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1998-04-30 08:17:35


Dallas Programmer Makes Plans for Bugging Out


This was mailed on April 30 to the Y2K Weatherman newsletter list.

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Y2k Weatherman Report #19

Chances are you still live in or near a major metropolitan area. Most Americans do. I know a few of you on this list have moved out of the city, but the majority of people on this list have no plans to do so. If I can't convince you to move, maybe you'll consider a "bug out" plan.

I live east of Dallas. It takes me an hour to get to my office if I miss the rush hour traffic. There are miles of pasture and Lake Ray Hubbard between me and Dallas. I know all my neighbors, and we have a top notch crime watch program in our neighborhood. We essentially have zero crime. Kids don't even get away with mischief like egging a car in my neighborhood!

I'm still not far enough from Dallas to be safe if we see mass exodus from the urban centers due to Y2k. It is a compromise location. I'd prefer to live self sufficiently on a more rural location, but my skills are in the area of computer systems project management. I hope my skills will be useful in helping fix Y2k problems throughout 1999 and into 2000. I hope I can still commute safely to a job in the Dallas metroplex. I'm not certain this is realistic.

If Texas Utilities doesn't manage their Y2k program effectively, or if the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission closes the Comanche Peak nuclear plant near Glen Rose, Texas, we could have some serious problems with electrical power in the Dallas area. I've tried multiple times to get solid information from TU Electric concerning their Y2k project, especially the embedded systems. I found out some disturbing things, but now they have identified me as a "question asker" and referred me to the legal department. I'm only getting "form letter" responses now. I'm not convinced TU Electric will be ready. I have a generator just in case.

There won't be much need for computer systems project managers in Dallas if the lights don't come on. No electricity means no computers, even if the computers have been fixed for Y2k. If you know anyone that works at TU and can get me some more contacts on the "inside" please let me know. If the electricity doesn't stay on (or come back on quickly) we're looking at "worst case scenarios" for sure.

I haven't defined the exact criteria that would incite me to "bug out," but I'm sure electrical power outage (more than a week) would be a key issue. If we have long term electrical problems that cause migrations out of the population centers, my family might not be safe even in our little close knit neighborhood. Right now I'm investigating "bug out" options.

I'm already well outside the city, but I'll be shopping for travel trailers or possibly locating a trailer home near a rural, self-sufficient Christian community later this year or in early 1999, just in case. I have nothing to lose. I'll either be camping in style (a family activity we currently enjoy), or I'll own a weekend get-a-way place in the country even if Y2k doesn't collapse the division of labor. Better safe than sorry. A mobile home in a good post 2000 location might be the best investment you ever make, especially if you live in the city. If electrical power goes down hard, it might even save your life.

Do you have friends or family that live in the country? Do they know about Y2k? Would they be willing to take you in if chaos and rioting occur in the city or suburban area where you live today? You need answers to these questions. Later this year or 1999 may be too late.

As safe as I am, I'm still considering alternatives. Contingency planning is critical. Think through some "what if" scenarios now, and avoid getting caught with your pants down later.

Y2k Weatherman Tip: If you plan to stay in the city or highly populated suburban centers, get to know your neighbors. Develop a "bug out" plan, just in case. Prepare for the (near) worst, and hope for the best.

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