We are but mere weeks away from the turn of another century, and yet many communities continue to struggle with the issue of community-wide contingency planning and preparedness. For some there is a lack of leadership that has perhaps failed to recognize that Y2K is an opportunity to seize control of the elusive development of a simplistic yet workable disaster plan--one that makes sense, is fiscally responsible and financially prudent without compromising safety and security and is understood by all within the community through an aggressive educational campaign. In other communities, there is a reported lack of personnel coordination or the necessary financial resources to purchase essential communications equipment or back-up power generation equipment and a corresponding failure to recognize the option of establishing a very basic yet workable disaster plan, even with a strained budget. There are viable alternatives within confined parameters, the requirements for which are ingenuity, creativity, desire, dedication, and commitment. You can't throw money at a situation and expect a successful outcome without having and utilizing the aforementioned personal assets from somewhere within your community leadership. Finally, there is a continuing sense of ignorance or denial that has laid its foundation through an historical perspective that suggests, "It hasn't happened here, it can't happen here, and it's unlikely it will ever happen here," as though we possess the ability to somehow manage or dictate fate. In some respects, those communities ill-prepared for disaster/crisis may have sealed their own fate. Certainly they have tempted it. I'm concerned that we have mistakenly become so completely dependent upon the reliability of our utilities/infrastructure that we have failed to recognize the possibility that they may one day fail us. We must never lose sight of the fact that every mechanical device/system, regardless of its reliability, is not only prone to failure but will in fact most assuredly fail us at some point in time or another. The failure may be unforeseen, unavoidable, or accidental, and yet failure will occur nevertheless, Y2K or no Y2K! Y2k is but one example of a man-made disaster whose potential remains unknown.

Y2K may or may not be a significant event; however, there is a prevailing attitude that we live under a protected shield that is impervious to the dynamic forces of Mother Nature's wrath or is somehow inoculated from experiencing a man-made disaster because of the quality of life many communities as a whole enjoy. Bad assumption! Disaster can strike at a moment's notice and tear the heart and soul out of a community in a matter of minutes in the form of a funnel cloud lasting less than five minutes and cutting a destructive path less than 100 yards wide for a mile or two. Can't happen in your community? Bad assumption! It's the preparedness issues (disaster planning) that a community addresses in earnest well in advance of the disaster that determine its survivability. It's the ability to channel its energies in an organized fashion that minimizes the effects of the disaster at hand, allows the community to sustain itself during its time of trial and tribulation, and quickly rebuild itself so as to return to the quality of life that had so quickly been swept away.

As I previously stated in an earlier writing, "A comprehensive contingency plan establishes a solution for every anticipated failure, and it provides guidance in the absence of direction." Disasters bring with them virtual absolutes and virtual uncertainties. The "absolutes" are the failures/problems whereby fairly specific and comprehensive plans are established to manage obvious difficulties, i.e., traffic control problems due to malfunctioning or inoperative traffic signals, radio communications malfunctions or failures due to damaged components and non-conforming frequencies and a lack of effective leadership and coordination among the safety forces and other governmental services. Contingency plans should also provide general guidance for the uncertainties, the unexpected, and the unanticipated--guidance in the absence of specific direction. It may be nothing more than a comprehensive list of civilian and business resources able to provide people and equipment resources to attack a problem.

Other communities are focused, diligent, and quietly going about the work of contingency planning and preparedness. Some are doing it effectively and promoting their efforts through the media as part of an extensive educational campaign, and yet others have shortchanged their efforts by failing to communicate with their residents. Clearly, a community's survivability in a disaster/crisis is dependent upon a prepared administration and its community services; however, there is no substitute for a well-informed household that has accepted a responsibility for its own survivability, independent of government assistance.

Y2K has been the vehicle that the Hudson Police Department has attempted to ride, so to speak, to aggressively tackle the issue of organizational preparedness, establish comprehensive community-wide contingency planning, and educate the community as to the critical importance of personal preparedness. None of this means anything, of course, unless individuals take it upon themselves to be prepared to sustain themselves and their families without governmental assistance. Perhaps there is a comfort level many communities enjoy due to the dependability, reliability, and the efficiency of its safety forces and other departments that has allowed for this "transfer of ownership" whereby there is an expectation that limited resources utilized effectively will be sufficient to manage the disaster/crisis, regardless of its magnitude. Bad assumption! Each and every adult in every household needs to accept a responsibility for itself in the event the disaster/crisis overwhelms the local governmental resources available. It makes good sense, it's practical, it's doable, and it can be relatively easily accomplished with a minimum of expense and effort. The clock is ticking!

Within a growing segment of America's population, there is a dangerous and troubling presupposition that our enormous and complex government, supported by phenomenal tax dollars, has assumed the responsibility for everyone's safety, security, and total well-being in a disaster/crisis, and that the participation and assistance of the average resident is unnecessary. Unfortunately, there's a prevailing sense of entitlement! Furthermore, there is a dependence and reliance upon governmental assistance in its infinite forms to assume control, "save the day," and return normalcy to a disaster-stricken area in nothing short of a miraculous but unrealistic time frame. How it is, and why it is, we got to this point in history could be an issue of debate that would fuel "talk shows" for years. However, be there no mistake: We're there! Most assuredly, it is a catalyst that sparked the "community policing" initiative several years ago and continues today in earnest. We must return to the day when safety and security are "participatory" in nature and everyone assumes the responsibility for the general health of their community--not just a select few, not just the local government administration, not just the safety forces, but absolutely everyone living in the community. If and when we do return to such a positive and beneficial community initiative from a nationwide perspective, we'll see a corresponding decrease in civil litigation, finger pointing, and blame game antics so prevalent today. We need to generate positive initiatives and expend our energies in such a way that will benefit our communities in good times and in bad. For those of you internalizing the frustration over the lack of your community's disaster/crisis planning efforts, perhaps it's time to make a few well-placed phone calls, write a few letters to your local political figures or other persons of influence in the community government or administration, or make contact with the local sheriff, safety director, police chief, or fire chief to find out where your community stands in terms of preparedness and what it is you may be able to do to be of assistance.

Y2K or no Y2K, the clock is ticking and will continue to do so beyond January 1, 2000. Disasters don't care about the hour of the day, day of the week, or the economic status of your community. There is one constantly lurking just around the corner. I suspect that if disasters could communicate with us, they might marvel at their ability to sneak up unannounced, revel in their ability to create relentless and maximal amounts of havoc and destruction even when they announce their arrival, and express their disappointment in failing to administer sustained misery to a well-prepared community brimming with spirit and pride and an unwillingness to surrender to the unimaginable and/or the unthinkable.

Let's get to work! It will never be too late to start, nor will it ever be too soon. Disasters can't necessarily be averted; however, a prolonged state of misery and helplessness can quickly, effectively, and efficiently be addressed by a community that is prepared.

-- y2k dave (, October 05, 1999


To the top...

I wonder if Jim Brown would consider a run for the White House...

Thinkin' on moving to Hudson.


-- Roland (, October 05, 1999.

I know y2k dave would consider campaign mgr.

Excellent post david, imho--much better than those inflamatory polical posts.

-- David Butts (, October 05, 1999.

Click through the whole site. I especially liked their "Open Letter to the Press".


-- Roland (, October 05, 1999.

Is this the kinder, gentler y2k dave??? I stay kool as long I do not discuss politics as you can tell...I think I'm moving to hudson also. I sent this website to my city council.

-- y2k dave (, October 05, 1999.

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