin the campaign. He said 2,000 people from business, health care, public information and other areas will be recruited to pass the word along to residents.

The committees will be trained to offer information sessions for the private and public sectors beginning Sept. 1.

The Cooperative Extension service soon will distribute 500,000 guides with information on how individuals and businesses can prepare.

People who are concerned about Y2K or want information about preparedness can call 1-888USA4Y2K or visit the World Wide Web site,

-- Watching PA (no@spam.please), May 05, 1999


I thought PA was leading the herd in y2k remediation. Is this not so?


-- Ray (, May 05, 1999.

Actually, Ray, I believe they announced that they were done.

Let's go look for that article...................

-- Lisa (, May 05, 1999.

99% compliant for a year now. That last 1% is a real bitch. Uh,,,,, where did the 30% failure rate come from? If we here in PA. are to expect a 30% failure rate, when we are number one in compliance, what will happen to the rest of the country? Where is Milne when ya need him?

-- SCOTTY (, May 05, 1999.

From last July: Y2 K bug piece of cake for Pennsylvania

The so-called "year 2000" computer bug, hailed by doomsayers everywhere for its catastrophic potential 17 months hence, has been licked - at least in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

State officials announced yesterday that 98 percent of state computer systems that support "essential state government services" will continue to function when the date rolls over to Jan. 1, 2000.

Sounds like they fixed all the State systems, but may get whacked by some of those pesky "other systems"...

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), May 05, 1999.

The law of all projects:

The first 80% of a project takes 20% of the time. The last 20% takes 80% of the time

gettin' scratched,

The Dog

-- Dog (desert dog, May 05, 1999.

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