Hardy Ice-Storm Survivors Expect Y2K To Be Breeze

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NEWBURY, N.H. -- The prospect of no electricity, heat or running water on Jan. 1 doesn't scare the citizens of Newbury, a small community in central New Hampshire.

Two years ago this community of 2,000 people lived through an ice storm that knocked out power to the majority of residents for more than a week.

Jim Powell, chairman of the board of selectman for the town, said the experience has left the community feeling it can cope with any emergency, even Y2K. 'That was quite an experience,' he said. 'Anything that happens now won't be anywhere close to that kind of emergency.'

Still, the town is taking no chances. Bottled water is stored in the town hall.

Emergency generators are waiting to be fired up in case power goes out. Two-way radios connect town officials to police and state officials. A list of elderly residents and people with health problems has been drawn up so emergency personnel can check up on them, door to door, if problems should occur. The town hall can double as an emergency operations center housing well over 100 people.

If the town should need additional help, it will be in constant radio contact with the Office of Emergency Management in Concord, the state capital. State and private sector representatives will staff a Y2K Command Center and monitor power outages and phone problems from New Year's Eve into New Year's Day with representatives from the state police, the public utilities commission, Bell Atlantic, the National Guard, and the department of transportation.

'When we had that major ice storm, it was a similar scenario,' said Doug Patch, co-chairman of the Governor's Y2K Preparedness Task Force.

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