An ounce of prevention

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No matter how much we plan for any situation, we almost always end up blindsided by what actually unfolds in front of us. We know that a fail-safe preparation plan for disaster simply doesn't exist.

Yet, armed with that knowledge, we tend to steer clear of any type of preparation, thinking that since we don't know what could happen we can't take the first step toward disaster preparedness.It's this kind of sloppy thinking that must come to an end.

When's the last time you considered the disaster recovery program for your cleanroom operation? Do you have one? It doesn't matter if you're keeping a watchful eye over 100,000 square-foot fab or 10 square feet of research space, the better, more thoughtful the contingency plan the faster you can get back on-line.

Disaster recovery is a topic we cover every once in a while in CleanRooms and in our conference tracks. But the more I consider the consequences of not being prepared the more I realize the need to pump up awareness of this daunting task. There are no planned disasters, no rules for what could happen. However, we tend to understand the potential dangers contained in our facilities, and we can start from there.

Required reading this month falls on page 22 where Pentagon Technologies' Larry Mainers gives us a solid look at the nuts and bolts of establishing such a plan. The process will force you to dig deep into your facility, identify your specialists, and really get to know your tools, automation, air handlers and duct work.

Allow your plan to evolve, get all your players involved; and remember, the better the contingency plan, the faster you can get back to work.

Our news section is designed to follow trends that will, eventually, help you do a better job. Stories will range from vendor mergers that could affect an existing working relationship to new standards development that may force you to totally rethink the way you conduct your cleanroom operations.

But following Sept. 11, we've started to follow how cleanroom technology is being adapted to help the fight on terrorism. I've been fielding calls from industry insiders telling me how isolator makers are being asked to develop products for mail opening and how standard cleanroom disinfectants are being applied to new areas in the battle against airborne disease.

Critics may question how this fits into our defined editorial mission. Well, it's our job to follow the market, and if the market is aiding in our new war, then we're going to wave the flag.

Michael A. Levans


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