Boulder County, Colorado, provides an excellent example of
community preparation for Y2K. We present here their story,
followed by the guidelines developed by Boulder County Y2K
Community Preparedness Group (BCY2K), which include meeting
agendas, a flyer, a speech, and forms you may copy and fill out.
Thanks to Kathy Garcia and BCY2K for sharing this information with
all of us.
We kicked off our Y2K Community Preparedness campaign with a free conference at the University of Colorado, Boulder Campus, from August 20 through 23, 1998. The conference was cosponsored by the City of Boulder, the University of Colorado, and the Cassandra Project. Present at the conference were national experts on Y2K, including: Jim Lord, Roleigh Martin, Doug Carmichael, Meg Wheatley, Paloma O'Riley, Cathy Moyer, Steve Davis and Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi. The conference was attended by 700 people from across the United States.
On Monday, August 24, 1998, we met for the first time with the Multiple Agency Coordinating System (MACS), which is led by the Office of Emergency Management for Boulder County. Boulder County consists of nine cities/towns, each with its own municipal government. Each town has representatives on MACS from fire and police departments, along with representatives from Red Cross, planning department, risk management, University of Colorado, school districts. We now have three citizen members sitting on MACS who are working with the community to prepare for Y2K or any other disaster that may strike.
We have had educational Y2K meetings with the following groups:
1. Growers/farmers: asking for their assistance in encouraging individual gardening, harvest, storage, collection of seeds, and canning; and assisting farmers on how to get water to irrigate their fields.
2. Religious community: asking for their assistance as possible shelters in the neighborhoods where they are located and educating their congregations.
3. Hispanic community leaders: working to get information to local Spanish television and radio to educate the Hispanic community in the Denver Metro area.
4. Hospitals: working with Boulder Community Hospital to set up a conference to educate medical personnel on Y2K and its impact on medications for patients (some HMOs only allow a 30-day supply), and inform them on the readiness of the hospital. BCH was also asked to work with two other large hospitals in Boulder County to share what they learned about their bio-med equipment and software.5. Human Service Agencies have been asked to educate their clients about Y2K and help them hook up to neighborhood preparedness groups.
6. Youth from around the county are joining the efforts by becoming Certified Emergency Response Team members to help in all disasters, as well as assisting to weatherize the homes or trailers of elderly and low-income families.
Some wonderful things have happened here.
1. The City of Boulder has joined forces with our preparedness group by advocating with the university for free office space; holding a joint press conference to outline the 'community plan' for 1999; allowing us to use city stationery to convey information about Y2K meetings throughout Boulder County, city FYI line to convey information about Y2K meetings.
2. 'How To' meetings have been held throughout the county. (See the format description that follows.)
3. A town meeting was held on October 4 that included representatives from Public Service (utilities), US West (telephone), City of Boulder, Office of Emergency Management, The Cassandra Project, and Boulder Community Hospital. The meeting was attended by more than 400 people who applauded when Chief Stern of the OEM told people they needed to individually prepare and then prepare their neighborhoods. Somehow folks were waiting for permission to act. The biggest message sent by the citizens was 'I want the truth' not 'everything will be okay' or 'we are handling it.' Future town meetings will be held every other month.
4. A rhythm of meetings in each municipality is now in place, from orientation (what is Y2K), to a neighborhood congress (how to conduct meetings), to open meetings (task forces present information to community on food preparedness, companies selling products, and so forth), to community coordinator meetings (coordinators for each municipality get together to fill each other in on what is going on, support needed, and idea sharing).
5. We have cooperation from our daily newspaper as well as our weekly paper; not sensationalized stories but ones that will keep the community informed.
We are working with many others in Boulder County to create a more sustainable and selfreliant community with Y2K as the catalyst. We contiune to work to transform cynicism and fear into creative and effective action by taking care of one another and by reaching beyond personal differences in a spirit of compassion, respect, trust, and interdependence.
We work on a task force model with each task force consisting of a small group of volunteers with expertise in the subject, the time and ability to do thorough research and/or the ability to work collaboratively with public officials. The goal is to assist in the assessment, development, and implementation of sound contigency planning in each area: utilities, food, water, sewage and sanitation, business, communication, transportation, health care and delivery, emergency services and security, essential financial services, media and educational materials, neighborhood and constituency organizing, psychology, vision, and the Y2K volunteer network.
Our website is www.y2kboulder.com
Kathy Garcia is a neighborhood organizer for BCY2K and an active volunteer working with homeless families and with youth. She also serves on the local community corrections board. Kathy coordinates Holiday Food Basket, which feeds about 800 families in Boulder, and distributes toys and coats to them.
John Steiner works as networker, consultant, catalyst and organizer in many public interest arenas. He is a founding member of Boulder Y2K Community Preparedness Group and is currently involved in a variety of national Y2K projects.
BCY2K is an informal group in Boulder County, Colorado, who have come together to take on different aspects of preparing Boulder County for Y2K.