The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 14, 1999


Residents and officials talk Y2K

Thirty Carlisleans took a couple of hours out of a brilliant Sunday afternoon last week to discuss individual and neighborhood preparedness for the disruptions that may occur as a result of the Y2K computer glitch.

To kick off the meeting in the Clark room at Town Hall, Steve Herbst of the Carlisle Y2K Citizens Group, opened with assessments of the risk of significant disruptions. Most knowledgeable commentators (e.g., Senators Bennett and Dodd, Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem; Consumer Reports Magazine) advise that families prepare for from 3 days to 2 weeks of disruptions, including possible power outages. Because of the billions of embedded and date sensitive chips in oil rigs, medical equipment, power grids, and thousands of other systems in our economy, and the difficulty of knowing where they are and replacing them all, no one knows for sure what we'll experience until the date actually arrives. So preparedness is warranted.

Whether Y2K turns out to be a tidal wave or a ripple, the group emphasized the positive effects of strengthening neighborhoods and of preparation now that could serve us in a severe ice storm, hurricane, or other natural disaster in the future. Many in the audience had been thinking about the human problems people beyond themselves might face and were glad for a forum for helpful neighborliness and resource sharing.

Ron O'Reilly then raised the audience's consciousness of individuals and families who might be most at risk and least prepared should there be power outages or other disruptions in the economy, especially if there were foul weather as we enter January. He urged a walk around one's neighborhood to identify such people.

Mark Snyder, an experienced survivalist, took on the topic of family and household preparedness and laid out the critical needs for (in order) shelter, water, warmth and food. He gave many practical suggestions for dealing with the short-term need for warmth and clean water should we lose our electricity.

Jon Saphier then described the group's model for strengthening neighborhoods as social units and simultaneously creating practical neighborhood safety nets through "Warm Houses" where neighbors could count on power and thus warmth and shelter if things get bad for a period.

The path that Concord has taken was shared by Ray Taylor who profiled the regular planning and coordinating meetings town officials have had and the back-up plans for emergency shelters. C.C.H.S. and Middlesex School, both with independent power generating capacities, have been identified as shelters and transportation plans made to ferry large numbers of citizens there, if need be, by using the school bus fleet.

Paul Hackbarth closed by leading a discussion of how the Town of Carlisle could help, with steps to support family and neighborhood preparedness issues. Selectmen Fitzgerald, Rubenstein and Stevenson along with Police Lt. Sullivan were in attendance and a meeting with the selectmen is planned for after Town Meeting to explore steps at the municipal level.

The Carlisle Y2K group will repeat this meeting on Tuesday night, June 15, in the Clark room at Town Hall at 7:30 p.m.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito