Residents Can Check on State’s Y2K Readiness for Themselves

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Key institutions and agencies have come a long
way in Y2K preparedness, says Washington state’s Year 2000 Office,
which is offering citizens the opportunity to see for
themselves.

‘A lot of the big things have been solved,’ said Dave Workman,
communication coordinator for the Washington Year 2000 Office. ‘We
do know a lot of problems will not happen. Many of the large
organizations have been aggressive. So the next thing is to make
sure that the public knows that.’

As part of its Y2K information program, the office has created
on its web site a way for citizens to see how well local service
providers have prepared.

Residents who access
www.wa.gov/dis/2000 can
plug in the names of the county and city where they live: financial
institutions; electric, gas, and telephone companies; emergency
services departments, and government and social benefits
programs.

After they hit the ‘create report’ button, a data sheet offers
the contact names and phone numbers of the selected agencies, a
brief summary of each of their Y2K mitigation efforts and a link to
individual web sites.

Much of the information on the ‘Year 2000 and You’ database was
created last summer, but the Y2K office is in the process of asking
providers to update their reports.

The web site is one of a number of efforts the state has made to
get the word about Y2K out, Workman said. The office has produced a
series of readiness reports on public and private sector
preparedness, and a series of informational videos, and taped a day
of Y2K-related events that was broadcast across the state. It plans
another three-day session of expert panels on financial
institutions, utilities and health and safety agencies in
December.

The efforts appear to have mitigated fears. ‘We’ve done
everything we can within reasonable limits’ to inform the public,’
said Workman. ‘Lots and lots of people are getting lots of
information, and we just aren’t hearing a lot of people who are
concerned.’

That view meshes with a report issued in July by the CDB
Research and Consulting Group that found 91 percent of adults
across the country were aware of the Y2K issue but only 22 percent
were very concerned.

According to a recent briefing from the National Governor’s
Association, retaining that level of confidence through the end of
the year is important. Last-minute hoarding of pharmaceuticals or
large cash withdrawals could stress distribution systems that
otherwise are in good shape.

Contacts: Dave Workman, communication coordinator,
Washington State Year 2000 Office, Olympia Wash., 360-586-4280; web
site: www.wa.gov/dis/2000.
National Governor’s Association web site:
www.nga.org.

COPYRIGHT 1999 The American News Service,
289 Fox Farm Road, Brattleboro , VT 05301. For further information,
please call 1-800-654-NEWS or e-mail
info@americannews.com.

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.