You probably fall into one of two groups when it comes to Y2K.
The first group can't get enough information about the potential problems we can expect and has already prepared to live for the first six months of 2000 in the worst possible conditions. The second group can't understand what all the worry is about and believes that Y2K planning is just a lot of “hype” and a waste of time and money.
Very simply, Y2K is a concern because computer systems developed more than a couple of years ago may not be able to understand their program code when the date changes to 01/01/00 on January 1st. Even if you don't have a home computer, this is a concern because so many of today's appliances use computer chips (e.g. some telephones, pagers, medical devices - anything that uses a date as part of it's function).
There has been a great deal of planning to ensure that Y2K does not cause major problems. The big players like Hydro, Bell and the banks tell us that their systems have been well tested and any problems will be only short term and effect only small groups of people. The “experts” tell us not to panic but to be prepared for these small “glitches” to the systems. As a result, organizations are currently developing contingency plans - what they will do “just in case”. It is probably wise for you to develop your own contingency plan for the first week of January 2000.
What You Can Do - Just In Case
One of the things you can do is check any equipment that you rely on to ensure that it is ready for Y2K. If you are not sure, you may need to ask the manufacturer or the company that you purchased it from if you need to be concerned. Among the things that you may wish to consider is having a little extra cash and supplies on hand including water. This does not mean that you should stock pile but be sure to have enough to see you through the first week of January. Ensure that you have sufficient medical supplies for the week (medications, needles if you are diabetic, etc.) Finally if you live alone: Try to make plans for who you will call or who will check in on you if you do experience any problems.
We believe that good planning will avoid most of the potential problems.
It's exciting to be able to see in a new millennium. The worries about the impact of Y2K will just make it even more memorable regardless of whether anything happens or not - it will be part of the stories to share with our grandchildren.
Happy New Year!
Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton (613) 560-1335