The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 5, 1999


Y2K neighborhood group offers help

The Y2K computer bug will arrive in just under two months and will bring either a ripple or a tidal wave of computer glitches and systems failuresno one knows for sure. Senators Dodd and Bennett, co-chairs of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, have used the subpoena power of the senate to summon witnesses from all sectors of the economy to probing interviews for almost two years. They conclude: "The committee has found that the most frustrating aspect of addressing the Year 2000 problem is sorting fact from fiction... The good news is that talk of the death of civilization, to borrow from Mark Twain, has been greatly exaggerated. The bad news is that Committee research has concluded that the Y2K problem is very real and that Y2K risk management efforts must be increased to avert serious disruptions."

Many Massachusetts towns like Concord and Acton have town wide organizing efforts involving committees of town officials cooperating with neighborhood community groups that have been active and meeting regularly since January 1, 1999. They have large emergency shelters with independent power supplies; they have performed dry runs of extended power outages to test community support structures to see how they might operate if town emergency services were overextended due to long electric and gas shortages. We do not have this level of preparedness in Carlisle.

If we were to lose power for a week or more, we would all have to start relying on our neighbors; no town will be able to cope with all its citizens' needs solely through municipal emergency services.

Y2K may be a tidal wave or a ripple, or it may be a stuttering series of increasing inconveniences lasting over a year, as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and numerous other supplier countries to the US experience difficulties. Even if there are no Y2K disruptions, sometime in our lifetimes we, too, might experience a killer ice storm or hurricane that would put some of our ill or elderly neighbors at risk and severely inconvenience us all. Now is the time to use this period of calm to do the preparing.

It is not only prudent but also in the tradition of rural New England life for neighbors to know one another and be prepared to help one another. Since May, the Carlisle Citizens Y2K Group has run two town-wide information meetings on family and neighborhood preparedness issues and sponsored a number of neighborhood barbecues for neighbors to get to know one another and trade information on who could help with what if things got rough. We believe these neighborhood get-togethers are the best vehicle between now and the millennium for 1) getting specific information on steps for individual and family preparedness and 2) building bonds with neighbors in the event of tough times.

We will gladly support any citizens who wish to offer such a neighborhood party/coffee/barbecue with free information handouts, xeroxing, and a guest speaker on household and neighborhood preparedness. Call 369-4467 to ask for more information.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito