Miami-Dade County OEM's contingency planning scenario for y2k : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here is the report from Miami=Dade County Office of Emergency Management on the scenarios they are using to develope contingency plans for y2k. The original article is on Westergaard2000 on the "Global-Local" column by Church Lanza. =====================================

"Dress Rehearsal"

By Chuck Lanza November 12, 1999 Whether you think Y2K is going to be a cruise ship sailing quietly into the sunset or the Titanic heading towards certain tragedy, there are less than fifty days left before the truth is revealed. As we near conclusion of our planning efforts in Miami-Dade County several activities are being undertaken including our Y2K tabletop exercise.

After a recent Public Safety Committee meeting where we developed several scenarios for the Y2K exercise, one of my colleagues said, "The potential is scary when you start talking it through." Whether we like it our not, when you strip away the hype, then develop potential scenarios, especially last minute "panic" buying, celebrations, increased dependence on government, and "isolated and limited power disruptions," Y2K is "scary." As we move into the last fifty days, increased attention by the media and the long expected awakening of a large percentage of the public to the threat, we can expect greater dependence on us for direction and support.

Over the last six months all offices, departments, and agencies in Miami-Dade County have met in functional groups to discuss potential threats and to develop response plans specific to each threat. Obviously we may not have identified every threat nor may we have the capabilities to implement every response plan, but we are confident our intensive planning gives us insight into how to handle divergent events.

Our Y2K exercise was not traditional, as there were no injects causing departments to scurry to find answers. Scenarios were presented, followed by each agency presenting a response plan for the scenario. What were not acceptable were ad hoc or off-the-cuff responses; every plan had to be documented. Using their Y2K Response Plans the departments were asked in Scenario One: Pre-Y2K Events to describe in detail their actions as well as to identify additional resources required for the following: Increased lines at store, banks, and gas stations.

Rumors of shortages and problems that may ensue.

Theft of fuel from the Water and Sewer Department's backup generators.

Reduced capacity countywide for fuel due to heavy purchasing.

Fanatic groups, who believe the end of the world is coming, staging protests, parades, and traffic blockades.

Opportunist groups preying on the elderly.

Concerns of rolling "brown-outs" causing increase volume for 911 agencies and Emergency Management Rumor Control. Dialysis clients concerned about their treatment.

Due to the high volume of cell phone use, cell sites are often busy and users receiving "all circuits are busy" messages. Then came Scenario Two: New Year's Eve Events which ushered in a new round of threats including the following: Celebrations sparking massive traffic jams along the causeways into and out of Miami Beach, North Bay Village, Bay Harbor Island, 163rd Street and the Lehman Causeway. Emergency vehicles are unable to respond to emergency calls due to impassable traffic. Parking garages in Miami Beach are filled to capacity and people continue to drive in that direction. The City of Miami is reporting similar parking and traffic problems in Coconut Grove and the downtown areas. South Miami is congested around Sunset Place. In order to get downtown to the celebrations over 100,000 people have used Metro-rail and Metro-mover.

The King Orange parade has finished and large numbers of people are now attempting to go to Miami Beach for the celebrations. People who are headed eastbound can see that traffic is at a standstill on the MacArthur and are attempting to back-up on the interstate to the entrance ramp from Biscayne and the exit ramps.

Over 100,000 people are stranded in the downtown area and alternative transportation means are necessary. The simultaneous concerts in the downtown area are letting out and the temperatures with the wind chill are in the mid 40's.

Thousands of people are attempting to get to Haulover Beach for the fireworks display. The "Keep Haulover Naked Society" is performing baptisms in the buff to cleanse their souls and bodies for the new millennium. After several hours in the water about thirty people start to exhibit signs of shivering, disorientation, apathy, and sleepiness. (On occasion we will add a lighthearted scenario to reduce the stress of the exercise.)

Due to several drunk-driving accidents, there are multiple power and phone outages in the area that have caused a panic among local residents that the "end of the world is coming." At midnight, thousands of people decide to check their phones to call loved ones and due to the heavy volume of calls many people receive the "all circuits are busy" recording. Many people interpret this as a breakdown in the phone system.

During many firework displays guns are shot off in celebration. There are several reports of accidental shootings. At the Haulover firework display several prankster youths don gas masks after the display begins and run through the crowd causing panic.

Around 5 am, large numbers of people are seen abandoning their vehicles along the causeways and walking towards the beaches to witness the first sunrise of the new millennium. Many of the New Year's Eve Events are based on expectations and suggestions of possible threats by law enforcement.

The third and final scenario is the First Week of the New Millennium. Some of the activities we discussed are as follows: There have been widespread failures in power and phone service. People are unable to access information in the usual manner. Disaster Information Resource Centers need to be opened. Identify the locations, the needed resources and how these sites will be activated, staffed and updated. Alternative means for disseminating information must be activated. The public has a lot of questions about work and school closures.

Fuel supplies that were abundant before the holiday are starting to diminish. County fuel pumps have failed and an alternate method of distributing fuel is needed.

Several hospitals and nursing homes have been on generator power since New Year's Eve and they are concerned that their fuel supplies will run out. Due to the holidays there has been an increased demand in blood supplies.

The public raises concerns about food, water and supportive resources. What plans are in place to assist the public with the needed resources. Tempers flare at the Disaster Information Resource Centers.

Numerous high-rise buildings throughout the county have lost elevator use. Many elderly people who rely on home services, such as food delivery and home health care, are stranded. Many who were pretty self-sufficient before are now unable to get out of their homes and obtain assistance.

Arrest rates were at an all time high over the holiday weekend. Due to a computer glitch the processing system has malfunctioned. It will be at least a week before the system is back up. All of the problems identified in the three scenarios are addressed in the appropriate County department's plan. We are confident all the threats in the scenarios relating directly to computer systems maintained by Miami-Dade County have been corrected. Nevertheless we are testing our response capabilities, so in the very unlikely event failures occurs, we will be prepared to respond.

We waited until November for our Y2K exercise, not because of the multiple hurricane threats we experienced, but because we wanted to demonstrate our ability to use our Y2K Response Plans. The exercise was designed by Cathie Perkins who deserves a great deal of credit for preparing factual scenarios which evoked a great deal of discussion and group problem solving.

Browse Global-Local Y2K for previous editions of the column.

-- JoseMiami (, November 14, 1999


That's it! Baptisms in the buff! The Keep Haulover Naked gets my contribution for lightening the mood in Miami!

Not quite in the same league as the Cap d'AGDE, but every little bit helps!

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ Can't wait for the "Moment of Truth" in, November 14, 1999.

If nothing else, the New Year's will mean more drunks, drunker than ever, it's the Year 2000 so lets get on a life changing bender..... this alone will be trouble. That's why I'm partying at home this year, the roads will be a war zone.

-- Forrest Covington (, November 15, 1999.

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