New York State’s
Y2K and YOU
George E. Pataki,
James G. Natoli, Director
Office of State Operations
Year 2000 Readiness Disclosure
New York State has been hard at work on the Year 2000 (Y2K) issue for more than three years. I established the Y2K Project in April 1996 to coordinate the State and local efforts and identified Y2K as the State’s “number one technology priority.”
You deserve the latest information about how Y2K may affect you and your family. As of September 1999, all of New York State’s “mission critical” systems and services that impact public health, safety and welfare are 100% compliant. State regulator and oversight agencies are closely monitoring key sectors including utilities, banking, healthcare and others to make sure they are taking the necessary steps to be ready for Y2K.
While the State is taking the necessary steps to be Y2K compliant, like all responsible organizations, we have also prepared contingency and emergency response plans.
This brochure outlines a number of simple, common sense steps you can take to be prepared for Y2K. Although service disruptions can happen at any time due to storms, equipment failures or other factors, Y2K provides an opportunity for the State and individuals to be better prepared for any potential event.
New York State is recognized as a national leader in addressing Y2K compliance and I look forward to moving into the 21st century together.
—George E. Pataki
What is “Y2K”?
In the early days of computers, programmers used a 2-digit number for the year in order to conserve costly storage space. When the Year 2000 arrives, the date field will contain “00” for the year and, as a result, some computers may fail or produce incorrect results if not corrected.
What could be affected by Y2K?
Any system or equipment that relies on date-sensitive technology could be affected by Y2K. This may include computers, as well as equipment that contains embedded chips, such as elevators, phone and security systems, and monitoring devices.
Things to Do
Check YOUR compliance
- Check your home electronic devices:
The date feature on most household appliances is not critical to its functioning. To be sure, check with manufacturers of any essential computer controlled electronic equipment in your home. This includes fire and security alarm systems, programmable thermostats, appliances, consumer electronics, garage door openers, electronic locks, and any other electronic equipment in which an “embedded chip” may control its operation.
- Check your computer:
Check with your computer manufacturer to determine compliance of your home PC. You need to check your hardware, your software, and your files such as databases and spreadsheets. The Office for Technology website has links to many sources of information concerning vendor hardware and software compliance status.
- Check in home medical equipment:
Contact manufacturers to determine if equipment is Y2K compliant.
Taking Care of Financial Matters
- As you would in preparation for a storm of any kind, have a moderate amount of extra cash or traveler’s checks on hand in case electronic transactions involving ATM cards, credit cards, and the like cannot be immediately processed.
- Keep printed records of your financial assets, including a current bank statement and other financial records such as deposit slips, ATM receipts and records of payments, as you always should.
- Remember FDIC insured deposits are and will continue to be safe.
- There are confirmed reports of attempted Y2K-related fraud including illegal telephone contacts by scam artists requesting you to transfer funds to special bond accounts for Y2K protection. Never give out account information over the phone.
- Remember… “911” is for emergency use ONLY. Please do not call just to see if it works (also don’t just pick up the phone to check if there is dial tone). All 911 centers are Y2K compliant. In the rare event that a 911 caller cannot get dial tone immediately, hang up and try again.
- There are adequate supplies of gasoline so motorists should purchase gasoline as they normally do.
- If power failures occur and result in non-functioning traffic signals, proceed with extreme caution when traveling through intersections.
- Call your transportation provider (bus, rail and air) regarding any schedule delays that may occur during this holiday season.
Family Needs in an Emergency
- Have your home emergency supply kit stocked to last for three or more days. Include: non-perishable foods, stored water, hand can opener, extra blankets, coats, hats, gloves, flashlights and extra batteries.
- Refill your prescriptions prior to 12/31/99 (5-7 days before your prescription runs out). Ask your pharmacist about your pharmacy’s access to your medications. Check with your insurance provider regarding any restrictions on refills. Have a supply of nonprescription medications you use.
- In case power fails, plan to use alternative cooking devices in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Do not use portable non-vented devices, such as barbecue grills, inside your home due to carbon monoxide and combustible products. Bundle up and use them outside.
- Always be prepared to relocate to a shelter for warmth and protection during any winter emergency. Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for information about where shelters will be located.
- If you plan to use a portable generator, connect what you want to power directly to the generator; do no connect the generator to your home’s electrical system, unless you are a certified electrician. Also, be sure to keep a generator in a well-ventilated area—either outside or in a garage, keeping the doors open; not in your basement.
- Check with the emergency service providers in your community to see if there is more information available about how your community is preparing for any potential problems.
- Check on your elderly or those with special needs, whether they are family members or neighbors.
- Contact your local leaders if you have not received Y2K status information through public forums or written materials and want to know about the status of your community’s services, such as utilities, schools, police, etc.
Year 2000 Resources
PCS Helpline (for questions about NYS utility Y2K issues) 1-800-342-3377
NYS Office for Technology
NYS Emergency Management Office
New York City Y2K Hotline
President’s Council on Y2K (www.y2k.gov)
Consumer Hotline: 1-888-USA-4-Y2K