PROVO -- Almost everybody in Utah Valley knows and talks about Y2K, but far fewer are fretting over it. For now.

A recent Deseret News poll shows 79 percent of Utah County residents are familiar with the possible worldwide computer crash that could occur when the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, 1999, while only 54 percent are concerned that the millennial bug will affect them and their families."I'm surprised those numbers aren't higher," said John Terry, chairman of the Y2K steering committee at NuSkin International, headquartered in Provo. "I'm surprised more people don't know about it, and I'm surprised more people aren't concerned."

While Terry isn't forecasting doomsday when the year 2000 dawns in 11 months, he says it will impact almost everyone in some way.

"Based on my 20 years of technical background, I know we're going to have problems," he said.

Among those problems could be anything from VCRs not functioning to bank accounts vanishing as a result of computers assuming the year is 1900 instead of 2000. If a universal computer shutdown takes place, food could be scarce and electricity could be non-existent for a period of time, some say.

Still, Terry explains, no one knows exactly what to expect.

"All we can do is speculate, but you ought to be prepared," he said. "If we're prepared, we'll be able to deal with it."

Lindon resident Natalie Rhea says her family plans to increase their food storage supply in anticipation of a potential emergency. Other than that, it's business as usual.

"We're concerned, but we're not worried sick," Rhea said. "We haven't lost any sleep over it."

Ted Joffs of Provo says he's leery of the self-induced troubles that could spawn from the Y2K threat and thinks people will withdraw massive amounts of money from banks.

"The main thing I'm concerned about is people panicking about it," Joffs said. "Most banks are Y2K compliant. It's a big issue and they are fighting to take care of it. But people are going to panic, and that's what will cause problems."

The poll showed the 55-64 age group is the one most concerned about Y2K. In addition, 61 percent of Utah County women are worried about Y2K as compared to 48 percent of men, the survey found.

Store managers at local computer and appliance retail companies report that few customers ask if products are Y2K compliant.

"Very, very rarely do we get questions about that," said Walter Knoell, store manager at Radio Shack in Orem. "Personally, it doesn't sound like it's going to be a big issue."

Terry says while most big businesses are Y2K compliant, small businesses are vulnerable. In conjunction with the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce, he holds meetings to educate companies about Y2K and says they are not well-attended.

"Small businesses think that they are small enough that there won't be any impact on them," Terry said. "They don't have enough resources to spend time on it or they don't understand the problem. Smaller companies, which make up 75 to 80 percent of the businesses in Utah County, have not worried about it.

"Within one day, most small businesses can determine if they are Y2K compliant. It's not a difficult process. We are going to lose small businesses right and left, and large businesses will grab them."

Terry adds that some fallout from Y2K will be out of the hands of Americans. "The biggest concern is the foreign market," he explained. "Our banks could be completely compliant, but if overseas banks are not, it will impact us negatively."