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Y2K — A Major or Minor Disruption?

With fewer than 50 days to the last year of the millennium, there are as many views about what will happen on Jan. 1, 2000, as there are people. You may wonder how the transition to the new date will affect the building where you work.

The Office of Research Services created a Y2K team to manage the process of making NIH facilities, both on and off campus, Y2K ready. The team's efforts are being coordinated with the Center for Information Technology, which is spearheading NIH's Y2K compliance initiative.

Antiquated fire alarm system reporting device was found non-Y2K sensitive.

Two contract firms doing Y2K evaluations have provided written certification that the more than 1,000 building system components (including fire alarms, emergency generators, uninterrupted power supply, elevators, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting, security, electrical distribution, plant equipment and freezer control systems) tested on the Bethesda campus are Y2K compliant, not counting the Clinical Center, which is still under inspection.

The compliance status of each building on the NIH Poolesville campus is also being determined. Y2K compliance at the Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Rocky Mountain Laboratories and Research Triangle Park, N.C., is being certified by facility managers at those locations.

Contractors review the operating schematics of Siemens system associated with heating, cooling and lighting controls.

NIH is developing contingency plans to cover events outside its control. If on Day One power is not provided by Pepco, water is not available from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission or other similar problems occur, NIH has a fall-back position to continue essential work. Command centers are being strategically located to permit communication between satellite campuses and response teams as a first line of defense against a potential Y2K bug. Learn more at

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