Organizing Your Neighborhood for Y2K

Adapting the Boulder Model

Content Tools

There is a rhythm to neighborhood organizing just as there is in all of life. It usually begins with an idea of one person, talked out with another person, and then getting more people involved in the idea, which is now owned by the community.

On the issue of Y2K, the outlook of the Boulder County Y2K Community Preparedness Group (BCY2K) is one of hope:

'We can do this if we work together';

'This preparedness will help through any disaster such as that 100-year flood due to hit us';

'[This represents] an opportunity to create a caring community.'

When you set out to organize your community, you might ask yourself, 'How do I encourage people and offer hope?' Your attitude will make a huge difference in how people will accept your information. Take time to center yourself before a speaking engagement, have fun with the audience, don't overbook yourself so that speaking becomes a burden instead of a joy.

Preparing for The First Meeting

1. Write out what you know about Y2K and why you are concerned. Look over the information materials that helped you come to your conclusions. Choose materials that might help educate others without creating fear.

2. Think about a neighbor you know whom you might want to talk to about what you have learned. You might take your neighbor to coffee and explain what you have learned and are concerned about. Your neighbor will probably need the basic Y2K information to educate her/himself. Give your neighbor a few days to a week to absorb the material. Once she/he has done this, your conversation could turn towards sharing this information with the rest of your neighbors.

3. You might decide to skip step two and put out a flyer inviting your neighbors to dessert and coffee, BBQ, or other get-together to discuss Y2K. Food is usually a good thing to have at the meeting. Whether you take step two or three, give people enough notice of the meeting. Think about the need for childcare.

4. Before the meeting, make enough copies of materials to hand out. Think about other supplies you might need: colored pens, flip charts, and visual aids.

The meeting: 'What I Found Out'

1. Welcome people and have everyone grab something to eat or drink before settling down.

2. Let everyone know where the bathrooms are.

3. Take time for introductions and have people sign in with address and phone numbers.

4. 'Hi! My name is _________________. I am helping prepare the community for possible disruptions by the year 2000 issue. How many here know what the year 2000 issue is?' (Solicit comments.) Find out what they heard and/or know. What are some of the implications they have thought about.

5. 'We abbreviate this issue by calling it Y2K. Y for year, 2 for two and K for thousand. It is not just a simple computer problem as some people seem to think. It is a systems problem caused when '00' indicates a year in software used by computer chips in the world. There are an estimated 20?60 billion of these computer chips, with only 5 percent containing the year problem. However, we do not know where this 5 percent is located. You remember the old Christmas tree lights where if one bulb went out all the others went out, and you had to test each one of the bulbs to see which one was bad? Well consider doing this with 20?60 billion chips. We have run out of time to fix this problem, and are attempting to fix critical systems only.'

6. If you have a video or some other visual aid, show it now. Then take a break for refills of coffee and refreshments.

7. Come back together. Let people know how you felt when you first learned about the information. You might inform your group that there are those who say 'head for the hills' and others, like you, who believe in 'strength in numbers.' Ask people what they learned and how they feel about the information.

8. 'As community members of the city of ______________ we need to ask our government officials to tell us the status of water and sewage. Have they begun to address the problem? Have they done testing? What were the results of the testing? Repair timetable? Retesting timetable? Will they keep the community informed?

'What about hospital status: have all emergency room and o.r. equipment been checked and certified with vendors? Tested? What is the status of phones if there is no electricity? Emergency generators? Fuel storage? Ambulance status? Water and sewage? What happens if medicare/medicaid cannot be received, will they see patients? What will they require?

'Let me help you understand about Y2K being a 'systems' problem. Take your local grocery store. How many hours/days of food does it have? If there is no electricity, how will the trucks get fuel to bring food to the store? Are the trucks computerized? How will the vendors get the food to the trucks to get to the store? How will the automated canners can food to get to the vendors, to get to the trucks, to get to the store? How will the farmers use combines, etc. to get the food to the canners, to get to the vendors, to get to the trucks, to get to the stores? You can see how this system works. The same can be done for any system ... electricity, telephone, gasoline, etc.

'We as community members need to become responsible for our community by being individually prepared, then helping our neighborhoods to prepare, then helping our community to prepare for any possible disruptions. How can we do this?' (Open discussion.)

9. Pass out materials if you have them* for people to take home and review at their leisure. Ask them if they would agree to a second meeting and set a date. Ask each of them to look through the newspapers and magazines and bring back any information on Y2K they find.

10. Find out who will bring refreshments for the next meeting and if there is another person who would like to host the meeting. Ask who will help with reminder calls. Let them know you will get information on preparedness to share with them for the next meeting. Thank them for coming.

Preparing for the Second Meeting

1. You might want to go through your articles and materials and see what you want to share with your neighbors. You might want to begin making your list of what you can afford to buy and what you cannot.

2. Make enough copies of the 'Physical' and 'Personal' inventory forms for each household. (A copy of each of these forms follows.)

3. Telephone reminders of the next meeting should be made two days before the meeting. Check with the hostess/host if anything is needed.

'What Did We Learn'

1. Once again welcome everyone and have everyone grab something to eat or drink before settling down.

2. Let everyone know where the bathrooms are.

3. Take time again for introductions.

4. Ask people to share what they learned. Again, check in with how they are feeling.

5. Take the time to inform them about what others are doing.

6. Discuss the 'Individual Preparation' section of this handbook, or another similar list. Ask people to go home and make a list of what they can afford to purchase and what they cannot. Introduce the idea that maybe the neighborhood can pull together to help one another.

7. Pass out the Personal and Physical Inventory forms. Let them know that these forms are worksheets that will stay in their possession. The purpose of the forms is to help them take an inventory of what they have and what they will need. The only form that might be turned in is the medical form if they need special assistance with medicines, oxygen, or food.

8. Ask them if they would be willing to come back to another meeting to share information and form a plan for the neighborhood.

9. Find out who will bring refreshments for the next meeting and if there is another person who would like to host the meeting. Ask who will help with reminder calls. Again, thank them for coming.

Preparing for the Third Meeting

1. You may want to draw the physical layout of your neighborhood on a piece of paper as well as on a flip chart. Make sure you draw a square (or other shape) for each house on the block.





'What We Have--What We Need'

1. Once again welcome everyone and have everyone grab something to eat or drink before settling down.

2. Let everyone know where the bathrooms are.

3. Take time again for introductions.

4. Begin by sharing your affordable and unaffordable 'Food and Other Basic Supplies' list with the group. Ask each household to also share their lists. Create a list of what is needed by families in the neighborhood.

5. Once everyone has gone through their lists, see if they can think about how the neighborhood might come together to purchase needed items. You may want to reach consensus on the priority order of the list.

6. Go through the physical inventory of each household and use the legend on the neighborhood physical survey form to indicate where items are in each household, i.e. yard, basement, etc.

7. Ask if anyone has any medical conditions they would like relayed to the police or other local body so that they may prepare for any medical needs.

8. Fill in the skills worksheet.

9. Have the group respond to the questions on the second page of the neighborhood physical survey. What third party information do you need to respond to the questions?

10. Ask who is interested in getting the information needed to help the group make informed decisions. Assign names and deadlines for information to be brought back to the group.

11. Decide when the next meeting is.

12. As you all are busy doing your work, some of you might begin talking to your neighbors on an adjacent block to help them get a meeting started and share what you have learned.

It's all building blocks, one at a time with a solid foundation to make sure no one falls, no one is left out, and everyone is successful.

Other Thoughts

The neighborhood might look at what trainings they might put on, that is, how to talk to your neighbors/community. What about specific task forces on food prep, utilities, and so forth. How about setting up a series of town meetings covering issues that would effect the entire community? We suggest that town meetings set the tone of partnership with utilities, government, business, not one of opposition. We are all in this together.

Will the lights come on?

What about food, water and heat?

How can I take care of myself and my family?

How can I help my neighbors?

Y2K

INFORMATION

MEETING

Discussion on:

* the causes of the year 2000 computer problem;

* possible consequences

* ways to prepare yourself, your neighborhood, your city

Date:

Time:

Location:

For more information call:

'Individual preparedness is for those who can ...

Community preparedness is for those who cannot'

A Possible Speech

Hi! My name is _________________. I am helping prepare the community for possible disruptions by the year 2000 issue. How many here know what the year 2000 issue is? (Solicit comments) We abbreviate this issue by calling it Y2K. Y for year, 2 for two and K for thousand.

It is not just a simple computer problem as some people seem to think. It is a systems problem caused when '00' indicates a year in software used by computer chips throughout the world. There are an estimated 20­60 billion of these computer chips, with only 5 percent containing the year problem. However, we do not know where this 5 percent is located. You remember the old Christmas tree lights where if one bulb went out all the others went out, and you had to test each one of the bulbs to see which one was bad? Well consider doing this with 20­60 billion chips. We have run out of time to fix this problem, and are attempting to fix critical systems only. (Show a video or other visuals if you have them.)

Wow. I don't know how you are feeling, but I was ______________ when I first heard about this issue. How are some of you feeling? (Open for discussion.) Let's take a 10-minute break and come back together again.

As community members of the city of ______________, we need to ask our government officials to tell us the status of water and sewage. Have they begun to address the problem? Have they done testing? What were the results of the testing? Repair timetable? Retesting timetable? Will they keep the community informed?

What about hospital status: have all emergency room and o.r. equipment been checked and certified with vendors? Tested? What is the status of phones if there is no electricity? Emergency generators? Fuel storage? Ambulance status? Water and sewage? What happens if medicare/medicaid cannot be received ... will they see patients? What will they require?

Let me help you understand about Y2K being a 'systems' problem. Take your local grocery store. How many hours/days of food does it have? If there is no electricity, how will the trucks get fuel to bring food to the store? Are the trucks computerized? How will the vendors get the food to the trucks to get to the store? How will the automated canners can food to get to the vendors, to get to the trucks, to get to the store? How will the farmers use combines, etc. to get the food to the cannners, to get to the vendors, to get to the trucks, to get to the stores? You can see how this system works. The same can be done for any system ... electricity, telephone, gasoline, etc.

You as community members need to become responsible for your community by being individually prepared, then helping your neighborhood to prepare, then helping your community to prepare for any possible disruptions. How can we do this? (Open discussion. See meeting format).

Instructions for Use of Attached Forms

Attached you will find two sets of forms:

Personal Inventory

Neighborhood Survey

We suggest you ask individual households within a neighborhood to fill out the Personal Inventory form, and to bring the completed form to a meeting where the information can be shared and included in the 'Neighborhood Survey.'

The Neighborhood Coordinator(s) should make a copy of the completed Survey form and send it to a community-wide coordinator or appropriate agency, if neighbors have special medical needs that emergency management may need to know in order to give assistance. This information is also important so that the neighborhood can set up a plan to address the special needs of neighbors.

Personal Inventory (Information to be shared with neighborhood coordinator(s))

Address: ______________________________________________

______________________________________________________

Phone:________________________________________________
 
 

Adults in Household:

Name / Age / Life Threatening Allergies
 
 
 
 
 
 

Children in Household:

Name / Age / Life Threatening Allergies
 
 
 
 
 
 

Special Needs:

Need / Yes / No / Name of Person

Medicine

Type:
Quantity:

Type:
Quantity

Type:
Quantity:

Oxygen
Wheel-chair bound
Chemical Sensitivities
Illness:
- Alzheimers
- Heart Disease
- Mental Illness
- Down syndrome
Physically handicapped
Visually handicapped
Hearing Impaired
Other needs: (e.g., special formula)

SKILLS INVENTORY

No. / Skill / Name of Person, Address

Construction
- Carpenter
- Plumber
- Electrician
- Welder

Dentist

Medical Doctor (type)
- Pediatrician
- Surgeon

Nurse

Natural Doctor

Other Medical
- Chiropractor
- EMT

Midwife

Veterinarian

Childcare

Teacher

Car Mechanic

Police Officer

Fireman

Other
(e.g., musician, cook,
storyteller, etc.)

Neighborhood Survey

(To be filled in and used by Neighborhood Coordinator(s))

Coordinator's Name:__________________ Phone No.:________

Coordinator's Name:__________________ Phone No.:________

Address covered by neighborhood:________________________

Draw a picture of your neighborhood. For example, one block (both sides of the street?); cul-de-sac; building, etc. Include squares for each house, mobile home, apartment, with address.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mark each home as follows:
Last name of family and address
B--basement (not in flood zone)
G--gardening space (size)
E--electricity (stove, heaters, water heaters)
S--sewage (septic, other)
Y--yard space (size)
NG--natural gas (stove, heaters, fireplace, water heaters)
W--water (well, tap)

List Skills for Entire Neighborhood

No. / Skill / Name of Family Member

Construction
- Carpenter
- Plumber
- Electrician
- Welder

Dentist

Medical Doctor (type)
- Pediatrician
- Surgeon

Nurse

Natural Doctor

Other Medical 
- Chiropractor
- EMT

Midwife

Veterinarian

Childcare

Teacher

Car Mechanic

Police Officer

Fireman

Other

PHYSICAL INVENTORY 
for each home in neighborhood

Address:______________________________

Physical inventory complete? / Yes / No

Basement (not in a flood zone)
Yard
Vegetable garden space (approx. size______)

Natural Gas:
- Heater
- Water heater
- Fireplace
- Stove
Electric:
- Heater
- Water heater
- Fireplace
- Stove

Water:
- City Fed
- Well
- Other: (explain)
Sewage:
- Septic
- City
- Other: (explain)

Solar panels
Generator
Propane Fueled
Water storage

Pets:
- Type & # of each type:
- Vaccinations current
- Food and water accounted for

Camping equipment
- Type:

Fire extinguishers (current)
Battery-operated carbon monoxide detector
Battery powered fire alarms
Root cellars
Weatherization
CB radios
Ham radio operators
Flashlights (get bulbs too)
Solar Products:
- Radio
- Flashlights
- Batter-powered clocks

Answer the following questions based on the assumption of no electricity:

Physical Security:
1. How will you light your community? Think of solar street lights, generators to provide light, etc.

Communication:
2. How will you check on ppeople in theneighborhood? (Universal large dot of red for trouble, yellow for need help, green for okay) Need for citizen's patrol--how often, special cases, etc.

3. If emergency transportation is needed to nearest medical facility, how will this be handled?

4. Where will all children be housed if there is an emergency? Who will be the adults in charge of their care? (Do all children know these adults, are they considered 'safe,' etc.)

Sanitation:
5. How will garbage be disposed of? Is everyone composting? What can be recycled?

6. How will human waste be handled if sewers are not operating?

Animals:
7. How will neighborhood handle situations with wild animals?

8. For those who have pets, how will the pets be cared for?

Water Storage Areas: capacity, container, siphon, filter)

Neighborhood information:

9. Number of children?
10. Number of teens?
11. Number of Elderly?
12. Number of disabled?
13. Number of people requiring special medial attention (attach personal inventory sheet).