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Survivalists try to prevent millennium-bug bite

woman stocking cans
For some people, preparations include stocking shelves  
October 10, 1998
Web posted at: 2:12 p.m. EDT (1812 GMT)

SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) -- It's just over a year until the year 2000, and some people already are preparing for the possibility of a computer-generated disaster by stocking up on groceries and other supplies.

Driven by fear that computer malfunctions will shut off power, transportation systems and automated teller machines, some California communities are banding together to educate themselves about how to survive the potential calamities.

RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Rusty Dornin reports on how some folks are preparing for a disaster that may not happen
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They fear that computers, programmed to read the year as a two-digit number, will not be able to read the year 2000 and will be unable to carry out functions.

Lindsay Dragon has begun stockpiling batteries, propane and nonperishable food in her Santa Rosa kitchen.

"I have a battery lamp... and then I store more food up here -- grains and seasonings and stuff like that," she says, pointing toward the topmost cupboards.

In churches and community centers, "Y2K" (year 2000) survivalists are meeting to talk about what might happen at the dawn of the year 2000. A special Senate committee is investigating the potential problems as well.

@2000
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    "The worst-case scenario is that the power grid goes down, that the telephone companies don't work... and other utilities, like water, will fail," says Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah.

    But nobody really knows for sure what will happen. Survivalists concede it's possible that when the time comes, nothing out of the ordinary will take place.

    Still, activist Carolyne Stayton insists her preparation will have paid off.

    "So what if nothing happens?" she asks. "We've formed community, we have new alliances, we've met new people (and) we've met our neighbors."

    Correspondent Rusty Dornin contributed to this report.

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