Iowa told: Take Y2K seriously : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


The top federal troubleshooter has concerns about local bug-related problems.

By WILLIAM PETROSKI Register Staff Writer 08/25/1999

Iowans should stock up with at least a three-day supply of food, water, batteries and cash before New Year's Day, President Clinton's chief Y2K troubleshooter said Tuesday in Des Moines.

Rural residents should stock up for an even longer period, he advised.

"I think it is a mistake not to prepare," said John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. "It will be a long winter weekend. We will have an ice storm somewhere, we will have a blizzard somewhere, and in some places, we will have Y2K issues."

Koskinen said it's becoming increasingly clear that the nation's major electrical power grids, telephone systems, banks and air-traffic control systems will be prepared for potential Y2K technology glitches.

He is concerned about local Y2K problems, particularly affecting small businesses; small health-care facilities; elementary and secondary schools and some higher education institutions; and some emergency dispatch systems.

"The mom-and-pop businesses down the street are the ones we are really concerned about. We also think if your service is provided by a smaller telephone company, you need to make sure they are doing the work. We think the vast majority of them are, but with 1,300 small telephone companies across the country, we think some may have difficulties, although it may be billing difficulties rather than getting a dial tone," he said.

Koskinen met with reporters Tuesday during a whirlwind tour of the Des Moines area. His schedule included meetings with business and government leaders, a speech to Rotarians in West Des Moines, and a statewide Y2K town meeting Tuesday night carried in 25 Iowa communities via the Iowa Communications Network.

The Year 2000 problem stems from concerns that many computers were programmed to recognize only the last two digits of the year in a date. Computers that haven"t been debugged could read 2000 as 1900 and shut down or malfunction.

Koskinen said most people worried about Y2K problems leading to a major disaster have focused on possible massive failures of national systems. But electric utilities are virtually finished preparing their systems, and more than 99 percent of the nation's banks have been certified by regulators as Y2K satisfactory. He also believes transportation and telecommunications systems are generally in good shape.

However, most power companies and telephone companies won't guarantee they will be problem-free when Jan. 1 arrives, Koskinen said.

"The nature of these systems is that there are glitches somewhere in the country every day, and I am confident that there will be some of those. We think no matter how good your testing is, how good your remediation has been, everybody needs to be prepared for the possibility that there will be glitches, and that includes individuals," he said.

At a minimum, Iowans should have three days' worth of supplies, including batteries for flashlights and radios, and enough food, water and cash to get through the weekend, he said. Some people - such as rural residents who can be stranded for days after snowstorms - may want supplies for a longer period, such as seven to 10 days, he said.

"Even if there is not a Y2K problem, (the extra supplies) will not be wasted, because people will be better prepared whenever other emergencies come along," Koskinen said.

Koskinen also said he wanted to quash rumors that Y2K problems could lead to a curtailment of civil liberties. He said the federal government has no contingency plans to nationalize the National Guard, to declare martial law or to interfere with normal operations of state or local governments, he said.

-- y2k dave (, August 25, 1999


(snip) Koskinen said it's becoming increasingly clear that the nation's major electrical power grids, telephone systems, banks and air-traffic control systems will be prepared for potential Y2K technology glitches. (snip) This is great news. I live in Los Angeles and we have "major electrical power grids, telephone systems, banks and air-traffic control systems." This must be a guarantee that everything will now be just fine.

-- smfdoc (, August 25, 1999.

...........and he really said, they are prepared for the gliches, not, that there will be none!

-- FLAME AWAY (, August 25, 1999.

Hey - Iowa is one of the 3 states who are compliant - they don't need no stinkin' preps. Sheesh!

Bob P

-- Bob P (, August 25, 1999.

It's amazing that they are saying only prepare for three days. Ok. Go to your refrigerator and guess how long that food will last. Three days? Now look in your pocket and tell me how long your money will last. Three days? Now, assuming you've filled the Brita this morning and bought a few gallons of water, how long do you think they will last? Three days?

What Koskinen is basically saying is prepare, but don't prepare.

There's some deep denial going on in Washington.


-- Tim the Y2K nut (, August 25, 1999.

Well I just take ma ol RV an park it in Kennedy High school parking lot and wait for this to all blow over!

Lord knows I wouldn't want to be down on 16Th ave at the roll over!


-- Been (There@done.that), August 25, 1999.


what is wrong with 16th Ave. You would just be getting drunk with the rest of the Bohemians? Doesn't sound so bad to me.

-- Beckie (, August 25, 1999.

Well, Mrs. Rimmer and I have made Al's Red Frog a key part of 'contingency plan B'.... :)

-- Arnie Rimmer (, August 25, 1999.

Note Special K stated "mimimun of 3 days" but RURAL folks should prepare longer? What he trying to say here. I am glad to see there are a few people from CR on this board.

-- y2k dave (, August 26, 1999.

Yes, nice to see you all, I live in Iowa City.

-- (, August 26, 1999.

Koskinen may be trying to say that correcting any problems in cities may receive a higher priority the correcting problems in rural areas, because of the potential for chaos in cities.

Triage, anyone?

-- Maybe (May@be.not), August 26, 1999.

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