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Y2K safeguards were ready, unused

January 01, 2000

911 Dispatch CenterBy SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




The first call of the New Year at Washington County's 911 Dispatch Center wasn't about Year 2000-related computer problems but about fireworks going off in Williamsport at midnight.

cont. from front page

Some feared problems would occur at midnight if computers and software interpreted 2000 as 1900, but no such problems had been reported in the county by 12:30 a.m. today, Washington County Fire and Rescue Communication Chief Ron Karn said.

"Everything is routine and boring" County Administrator Rodney Shoop said at 12:05 a.m.

Between 11:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 a.m. today, only about six calls had been made to a special city-county Y2K information hotline, according to Hagerstown City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman.

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The hotline was staffed by city and county employees.

The callers were phoning, not to report problems, but to find out if trouble had been reported elsewhere, he said.

"There have been no problems encountered to date. It has been quiet," Zimmerman said.

Shoop was at a temporary Emergency Operation Center set up at the county's 911 Dispatch Center as a New Year's Eve precaution. Extra phone lines were installed and representatives of fire and rescue services were present.

Also on hand and ready for use was a new 18,000-watt emergency generator purchased for Washington County by the state.

The generator and phone lines turned out to be unnecessary as midnight came and went and nothing out of the ordinary happened.

At 9 a.m. today, all county department heads and division chiefs are to report to work to test all computer programs.

The Hagerstown Police Department had eight additional cell phones at its disposal on New Year's Eve. The phones were intended to be used as a last resort in case the regular phone lines malfunctioned, police said.

Those extra lines did not have to be used, police said.

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