Most feel confident as Y2K nears
There are fewer than 100 days remaining until the year 2000, so how are we all faring in our preparations for Y2K?
If one is talking about the federal government or large corporations, we’re doing pretty well. Major financial institutions, utility companies and health care organizations all report in at near 100 percent Y2K compliance, and it wouldn’t exactly be prudent for these companies to fudge on the statistics. They all have stockholders to answer to if they are wrong.
But according to the Center for Y2K and Society – a Washington-based nonprofit Y2K watchdog group – many communities around the country still face significant gaps in local Y2K readiness.
At first blush, potential Y2K computer glitches would seem to have more of an effect on major corporations, the federal government and large metropolitan communities.
But as the year 2000 draws near, it appears that it is the smaller communities which are actually the most at risk.
The Center for Y2K and Society released a “Y2K report card” last week – preliminary findings in a survey it is conducting on Y2K preparedness in communities throughout the U.S. The Center distributed more than 10,000 copies of a six-category, 30-question report card over the past month, and expects to distribute another 20,000 more through October. Baseline results were received from cities such as Austin, TX, San Diego, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Seattle and New York.
But responses also came in from a range of smaller communities such as Concord, Mass.; Boulder, Colo.; and Grand Forks, ND. Respondents included Red Cross chapters, emergency managers, city Y2K coordinators, hospitals, nonprofits and community groups.
“The report card was designed as a tool to help communities assess their state of readiness on critical Y2K concerns,” said Center for Y2K and Society executive director Norman L. Dean. “It includes issues from health care to the possible impact on the most vulnerable people in our society.”
The preliminary response from the report cards makes it clear that there is a great deal that needs to be done, according to Dean.
“And there’s not a lot of time left in which to do it,” he said.
Among the areas in which communities are the least prepared are:
*Assuring the availability of key food stocks and supplies.
*Assuring there are backup plans for keeping funds flowing to health care institutions if insurance systems have Y2K problems.
*Distributing preparedness information to individual households.
*Insuring that nursing homes can care for their clients.
Among those to receive a failing grade in the survey were Tucson, Santa Barbara and Montgomery County, TX. Included among those receiving an A grade were Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Marin County, Calif.
Individual report cards and a comprehensive summary of the findings are available by visiting the Center’s Web site at http://www.y2kcenter.org.
Next Week: How El Dorado and Douglas Counties are faring.
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