Hvacr Trade Braces For Bioterrorism

December 15, 2001
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The newspaper and magazine headlines continue to recount stories of possible bioterrorism, which could threaten the very core of American business — the workplace. Even consumers are asking if they are safe from the threat of chemical warfare.

The hvacr trade continues to press for answers to new and difficult questions. And the questions go beyond chemical infiltration of hvac systems to include basic building security issues, as building owners and tenants look to prevent anyone from tampering with air-handling equipment.

A two-pronged attack on the problem is taking shape as manufacturers are studying the effects of UV lighting on anthrax and other biological agents, while commercial contractors are looking for ways to secure access to mechanical rooms and rooftop units.

Hvacr Systems Security Summit

In order to address bioterrorism and security measures, The News is teaming up with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) to present a special meeting of hvacr trade members. The National Hvacr Systems Security Summit will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2002 at the Sheraton International at BWI Airport, Baltimore, MD.

The summit will include representatives from the White House’s Office of Homeland Security, major manufacturers, commercial contracting businesses, academia, law firms, and other related organizations — experts who have researched products and solutions for combating deadly airborne viruses and ensuring the safety of air-handling equipment.

The summit will explore the following topics:

  • The risks of air-handling systems being used in biological or chemical attacks;
  • What contractors and building operators can do to minimize potential risks;
  • What contractors should tell customers about potential risks;
  • How contractors can reduce potential liabilities associated with air-handling attacks; and

  • How contractors can improve internal processes to reduce risks.
  • The summit will also examine long-term technical improvements that are being investigated by hvac manufacturers and in the academic research community.

    Two of the scheduled speakers, Brian Monk of Circul-Aire and Stephen Zitin of Bioclimatic, Inc., talked about the seminar and what they hope to accomplish.

    “Our company has prepared filtration systems to filter outside air in the event of chemical or biological attack,” said Monk. “We will talk about the details surrounding this technology and point out the benefits of a fully integratable filtration system that would handle the full spectrum of gases.”

    Zitin talked about the knowledge that seminar attendees should walk away with. “I would like people to understand what types of remedial action are available to them — none of which is the one-solution, silver bullet approach.

    “There are ways to get a payback after implementing these measures to help pay for the investment in this equipment. It isn’t just about spending money. There is a return on investment.”

    According to News’ publisher John Conrad, this is one event that will pay long-term benefits.

    The News believes that a straightforward approach to discussing bioterrorism and building security will produce effective and workable solutions for all members of the hvacr community,” said Conrad.

    For registration information, see page 16 or visit www.achrnews.com (website).

    Publication date: 12/17/2001

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