County will have Y2K emergency center in place

December 30, 1999

Where to call

Telephone numbers for New Year's Eve:

- Hagerstown and Washington County governments' Y2K information hotline:


- Hagerstown Police Department:


- Backup city police department numbers:










By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

Washington County will open a temporary Emergency Operation Center as an added New Year's Eve precaution, spokesman Norman Bassett said Thursday.

cont. from front page

The temporary center will be at the county's 911 Dispatch Center, he said. Extra phone lines will be installed in case problems occur due to a computer bug, he said.

Representatives of the Washington County Sheriff's Department, Maryland State Police, the City of Hagerstown, Washington County Red Cross, Bell Atlantic, Washington County Fire and Rescue Association and the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services will be on hand at the center. County Administrator Rodney Shoop will be at the center at midnight.

"The state of Maryland has purchased a new 18,000-watt emergency generator for Washington County, and it has been installed and tested," Fire and Rescue Communications Chief Ron Karn said.

The generator will kick on within four seconds should a power outage occur, he said. The center also has as backup an older, 4,500-watt emergency power system.

Ham radio operators are assigned to all emergency shelters in municipalities and at other locations, including Washington County Hospital, Bassett said.

"Mission critical" county employees will communicate with the temporary center using battery-operated hand-held government-band radios, he said.

Some Washington County employees will help staff a city-county Y2K information hotline, which will take calls beginning at 8 a.m. Friday until early on Jan. 1.

The hotline number is 301-791-3814. The number is for calls about any computer problems that are not critical or life-threatening.

All county department heads and division chiefs are scheduled to report to work at 9 a.m. on New Year's Day to test all computer programs.

"Once we are past the critical period, from midnight to about 2 a.m., our goal is to be ready for work, as usual, on Monday, Jan. 3, 2000," Shoop said.

Hagerstown City Police will have eight additional cell phones at its disposal New Year's Eve. The phones are intended to be used as a last resort in case the regular phone lines malfunction, Police Sgt. Jack Hall said Wednesday.

Hall said city residents who need to reach police should first try calling 911 or the police department directly at 301-739-6000.

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