NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Simple self-sufficiency is the key to
successful Y2K transition, particularly now that the millennium is
less than six months away, a Nashville, Tenn., grassroots group
Relying on federal, state and local governments, which may or
may not be prepared, is not an option, said Andy van Roon, a member
of the community group PREP 2000, which stands for Promoting
Responsible Emergency Preparedness.
‘It’s too late in the Y2K curve to do anything at this point but
organize clear, simple, effective plans of action to distribute
practical information to the American public about how to prepare
for whatever may occur,’ said van Roon, a filmmaker who has
produced a documentary, ‘The Y2K Family Survival Guide,’ hosted by
Leonard Nimoy. ‘I think the bottom line is that we, the people,
need to take it to the rest of the people regarding Y2K awareness
The Y2K phenomenon is essentially an electronic glitch — the
result of software written to recognize years in only two digits.
So on Jan. 1, 2000, some software will read it as 1/1/00, which the
computer may interpret as 1900. If software isn’t reprogrammed
correctly, some computer systems may crash, possibly affecting
utilities, retailers, financial institutions and government
PREP 2000’s plan of action is a Sept. 9 all-day town meeting in
‘The basic idea is to invite a couple hundred civic leaders,
mayors from surrounding towns, groups like the Sertoma Club, church
leaders and anyone who has a constituency,’ said van Roon.
A simple Y2K Prep Sheet, which outlines steps on preparing for
millennium glitches, will be distributed at of the town
‘A lot of it is similar to what the Red Cross is putting out,
like collecting food, water, alternate sources of heat and light
and how to handle sanitation,’ said Nell Levin, who heads up PREP
Leaders attending the town meeting will be given the prep sheets
and encouraged to copy them, hold their own meetings for their
respective constituencies and pass the sheets out en masse, van
‘It’s kind of a spiraling network,’ Levin said.
‘This model could easily work around the country over the next
several months,’ van Roon said. ‘We need to take the information
directly to the people all across this country via a simple
strategy to distribute easy-to-understand Y2K prep material that
can be replicated and redisbursed via individuals, families and
The idea is simple, but it encourages and shows households
exactly how to prepare, he said.
‘People are making (Y2K) needlessly complex,’ van Roon said. ‘If
they just get ready in the basics — food, water, shelter and
medicine — everybody will be okay.’
The Prep Sheet’s guidelines will suggest simple, oft-advised
preparations on storing at least two week’s worth of food,
stockpiling one gallon of water per person per day, getting
alternative heat and light sources such as kerosene stoves and
lanterns and having adequate prescription medications, Levin
‘We are not going to reinvent the wheel,’ Levin said. ‘These are
just basic preparations.’
The prep sheets will illustrate how neighborhoods can analyze
resources so everyone benefits, Levin said. ‘It’s kind of
inventorying what is going on in the immediate neighborhood so
everyone can pull together in a time of crisis,’ she said.
For example, someone who owns a chain saw can make it available
to others or an elderly or disabled neighbor may need extra
attention, she explained.
As simple as the guidelines are, most people Levin and van Roon
have encountered have made no Y2K preparations.
‘The biggest problem we’ve encountered is folks just are not hip
to it,’ van Roon said. ‘The real challenge is, most of the American
public, though they’ve been exposed to this term Y2K, they have not
paid a lot of attention to it.’
But things are slowly changing as Jan. 1 draws near, Levin
‘It’s starting to get on the radar screen for some,’ she said.
‘I think come September and November, things are going to get
But PREP 2000 will remain active throughout, Levin said.
‘We see our role as pushing from the bottom up to get people to
do something about Y2K,’ Levin said. ‘We see ourselves as a
watchdog grassroots organization looking out for the common
citizens in Nashville.’
Contacts: Andy van Roon, member, PREP 2000 (Promoting
Responsible Emergency Preparedness), Nashville, Tenn.,
615-851-1711. Nell Levin, organizer, PREP 2000, Nashville, Tenn.,
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