Northwest NEWS

April 19, 1999

Front Page

Bothell prepares for Y2K, urges residents to prepare

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   Although City of Bothell officials are dedicated to "no interruption of vital public services [in year 2000]," they admit their success also depends on successful preparation by "upstream providers" such as power, water, and sewer utilities.

   "The Year 2000 challenge is more than a computer problem," said Terry Briscoe, Bothell Risk Manager and Human Resource Director. "The City of Bothell is working diligently to investigate the embedded systems that support our vital public services, but since we do not control our upstream providers, we are not in a position to guarantee that we will achieve our goal. That is why it makes sense for community members to prepare for potential interruptions of service, similar to preparing for a severe winter storm."

   This summer, the city will hold several community workshops titled "Preparing for the Year 2000 and Beyond." The workshops will educate and prepare citizens for potential disasters in the Pacific Northwest, including a segment on the Year 2000 event and "The Big One," of which University of Washington seismologists have warned since the late 1980s is "imminent." Workshop instructors will define preparedness, and discuss how to prepare and practice preparedness plans, and why some people don't prepare.

   Disaster preparations include fire safety and prevention, first aid, food and fuel storage, disaster kits and supplies, and the maintaining of good communication with family and neighbors. Workshop training will include subjects like teaching neighborhoods to organize for improved disaster preparedness and crime prevention.

   Scheduled workshop dates and times will appear in future editions of the Bothell Bylines and public newspapers. To schedule a workshop for your neighborhood or community group, call Elmer Brown, Bothell police officer, at 425-487-5505.

   To date, most of the city's systems are Y2K compliant, with remaining upgrades planned for this summer, according to Briscoe. Puget Sound Energy plans to be fully compliant by June 1999. The Seattle Water Department plans to fill all reservoirs before Jan. 1, 2000 and is testing all manual backup systems. On-call employees will be available before and after the millenium event.

Contingency Planning

   The city's Year 2000 Preparedness Plan adopts the state's contingency planning assumptions which recommends:

   Contingency plans should enable the city to provide continuous services for water, sewer, public safety (911 needs), traffic control, and power for city buildings.

   The disaster team will activate the Emergency Operations Center on December 31, 1999 and keep it open until system operations can be assessed. All city employees are on vacation-restricted status for Dec. 31 through Jan. 15.

   Contingency planning, which involves continuous operation of all city buildings and services, is now approximately 50 percent complete. Contingency plans include: radio communication systems in case phones don't work; pumps for drafting fireflow from the Sammamish Slough or Lake Pleasant; erecting stop signs to replace traffic signals; agreements with gas stations to supply city government's fuel needs; and advance preparation of court dockets and city employee paychecks.

   Community members are invited to attend the city's annual Town Meeting on April 26 from 7-9 p.m. at the Northshore Senior Center, 10201 E. Riverside Dr. The disaster team will answer questions from the audience.