From: Rosa Zubizarreta <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Alice in Wonderland: Y2K and Chem Safety in CA
The following e-mail is a useful
illustration of how "programs" can be "in place" and yet few people
are in fact actually aware of them. Take for example, the "Community
Conversations" effort at the federal level. What percentage of your
friends and neighbors know that the Federal Government has a campaign
to promote "community conversations" about Y2K throughout the nation,
and that part of the purpose of this campaign is for "communities to
identify areas where additional preparation and planning are needed"?
The example below is a great deal more worrisome, because it
a State of California $9 million program to assess risks and prepare
chemical plants for Y2K -- and the folks who are apparently unaware
of it are the fire, police, and emergency preparedness folks who are
supposed to be implementing the plan.
As Dr. Kappelman states very eloquently in his post, the point
not to criticize, but to inspire each and every one of us to take an
active role in educating others, especially folks who are in any kind of
To all appearances, California is ahead of the rest of the
in terms of chemical safety for Y2K, because of the State level
program described in the following excerpt from the Center for Y2K
and Society's e-mail newsletter:
>> > The one exception is California, which has
>> > developed a $9 million program to assess risks
>> > and prepare its chemical plants for Y2K. Governor
>> > Gray Davis' Office of Emergency Services (OES)
>> > has distributed an Implementation Tool Kit to local
>> > agencies throughout the state. The Tool Kit
>> > contains project procedures, triage criteria and
>> > assessment guidelines to help the local agencies
>> > determine the Y2K readiness of chemical facilities
>> > in their area. To prevent Y2K-related accidents,
>> > OES is partnering with state agencies, local
> > governments, trade associations, and other groups.
However, the following e-mail from Dr. Kappelman, a respected
and international Y2K activist, paints a somewhat different picture.
Again, Leon's point is that it is UP TO US to make sure that
the folks who need to know, are in fact up to speed. Not a bad
time for a reminder to call your local Council member, Mayor, etc.
(Just today, I came across the following unattributed quote:
"Repetition is not redundant until it is understood.")
One of the interesting ironies of Y2K : we received the post
Dr.Kappelman from a list that is connected to the President's Council.
As the Federal Government has repeatedly stated, they have an
expressed interest in local activists lighting a fire under
the behinds of local officials everywhere...
>From: "Leon A. Kappelman" <Kapp@UNT.EDU>
>Subject: Chemical Plants Not Ready -- What to do about it
>I did a keynote for the California Emergency Services
>Association this past week -- The actual emergency folks
>from fire, police, and emergency preparedness/response
>departments that the California OES plan uses to get out to
>the hazmat facilities. I asked the room of 300-400 how
>many were participating in the state's program -- not 10%,
>probably not 5%. They didn't seem to have even heard of
>it. OES even had a booth there for their training services
>and the folks in it had no idea about the program. Really
>disheartening, albeit anecdotal and not a scientifically
>valid assessment of California's efforts in this regard.
>I had an exchange with John Koskinen about it. He was
>already very aware that top down efforts alone, although
>important because they show the support from the top, are
>not sufficient. He has efforts underway already to get the
>word out through fire chiefs. There are also inspections
>already taking place through the Coast Guard. Bottom line
>though, redundantly attacking these risks in as many ways
>as possible is probably our best hope to ensure that
>something potentially catastrophic does not fall thorough
>the cracks -- This was one of the realizations that came
>out of the White House chem safety round table in August.
>My primary goal for the past several years has been to keep
>y2k from killing anyone. It was what prompted my October
>1997 open letter to the President regarding y2k nuclear
>risk <http://www.year2000.unt.edu/kappelma/prez.htm> and it
>is one of the main reasons I donate my time to helping over
>40 countries through the YES Corps <http://www.iy2kcc.org>.
>Remember though, ultimately this is a local problem, so ask
>yourself: What agency or official in your community needs
>to know about these risks because they can do something
>about them? Typically that means mayors, council members,
>and other elected officials; fire, police, and emergency
>response; but could also include building and health
>inspection divisions, city managers, chambers of commerce,
>civic leaders, and other civic and business organizations
>like Red Cross, Elks, etc.
>There are no enemies here except the y2k problem itself and
>ignorance about it. No one wants to hurt anyone. But,
>sadly and remarkably, there is still a great deal awareness
>raising needed. The media can also be of great assistance
>at the local level to help keep y2k from killing or
> Leon A. Kappelman, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor, Business Computer Information Systems
> Associate Director, Center for Quality & Productivity
> College of Business Administration, Univ. of North Texas
> Co-chair, Society for Info. Management Y2K Working Group
> Steering Committee, YES Volunteer Corps (www.iy2kcc.org)
> Voice: 940-565-4698 Fax: 940-369-7623 Email: email@example.com
> Website: http://www.unt.edu/bcis/faculty/kappelma/
> > FORWARDED MATERIAL
> > Date: 29 Sep 1999 17:36:17 -0000
> > Excerpt from the Center for Y2K and Society, Y2K Center
> > Alert #010
> > To: The Y2K Center Alert Network
> > From: Philip Bogdonoff, Director of Outreach
> > Date: 29 September 1999
> > Chemical Plants Not Ready for Y2K:
> > Failure to Prepare Could Lead to Dire Consequences
> > About 85 million Americans live within five miles of
> > a chemical plant that handles hazardous materials.
> > Because the safety systems of many oil and
> > chemical plants are highly computerized, failure to
> > prepare adequately for Y2K could increase the risk
> > of plant spills, explosions, fires and other
> > accidents.
> > Even though we are less than 100 days from the
> > year 2000, it is impossible to conclude that the
> > majority of chemical companies are ready for Y2K.
> > Trade associations representing chemical and oil
> > companies have had extremely limited success in
> > obtaining responses to Y2K surveys. One joint
> > survey of small and medium enterprises by seven
> > trade associations allegedly indicated that all
> > respondents will be ready in areas of concern by
> > December 31, 1999. However, in its 100 Day
> > report last week, the Senate Y2K Committee noted
> > that the survey "was not a statistically valid
> > sampling" and therefore, the results could not
> > justifiably be extended to all small and medium
> > chemical firms.
> > This past summer, the independent federal
> > Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
> > took the extraordinary step of writing to all
> > governors to outline the risks of Y2K especially
> > among small and medium-sized businesses. The
> > Board urged governors to take action and warned
> > that "addressing this situation requires a massive
> > effort." Incredibly, despite this warning, there has
> > been almost no oversight and outreach at the state
> > and local levels.
> > The one exception is California, which has
> > developed a $9 million program to assess risks
> > and prepare its chemical plants for Y2K. Governor
> > Gray Davis' Office of Emergency Services (OES)
> > has distributed an Implementation Tool Kit to local
> > agencies throughout the state. The Tool Kit
> > contains project procedures, triage criteria and
> > assessment guidelines to help the local agencies
> > determine the Y2K readiness of chemical facilities
> > in their area. To prevent Y2K-related accidents,
> > OES is partnering with state agencies, local
> > governments, trade associations, and other
> > groups.
> > No other state has followed California's lead. If the
> > U.S. is to reduce the chemical accident risks of
> > Y2K, there will need to be a much stronger
> > partnership between federal, state and local
> > government officials; oil and chemical plant
> > operators; organizations representing front line
> > personnel; and the public.
> > Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT), Chair of the Senate
> > Y2K Committee has said: "We want to be sure that
> > Y2K doesn't become an explosive catalyst for
> > system failures in the chemical industry."
> > Unfortunately, we are not sure yet.
> > It's not just about computers. It's about people.