By HDN Editorial Boardc
The dread over a possible Y2K millennium catastrophe turned out to be more boo than bogeyman this New Year's Eve.
Fears that electrical power would crash, that airplanes would drop from the sky, or that telephone companies would be passing out styrofoam cups and balls of twine have proved to be unwarranted.
But before we get too complacent, it's important we be mindful of the thousands of hard working men and women who worked quietly behind the scenes to guarantee nothing would happen and insure our safety if something did go wrong.
We also need to be aware of the billions of dollars that were spent to up-grade, modify, or replace old equipment that may have been afflicted with millennium fever.
Locally, the time has also come to consider the positive contributions of people like Clay Vincent, disaster and emergency services director for Hill County. Vincent pulled together elements from within the county concerned with emergency preparedness and worked to coordinate their efforts just in case the "worst-case scenario" proved real.
The Havre Police Department, Hill County Sheriff's Department, Havre Fire Department, and Water, Sewer, and Maintenance Departments also worked to prepare for any eventuality.
Also included in the effort was the local chapter of the American Red Cross and the local branch of The Salvation Army, who worked to prepare for emergency shelter and provide blankets, cots, and food if needed.
We also need to thank Montana Power and area manager Pat Patterson for the time and effort they made to prepare for Y2K.
Northern Montana Hospital, too, spent large sums and dedicated many man-hours on Y2K to insure the community would continue to receive health care.
Thanks also should be extended to all the employees and volunteers who spent their New Year's Eve manning emergency command posts or on the job to insure your holiday went smoothly.
Preparing for what might have been has also taught us that plans, in order to be effective, need to be constantly checked, revised, upgraded, and tested.
Havre has been fortunate that no major disaster has struck our community in years. But to assume this will always be the case is the height of foolishness. Disasters can strike at any time and with no warning -- be they Y2K or calamity of nature.
Havre's emergency services today are better prepared to deal with calamity because of Y2K. They have also learned much from the experience. They have thought through the problems, practiced the drills, upgraded equipment, established communication, and laid the groundwork for meeting disasters head-on.
For this, if for no other reason, we tip our hat to Y2K and to all the agencies and individuals who watch out for our safety. It was a job well done.