County emergency management coordinator requests help Dec. 31 |

County emergency management coordinator requests help Dec. 31

Christina M. Currie

Opinions as to what will happen when the clock strikes midnight Dec. 31 range from global chaos, to hiccups in the power, to nothing, but officials are preparing for the worst.

Problems associated with the new millennium, referred to as Y2K, stem from a computer programming error that may cause computers to read the year 2000 as the year 1900, causing a wide possibility of computer trouble. Problems with phones, heat and power are anticipated, though officials say no one can accurately predict what will happen.

“Although no one knows for sure what Y2K-related problems may occur, we do know that we can expect cold weather and winter storms, followed by spring and the potential for flooding,” Moffat County Emergency Management Coordinator Clyde Anderson said.

In Moffat County, officials on a Y2K task force have been reviewing the problem and formulating plans. The group met in September to hold a mock Y2K disaster drill and from that, Anderson devised a community involvement strategy.

Anderson sent letters to all area churches encouraging them to identify, and provide for the “special needs” members of their congregations. Special needs people are those who may have health problems, are elderly or disabled, or anyone who may need assistance with their daily lives.

Anderson asked church officials to make sure the people have some place to go and someone to look after them in the event of severe weather or interruptions in public utilities.

“And other disasters, regardless of the cause,” Anderson said.

The response to Anderson’s letter from churches varies with some saying it’s too early and others saying they will take care of congregation members, regardless of the reasons.

“I feel we’ll take care of our own members who need help,” said the Rev. J.D. Barnett of the Church of Christ in Craig.

The Rev. Rogers Lascelle with St. Michaels Catholic Church said members haven’t made any specific plans, but will use the church for whatever is needed.

The American Red Cross is also looking for host families to help in an emergency. This would involve hosting people who are unable to remain in their homes due to any number of reasons, including disasters or fires.

“People who have homes with alternative heating systems such as wood or coal would be especially useful in the event of public utility failure,” Anderson said.

Red Cross representative Vicky Slaight said no one has registered with the Red Cross to be a host family.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done this so I don’t know if people feel comfortable being a host family,” she said. “People are burned out on the Y2K issue and will probably let it slide until it gets closer.”

According to Slaight, having an alternative heating source is the only requirement.

People interested in becoming host families may call 824-2661. The Red Cross will want to know how many people a family can host, home location and a name and phone number.