Precautions are ready for Y2K

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 12/29/99.

While most people are setting their social calendar for New Year's Eve, several people will be at work when the new year arrives.

As precautions against any unexpected problems due to the Y2K bug, a number of people will spend the night at work or on call.

The city of Paynesville will have a few firemen at the fire hall, and police officers and public works personnel on duty. City hall will be in radio contact with the dispatcher in St. Cloud. If local communications are not operating, people can try coming directly to city hall or the fire hall.

The police plan to have extra staff on duty, with an officer at the police station at city hall to take oral complaints if communications are down.

The city's public works personnel will be on hand to handle any problems with the city's water supply or septic sewage system, according to mayor Jeff Thompson. They have tested their generator and have emergency power sources to pump water or power lift stations.

Both Northern States Power and Minnegasco have assured the city that they're ready for Y2K.

With the radio at city hall, Paynesville will serve as a hub for emergency services, according to Marvin Klug, Stearns County Emergency Services Director. Belgrade, Brooten, Lake Henry, Roscoe, St. Martin, and Spring Hill will report to Paynesville, which will relay messages to St. Cloud.

Extra personnel will also be on hand and on call at the hospital to handle any Y2K problems or any emergencies. If communication fails, patients should either come directly to the hospital or should send someone to the hospital to get help. The hospital system will be able to send the ambulance or other personnel to help patients, according to Bev Mueller, patient care administrator.

The hospital will also be in contact with the dispatcher by radio.

One fear during the height of Y2K paranoia was the failure of financial institutions or a panic leading to a run on money. Banks and credit unions are closely regulated by the Department of Commerce, which has released its belief that financial institutions are ready.

"The effort to address potential (Y2K) problems in the banking and financial system have been exhaustive," said Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Deposits in banks and credit unions are insured up to $100,000.

Kevin Paintner of Community First National Bank said people should expect some inconveniences but should keep their money on deposit. As a precaution, people should maintain a paper trail of their deposits and investments.

People should be careful of having large amounts of cash that could be stolen, should beware of Y2K scams, and should be prepared if they keep financial records on a home computer.

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