July 02, 2020

PI, Caribou ready for Y2K> County emergency agency doesn’t foresee computer problems

PRESQUE ISLE — Y2K is expected to bring nothing out of the ordinary as far as the cities of Presque Isle and Caribou are concerned.

With New Year’s Eve looming tonight, both cities have taken precautions, although no major provisions have been made for Y2K, according to city officials.

“The EMA [Emergency Management Agency] doesn’t foresee Y2K causing any difficulties for Presque Isle or Caribou,” Verne Ouellette, director of the Aroostook County EMA, said Thursday. The EMA is overseeing Y2K preparations for the region.

Ouellette said that his agency “has assurances from the electric and telephone companies that all of their systems are Y2K compliant,” which means that Presque Isle and Caribou residents needn’t be concerned about those utilities.

A total of 15 people will be staffing County EMA headquarters at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone. “This measure will enable the EMA to monitor towns like Presque Isle or Caribou for problems that may arise,” Ouellette said.

The Presque Isle Police Department will have two shifts working from 11 p.m. tonight to 2 a.m., Saturday morning, that will handle any problems that arise from New Year’s festivities and Y2K problems, according to Presque Isle police Sgt. Laurie Kelly.

Generators will be present at both the police and fire departments, but are not expected to be needed, she said.

All members of the Presque Isle EMA and Presque Isle Red Cross, as well as the city’s department heads, will be on call tonight and into Saturday morning. The city has designated the Forum building on Mechanic Street as a shelter if needed, according to Jerry McAvaddy, Presque Isle EMA director.

If electricity goes out in New Brunswick, Canada, where power for Aroostook County is generated by New Brunswick Power for Maine Public Service, the regional utility will switch over to hydrogenerators within The County, according to MPS officials.

The Caribou EMA will have a full staff from 11 p.m. tonight to 1 a.m., Saturday morning, according to firefighter Mark Baker of the Caribou Fire Department. The city’s fire department plans on operating normally, with its 14 full-time and 25 volunteer firefighters working regular shifts, he said.

The Teague Park School has been designated as a shelter if needed, Baker said.

An extra supervisor will be on duty at the Caribou Police Department, while staffing will remain the same, according to Officer Bob Whirley.

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