National Leadership on Y2K is MIA : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


National Leadership on Y2K is MIA By Steve Davis November 9, 1999 A lack of leadership on the Y2K issue has left Americans uncertain about what to do to prepare. What does President Clinton think about the risk of Y2K disruptions? No one really knows -- he hasn't said much about it. Some survivalists are preparing for the end of the world, but most Americans are doing nothing. Should they be able to look to their leaders for prudent preparedness advice?

No one knows exactly what disruptions will happen due to Y2K. Reports indicate that many small and medium size organizations and many foreign firms and governments are doing little or nothing to prepare for Y2K. The technical problems that will result will be coupled with added risks from solar storms, millennialists, terrorists, and the possibility of cascading failures throughout our interconnected and global economies. As a result, the risk of disruptions is significantly greater this year than normal. So, it should be clearly evident that an increased level of preparedness is appropriate. Many businesses and governments think so; they are making contingency plans, stockpiling supplies, and planning to operate Y2K command centers.

So how should people prepare? While the Red Cross is recommending that we stock disaster supplies to last several days to a week, the President's Council on Y2K and even Alan Greenspan are advising us to prepare as we would for a long holiday weekend. Long holiday weekend? Are we supposed to be buying beer and chips or canned food and batteries?

Why is it so hard for our political leaders to support traditional preparedness recommendations when the risk of disruptions is greater than normal? It appears that an overwhelming and misplaced concern about public panic has now made being anti-preparedness more politically correct than being pro-preparedness. Many national, state and local leaders are taking a huge gamble in betting that Y2K-related disruptions will be minimal and in assuming that there is more risk in recommending preparedness than in recommending complacency. Any elected official that is not taking on Y2K as a serious issue is guilty of a total abdication of their leadership responsibilities. If they think that preparedness recommendations will cause panic, they are plain wrong.

Anyone that is fearful of causing panic should understand that the vast majority of Americans traditionally don't react to preparedness advice. Even after serious natural disasters, many people refuse to take the most basic preparedness recommendations from public safety experts. However, when a certain risk looms in the foreseeable future, people want to understand the risks and be told by credible sources what they are to do about it. Once prepared, people are likely to be relaxed and will deal with any crisis or disruption in a much more calm and rational manner.

While national leadership has been lacking, many emergency managers and grassroots groups are trying to give the public the information they need. But these groups have been put in a tough spot. Overly zealous reassurance efforts coupled with stories portraying these people as survivalists have made it very difficult for them to succeed.

How can we wake up our nation to the need for preparedness? In the past, the President's Y2K Council's awareness efforts have gotten little attention from the press or the people. What would it take to be successful? For one thing, the President hosting a press conference or a fireside chat would be a good start. Coupled with an effective media campaign the administration could change the conventional wisdom about Y2K and advocate prudent preparedness.

In the end, we will get to see if Y2K really is such a big deal after all. If it is, everyone, especially politicians, will be blamed of not doing enough. If Y2K is not such a big deal, critics will be harsh on those of us that advocated increased preparedness. I am willing to take the risk of doing too much over the risk of not doing enough. How about you?

Here is some of the basic, common sense advice being given by the Red Cross that will come in handy during Y2K disruptions or a winter storm. You can do much more but this is a good start towards basic preparedness.

Stock disaster supplies to last several days to a week for yourself and those who live with you. This includes having nonperishable foods, stored water, and an ample supply of prescription and nonprescription medications that you regularly use.

In case the power fails, plan to use alternative cooking devices in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Don't use open flames or charcoal grills indoors.

Have extra blankets, coats, hats, and gloves to keep warm. Please do not plan to use gas-fueled appliances, like an oven, as an alternative heating source.

Have a safe and prepared New Year.

-- Forum Regular (Here@y2k.comx), November 09, 1999


well said, thank you

-- ridleywalker (, November 09, 1999.

??? One of Kosky's lackey flunkies is nudging toward preps? Getting a conscience bite at the criminally immoral spin? Feeling queasy after Clintoon said he would not even store a little bit of food?

The people will not forget. Best you break away while you can.

-- not even a package of oreos (, November 09, 1999.

Clinton has said way toomuch about y2k, when you consider what has come out of his mouth. Preparers=Wackos in his eyes, and he has not missed an opportunity to say so. Hopefully the public will remember this.

-- Gia (, November 10, 1999.

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