DC Government meeting with pastors: report

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Just to report back on my earlier post of a few days ago about the meeting the DC Government and DC Emergency Management Agency called with local pastors... Peter LaPorte who heads DCEMA, Paula Gordon, and the chaplain to the DC Police were there.

They basically admitted that y2k is a serious problem. After wading through some extraneous stuff I think the bottom line is that DCEMA has organized and outfitted 21 warming centers. They need churches to be warming centers as well. Problem is that they have no budget for outfitting any more warming centers so churches would have to take on the expense themselves. That is, if a generator could be found at this late date.

Also said that y2k preparation packets were being sent home with school children this week.

Paula Gordon was the best speaker. Got interrupted by the LaPorte guy who just wanted to go on record that he disagreed with her. I think he didn't want people to panic...

Told people at work (I work for small electronic publishing firm which is in deep denial) that I was going to this meeting and the VP guy said he expected it was being called to "calm down the pastors" and help them keep members of their congregations from panicking. When I filled him in this morning, he got very quiet, looked very sober, and said that perhaps he ought to go out and buy space heaters (yes, electric) for the office. Even defended me to the guy who earlier in the week had actually shouted "y2k is a non-issue!"

In light of time growing short, I have cancelled a trip to Boston for a professional meeting (that would really only have consisted as me hooking up with some buddies) and am spending the weekend taking to preps my parents who live 7 hours north. My Dad called to tell me that he has "become converted to thinking that there might be problems with y2k because Clinton said there weren't going to be problems." Whatever it takes!

I came home from yesterday's meeting and filled my 55 gal water drums. Sure is an interesting y2k week.

If Paula Gordon sees this post, she may have some other clarifications and/or insights to add to it...

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), November 17, 1999


>That is, if a generator could be found at this late date.

The shame of it is that they sit on the shelves gathering dust in SoCA. I'm sure the distribution centers wanted to be "fair" but some states should have been skipped for their sale. People in places like Minnesota are going to need them a whole lot more than people in SoCA.

The "pretend everything is normal" is going to leave in its wake horrible suffering that did not have to be.

-- Paula (chowbabe@pacbell.net), November 17, 1999.

I wonder how long this sort of "Shh, don't tell Joe Blow, but..." preparation can go on before some network picks up on it and has a slack thirty seconds to run an article on "Disaster preps in Anytown, USA". Joe Blow will be prepping like, well, like there's no tomorrow. :(

-- Colin MacDonald (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), November 17, 1999.


Those things sitting on the store shelves aren't big enough to supply power to a whole building such as a church. You've gotta have one of the "big boys" for that (20-30 kW). You won't be buying one of those at Home Depot. And the cost is roughly $12,000 - $20,000, with current lead-times running about 3 months.


You've got to hand it to DeeCee; they sure are keeping the sheeple in the "dark". (Hey, kinda makes you think about Klinton's Y2K bash, with power provided by GENERATORS, and "catered" by the NATIONAL GUARD!)

44 days.

-- Dennis (djolson@cherco.net), November 17, 1999.

At this late date, seeing the need for additional "warming centers", they are just now getting around to organizing them? Unbelievable! Wonder how they expect the churches to get their members to contribute to the expense of providing shelters when there's been so much money spent convincing them it won't be a problem. Maybe DCEMA could get the ABA to write a new sermon?

-- (RUOK@yesiam.com), November 17, 1999.

If bigger generators are not available locally or are too expensive, get smaller ones anyway and pack people into smaller areas like sardines. Better than dyin'.

-- (normally@ease.notnow), November 17, 1999.

You can't run more than one generator on a single electrical service (like a house or a church). This is due to the phase variance between the generators, which would destroy both/all of the generators instantly. The power companies are VERY careful to make sure that the phase of their power is matched BEFORE they take the plant "on the grid". Without expensive monitoring and control systems, the "little" generators can't do that.

-- Dennis (djolson@cherco.net), November 17, 1999.

Concur. That's another reason these size generators need to be "designed in" and permanently connected, on concrete foundations, with premanent fuel lines and fuel tanks, with power transfer and monitoring circuits ..... big ones are NOT something the local deacon runs outside and lights off.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), November 17, 1999.

Well, actually you could run off of several independent generators if you were able to keep them isolated -- Gen A runs Room A, Gen B runs Room B, and Rooms A and B are not electically connected. A lot of work, but it could be done.

But, Robert slid right over one point, and that was the permanence of the generators and the fuel lines, etc. Or, don't we think people will steal generators from churches?

-- de (delewis@XOUTinetone.net), November 17, 1999.

ERRRR, why does the DC government think they need generator equipped warming centers? Didn't the Pres just say everything was going to be just fine? You mean the grid really isn't totally fixed? Jesus the level of bullcrap coming out of Washington is nearly enough to sink the Titanic in.

-- Nikoli Krushev (doomsday@y2000.com), November 17, 1999.


Thanks for your kind words and the invitation to add some comments about the luncheon meeting of the DC Faith Community that was held on November 17. I had written up some comments for a friend who was invited, but not able to attend. Here they are in a slightly edited form:

"There were some very interesting things that went on at the luncheon today. Rev. Donald Robertson, Director of the DC Office of Religious Affairs, gave a effective talk focusing on "Compliance, not Complacency". I thought it was very forceful and inspirational as well.

Bishop C.L. Long of the Scripture Cathedral told of his heartrending experiences in North Carolina after the ravages of Hurricane Floyd. He spoke of the many lessons learned in that situation that might well be applicable to Y2K.

Peter LaPorte, the Director of the DC Emergency Management Agency showed alot of concern. His office is to be commended for the efforts that they have been making. There did not seem to be a plan a foot to make sure that all households received information concerning the need to prepare for Y2K. I suggested that the new DC government's pamphlet called the Y2K Preparedness Guide be widely disseminated in all the neighborhoods of DC by the churches. A person from the Office of Emergency Management seemed to find this a good idea. I don't know if anything will come of it.

On the disquieting side, however, was the admission that no planning had been done regarding more "serious" possible scenarios.

In the remarks that I offered, I took the opportunity to mention the highly volatile nature of the issues surrounding Y2K and how we all needed to try our best to be open to others' points of view and try to maintain our good will in spite of our disagreements.

Linda Glover announced a conference in Jerusalem next week on World Peace. The Dalai Lama and other leaders of religions will be there. It did not sound as if there would be any messages about Y2K....a pity if they leave it out. I think that it would be wonderful if the message that Reverend Robertson shared could be shared at that Conference.

I thought that it was a very positive sign that the brochure calls for the storing of a supply of seven to ten days worth of nonperishable food and water per person. I am sure that the Emergency Management Agency will be happy to make as many copies of the brochure available to you as you like. Their number is 202 673 2101, ext. 3152 (Tanya Mitchell) or ext. 3158 (Walter King).

There seemed to be quite a few people at the luncheon who "get it". That was heartening to see.

I gave them a heads up concerning the NBC movie that will be airing on Sunday night and said that the movie could well generate alot of concern on the part of the public.

I also told the group about a very low cost source of food (58 cents a serving). It is called Future Foods. The website is www.foodforsurvival.com. The phone number is 612 504 2930. I have tried it. It is quite palatable, about a 6 or 7 on a 10 point scale. It can be enhanced by adding anything from tuna, to chicken, to SPAM. You have to cook it as you would some rice products, for about 20 minutes. While a package is to serve 6, I think it would serve alot more than that. This company has a non-profit arm that their profits go to. The non-profit arm provides food to starving children all over the world. The name of that organization is Feeding Starving Children, International. James Fisher at jamesfisher@isd.net is a point of contact there. It sounds as if they are performing needed services all around. There are other organizations providing similar sorts of services. It would certainly be helpful if someone has a list that they could share."

-- Paula Gordon (pgordon@erols.com), November 17, 1999.

I disagree, (not to be disagreeable, but to be helpful), with the comment that a church would need a 20,000 to 30,000 watt generator for it to be a warming center. A 4,000 watt generator could run a good size furnace and a few lights. I am not talking about a cathedral. I am sure that there must be many churches that have seating for from 300 to 800 people that could be taken care of by a 4,000 or 5,000 watt generator if the person setting it up knows which circuit breakers to turn on and which to turn off so that just the furnace and a few lights were being supplied with electricty. You should also have lockout devices for the circuit breakers that are put in the off position so that people cannot turn them on and overload the generator. These lockout devices can be purchased at an electrical supply store. Some are made for single pole breakers and some for double pole breakers.

-- Duane C. Farrington (plus777@telplus.net), November 17, 1999.


I would agree with you, EXCEPT that many churches do not have a "home- sized" furnace. Perhaps some smaller churches, but by and large their HVAC units are pretty good size. Then you have the various "zone control" thermostats (with accompanying solenoid-controlled ductwork) and the like. If you want to fire up the kitchen to prepare meals for people, now you're talking even more power.

No, I just don't think it's realistic to emplace a unit of less than 20kW at a "community building". (This doesn't apply to small buildings...)

-- Dennis (djolson@cherco.net), November 17, 1999.

For Dr. Gordon from csy2k

Sir; I started out as an old shirt tailed electrican over 34 years ago. And right from the start (when I broke out as a journey man wire man). I was immersed in controlls.

And over the years, as I grew more experienced. I went from the doing what I was told to do. To telling the men what I wanted done.

14 months ago, I was present at my company's meeting which took place in Houston, Texas.. And the looming night mare; was the surprise surprised subject.

Two hours later I left the meeting in fear, The next day I tendered my resignation and began a sabatical (open ended). And began to store up supplies.

I guess you could call me a Doomer? I am just an electrican, who will not work under armed guards (for the good of the whole). After we loose the infrastructure.

As for the men (electricans who would be needed for a monsterous undertaking of such magntude as checking and repairing the embeded systems). I have monthly called numerous union locals ( I am a union member). And Mr.Becker, there has been no calls in for controls techs. No calls in for journeymen, no calls,(save one) for line men, which might be for Y2K repair..) The one was for New Mexico utilites and they wanted 100 "old line men" their words not mine. The call? The job was to remove ALL scada digital controlls and return to manuel switching of the 50's an 60's era...

With the authorization given to the governer of California to DRAFT all needed crafts to fix or repair needed systems (he decides which, and where to send the craftsmen) and the knowledge that other governers now have the same authority. This child will be further back in the woods than who ever this infomagic person is, when the time comes for me to bail out.

I hope that I have answeared your questions somewhat..But watch now, Brock or one of his little buddies will shout and hoot that the maintance people can and are doing the job...LOL! I called some of them also, after all I helped construction a bunch of the power stations in the western states and I got to know the people chosen to head up the electrical depts. quite well. And no...They are not fixing, they are asking the vendors if their control systems are compliant( where the vendor still is in business that is) and hoping.

michael garrett

-- does not sound good (got@candles.flashlights?), November 17, 1999.

Michael Garrett, I'm curious as to what it was that you learned at that company meeting you attended 14 months ago that so alarmed you. Also, did anyone else at that meeting get scared too?

-- Curious (curious@justasking.com), November 17, 1999.

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