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New Toll-Free Number Providing Y2K Information to Consumers
(hotline reviewed by Marcello Aurelio Lanfranchi Mar, 31, 1999)
The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion has introduced the Federal Y2K Information Center, a new toll-free Y2K information line that provides consumers information about the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer problem.
You must have a touch-tone phone in order to access the automated information. However, you will be transferred to an operator if you have a rotary phone (or do not choose a touch-tone selection).
There is a wide range of information available on topics such as personal preparedness, banking issues, personal computers, the impact on airlines/airports, effects to the telecommunication system, availability of electricity, consequences to the food supply. Of course, information given is that the government and industry has everything under control.
For instance, according to them, we can expect a slight possibility of temporary disruption in some services. They suggest that individuals stock up on batteries; keep a three-day supply of food and water; make sure your gas tank is never less than half full (of course, we must keep driving); keep hard copies of billing, bank, and tax records; stay informed; consult "reputable" sources, such as your local government, bank officials, and pharmacist.
It appears the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion will take care of everything. Banks will be able to serve their customer's needs. There is absolutely no safety risk in terms of traveling via airline. The FCC assures us that the telecommunications industry will be Y2K compliant by the end of the year. (How DO they know these things..?)
"The electrical power industry is confident that it will be ready for the year 2000. While minor power outages may occur, the electrical power industry is already prepared to meet that challenge on a daily basis because of the many naturally occurring events that they must be prepared to handle."
USDA and the food industry are confident that there will be little or no disruption in the food supply (I guess they haven't read our website). However some foreign countries may not be as prepared, so there may be a disruption in some imports. Of course, it is always a good idea to always keep extra canned food and bottled water on hand due to periodic natural events like storms.
In my opinion, this is nothing more than government propaganda, encouraging us to rely on Big Brother and Uncle Transnational Corporation. Not once do they suggest that we take responsibility for our own lives. Never do they suggest we get to know our neighbors; plant community gardens; begin working with neighborhood groups, places of worship, schools, local businesses, labor unions, etc.; lobby our local government agencies to work with the community to address concerns; reach out to communities that are even less prepared than we are.
Nor do they address the issue of nuclear power facilities, toxic processing plants, military weapons systems, hospitals and the supply of prescription drugs. These are truly life and death matters. Why are they being ignored?
This might have been a good resource in 1996 when we had four years to go, but it barely mentions the real nitty-gritty stuff we need to deal with to get through Y2K in 1999, to say nothing of making the world a bit better because of it. I would suggest contacting organizations that are preparing on a neighborhood and/or community level in your own region. I also urge people to begin making some active noise as a citizen to get our governments to start treating us with some respect and consideration and giving us some common sense leadership. For links to some organizations that are doing good work on all of these matters, check out Y2K-breakthrough Web Site Links.
The government will not get us through Y2K. Prepared people working together will.