Miami Herald Y2K Article : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Today's Miami Herald ran a rather long article on y2k featuring a large photograph of Chuck Lanza. The writer generally seems to agree with the assessment of Koskinen, except for preparations, as quoted below:

"Here are some early tips from emergency management officials:

Delivery of some consumer items may be delayed, so -- slowly and in an orderly fashion -- gather a two-week supply of food, water and prescription medicines. Fill up your vehicle's gasoline tank, your barbecue's propane tank and the fuel tank of any power generator you might have."

The article stated that the Broward County water treatment plant plans to set the clock back to 1972 until new software can be installed next year. Ft. Lauderdale, which was included in the Navy report, is in Broward County. However, the city of Ft. Lauderdale has its own water system, and they are apparently claiming to be ready.

The article can be found at:

The link may not last past today.

-- Danny (, August 22, 1999


Chuck Lanza is a terrific guy; he heads up the emergency management office for Broward County, and I've had several interactions with him. As I recall, he has also written some very good columns on the Westergaard site.


-- Ed Yourdon (, August 22, 1999.

Miami-Dade Year2000 Community Preparedness

The County Manager has asked the Director of the Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Chief Charles Lanza, to prepare Community Contingency plans. Chief Lanza has outlined four activities in his Community Preparedness article to reduce the potential for major disruptions and prepare the community...


Chuck Lanzas personal web-site...

Good stuff... good person.


-- Diane J. Squire (, August 22, 1999.

A good example of a Y2K emergency management readiness poster child.

Silicon Valley, CA... wish youd take notes!


(Thanks for pointing out the link, Danny!)

Published Sunday, August 22, 1999, in the Miami Herald

Y2K approach has agencies in S. Florida tense but ready

Herald Staff Writers


[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Authorities in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties are confident that the Y2K computer bug will not infect essential public services. They say ``mission critical'' systems at police, fire, traffic control and similar operations are debugged or soon will be.

But authorities in all three counties plan to greet the year 2000 from emergency operations centers. Vacations and days off have been canceled for many police officers, firefighters, utility managers and other essential workers.

Though pleased with the region's level of readiness, experts say the Y2K situation is extremely complex, the end result impossible to predict. Calm, prudent preparation is the best course of action, they say, for individuals and the agencies assigned to protect them.

``We're calling Y2K the last hurricane of the 1999 season,'' said Chuck Lanza, Miami-Dade's emergency operations director. ``We have to be prepared.''

Miami-Dade's Emergency Operations Center in West Dade will be staffed on New Year's Eve by most county departments, every major utility and key agencies such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Broward's center -- a command post in Plantation that gears up only for hurricanes, terrorist threats and the like -- also will be staffed on Dec. 31, though not at full strength.

``It's not necessarily where you'd like to spend New Year's Eve, but we're here in fair weather and foul weather, too,'' said Michael Hardin, assistant director of Broward's emergency management division. ``In this business, that's what you sign on for.''

Patrols for Key West

Monroe County and Key West will open their emergency operations centers on New Year's Eve. All 80 of Key West's police officers will patrol the streets to keep an eye on the expected 30,000 revelers and any Y2K trouble that might appear.

``I'd hate on New Year's Eve, come the stroke of midnight, the lights go out and we're stuck with 15,000 to 20,000 drunks on the street in the dark,'' said John Jones, the assistant city manager. ``I don't want that to happen.''

It almost certainly won't. Electricity comes to the Keys from the mainland, and every link in that chain of power says it is ready for the 2000s.

Throughout the region, authorities consider Y2K a very delicate matter, a very sensitive issue.

One major concern: A combination of unfounded rumors, reckless media reports and accelerating public insecurity could create some of the problems once threatened by the computer bug itself.

Authorities are worried that some residents might indulge in unwarranted hoarding of cash, gasoline and other commodities, or panic if their lights flicker for a moment, or respond disproportionately to reports of problems in distant cities, states or nations.

`Overreaction' a concern

``Our No. 1 worry is overreaction on the public's part,'' said Pembroke Pines police Lt. Keith Palant, that city's emergency preparedness coordinator.

Palant said emergency officials have been warned, for example, that New Year's Eve could be ``the Mother of all Mother's Days,'' when it comes to long-distance telephone calls.

``We're expecting a lot of `all circuits are busy' on New Year's Eve, but even though it's not related to Y2K per se, the perception with the public might be, `Uh-oh, see, the phones aren't working,' '' Palant said.

Another concern: A larger than usual number of people from northern states and Latin America may flock to South Florida at year's end -- because warm weather makes for a more pleasant ambience if Y2K-related problems emerge or because other nations are not taking the bug as seriously.

``We have instability in a lot of Latin American countries, and people don't feel comfortable that their country is doing something about this problem,'' said Jenny Deblois, Miami-Dade's Y2K project manager.

``Many of them have the means to come here, and why not? I would do it if I was in that situation.''

Date glitch: How serious?

As virtually everyone knows by now, many computers -- originally programmed to recognize only the last two digits of a year -- may not operate properly after Jan. 1, 2000, when they might assume the year to be 1900.

Programmers have been working for years to inspect, fix or replace millions of machines around the world. The result? No one really knows.

At this point, those who predict national chaos are almost certainly wrong. The vast majority of systems in the United States have been debugged, and most observers expect nothing more than minor, localized disruptions.

To repeat for clarity and emphasis: In South Florida, experts do not believe that the Y2K problem, by itself, will cause serious disruptions.

Virtually every crucial system controlled by local governments -- water and sewer operations, traffic signals, fire communications, hospitals and other medical facilities, airport and seaport operations, and so on -- has been declared ready or nearly ready for 2000, according to a Herald survey of Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties.

The main exception could be police communications systems, but most are said to be ready, and others are being reinforced with backup systems.

Utilities voice confidence

Meanwhile, Florida Power & Light and BellSouth say their computers will not fail.

``We're in the home stretch right now in wrapping up all our systems,'' said Spero Canton, a South Florida spokesman for BellSouth. ``The telephone system will be operational.''

FPL said it has spent $50 million since 1995 to prepare for 2000. ``We're ready,'' spokesman Bill Swank said.

On the other hand, those who predict no disruption of any sort are also almost certainly wrong. Countless computers in foreign countries remain vulnerable, and many of them are linked to business or governmental systems in the United States.

A recent State Department survey of 161 nations found that nearly half face a medium to high risk of computer breakdowns in telecommunications, energy and other essential economic sectors.

In addition, even the most confident programmer cannot guarantee that every problem has been fixed or even identified. In a world thoroughly webbed by computer links, a failure far away or in the cubicle next door can undermine seemingly secure systems.

``My guess is, the reality is going to be somewhere between nothing happening and a disaster,'' said Ron Albert, Broward County's Year 2000 project manager.

Uncertainties remain

Said Deblois, his counterpart in Miami-Dade: ``There are so many issues and so many external entities that can impact us.

``I'm concerned that somewhere down the line, we may have a problem with a vendor or a municipality that we had no way of anticipating. So many things can get you.''

Given the uncertainty -- and the climate of anxiety that might arise despite authorities' best efforts -- local officials are mapping plans for the turn of year.

In Miami-Dade, in addition to opening the emergency operations center, authorities will activate their Community Hotline to provide information and help extinguish false rumors.

``I'm being paid by the county to be the pessimist,'' said Lanza, Miami-Dade's emergency operations director. ``I have to assume the worst and prepare for it.''

In addition, Miami-Dade police have canceled all vacations from Dec. 20 through Jan. 16. The fire department plans to buy three months of nonperishable supplies in advance. Miami International Airport will open a special command post.

The Public Health Trust, which runs Jackson Memorial Hospital and dozens of nursing homes and other health facilities, has canceled vacations and will open its command center on Dec. 31.

``We will be fully staffed,'' said Ben Lee, the trust's Y2K project director. ``It's the same as going on hurricane alert.''

Broward preparedness

In Broward, year-end vacations have been curtailed by many local governments.

In Fort Lauderdale, the entire information technology staff and representatives of every city department will work on New Year's Day - - a Saturday -- to test their computer systems.

``If there's a problem, I'd rather find out about it on Saturday and have two days to fix it,'' said Kevin Keimel, who oversees the city's computer operations.

Throughout the region, public service departments are developing backup plans to operate safely and effectively even if they suffer a full or partial computer failure.

At the same time, authorities are conflicted about publicizing their contingency and readiness plans.

They do not want to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. They somehow must plan for a crisis without creating that crisis by appearing too worried over the prospect of a crisis.

``Be prepared, be ready,'' said Bill Johnson, Miami-Dade's assistant director of emergency operations. ``But keep everything in perspective. Don't panic.'' e-mail:


WEB OF PREPAREDNESS: At Miami-Dade's Emergency Operations Center, a projection of its Web site discussing potential year-end computer problems 'prints out' on Director Chuck Lanza.


A nationwide poll recently found that one-third of all Americans plan to stock up on food, water and other supplies in response to Y2K fears. One-fourth will withdraw extra cash from their bank accounts.

According to the poll conducted last month for The Associated Press, 66 percent of Americans expect minor Y2K problems. Eighteen percent expect no problem at all. Eleven percent anticipate major problems. The rest were undecided.

So, what should you do?

South Florida experts suggest that you prepare as you would for a hurricane that is posing a modest threat. In fact, they say you should keep your hurricane supplies handy and fresh when the current season ends. That way, you'll be ready for whatever trouble Y2K brings, if any.

Here are some early tips from emergency management officials:

 Delivery of some consumer items may be delayed, so -- slowly and in an orderly fashion -- gather a two-week supply of food, water and prescription medicines. Fill up your vehicle's gasoline tank, your barbecue's propane tank and the fuel tank of any power generator you might have.

 Some important computer records may not be immediately accessible, so gather important financial statements, credit card bills and similar documents. Withdraw some extra cash from your bank account.

 Check home computer systems and security alarms, computerized thermostats and lights, and portable medical devices. Call the manufacturer or service provider to determine if they are Y2K ready.

Here are some sources of information about local or national Y2K efforts:

Miami-Dade County's Y2K Home Page:


Broward County's Y2K Home Page:


Residents of Monroe County can call emergency management authorities at: 305-289-6018.

State of Florida Y2K Home Page:

U.S. Congress General Accounting Office's National Y2K Page:


Here is a look at a few Y2K issues still needing attention in South Florida, according to local emergency management officials:


The 911 system has been upgraded in all but two cities -- Plantation and Sunrise. The work is supposed to be finished by Nov. 30, but the county says it is prepared to handle emergency calls, if necessary, from those two cities at its central dispatching facility.

The radio system that county employees and Broward Sheriff's Office deputies rely on to communicate with each other is also being upgraded, but the portion of it that deals with Y2K issues is complete. The rest of the upgrade is supposed to be finished this fall.

The software that monitors water quality at the county treatment plant is being upgraded, and the work will not be complete by Jan. 1. To prevent a problem, the county plans to ``backdate'' the system to 1972 before the century ends and until new software is installed.


The county's 911 system has been upgraded, but county experts still are monitoring the readiness of 911 systems in Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pinecrest and Hialeah.

The accounting system at Miami-Dade's seaport, somewhat primitive even before the Y2K problem emerged, will not be ready. Among other things, the department will abandon its accounts payable computer system and process information manually.

Portions of the transit system's computer operation are not yet Y2K- compliant. Among other things, managers there may have to schedule bus drivers manually rather than by computer.

Operators of Miami International Airport are concerned about aircraft coming from Latin America.


The county's computer systems are 80 percent compliant as of last week. The rest should be compliant by mid-September.

The county's 911 dispatch service is still not ready. The county is installing a new one that should be in place by Oct. 1.

-- Diane J. Squire (, August 22, 1999.

Thanks for the thread Danny.

Thank you Diane for the URL to Chuck Lanza's web site. It is an informative and authoritative y2k resource, very well done.

This is another example of why I visit this forum daily. Please know that your hard work and long hours do not go unappreciated.

-- Carol (, August 22, 1999.

The software that monitors water quality at the county treatment plant is being upgraded, and the work will not be complete by Jan. 1. To prevent a problem, the county plans to ``backdate'' the system to 1972 before the century ends and until new software is installed.

Was 1972 a leap year?

-- Shelia (, August 22, 1999.

Thank goodness there are officials somewhere who are going about this the right way, and trusting the public to use commonsense with this information. Maybe some other local governments will take notice and follow this example when the public does NOT become crazed with panic after reading this lengthy, well-presented information.

Maybe you're right, Diane. Maybe the tide can be turned.

-- Kristi (, August 22, 1999.

Kristi, I agree, there needs to be a Chuck Lanza in every community!

-- Carol (, August 22, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California

Was 1972 a leap year? Yes

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage.neener.autospammers--regrets.greenspun), August 23, 1999.

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