HELP - Communication contingency plan for HAZMAT? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

My bro-in-law is the network administrator for one of the manufacturing plants of a large corporation. He was put in charge of Y2K remediation of the desktop PC's some time back. He has told me that it went fine, except that he had not remediated the global values of the PC's and didn't plan to tell anyone that. I posted a question a few weeks ago as to what the implications of that might be, since I have no IT knowledge. Didn't get any answers to that particular question, but now I have a more pressing concern.

This plant engages in a manufacturing process that utilizes many hazardous chemicals. The plant is only now beginning their Y2K contingency plans. They will shut down all manufacturing on 12/31/1999. On 1/3/2000 they will begin bringing the process controls on-line one at a time. (They have not done any drills of this, and have never had occassion to shut down the entire plant and do a cold start that BIL knows of).

My BIL has been assigned the task of formulating the contingency plan for communications. He has suddenly become a suddenly sorta-get-it, after a year of being a major DGI. He has no clue as to how to conceive a contingency plan. As he said to me yesterday, "What am I supposed to do if the phones don't work? Go down to [insert your local telco here] and tell them to turn our phones on?" He says that the only contingency plan he can think of for communications is for everyone to go home until the phones are working.

My purpose in submitting this thread is three-fold. One, to provide a real-life example of how at least one large manufacturing concern, involved with hazardous chemicals, is dealing with Y2K remediation and contingency planning. This scares the cr*p out of me. Two, as a heads-up, this manufacturer is the world's largest supplier of a product used in chip manufacturing (including the Big "I" as one of their customers). If this plant has trouble at rollover the effects will certainly be felt by many. Three, does anybody know of an on-line document that would provide guidance in producing a communications contingency plan for this type of concern? I told my BIL that I would ask this question of a group that may be able to provide some assistance. I would appreciate any serious reply. I know that "bend over and kiss your a** goodbye" isn't totally inappropriate at this stage, but not terribly helpful.

-- RUOK (RUOK@I've been, September 12, 1999


Sorry about the bold thing

-- RUOK (, September 12, 1999.

Can someone help me turn of the dang bold?

-- (, September 12, 1999.

Shelter In Place: Make Your Kits

We cannot emphasize strongly enough the need to read the Link and DO your kit. Doesn't take long and may save your life.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 12, 1999.


I have to leave or else I would love to provide more info.

But this is the place to find information on the net about Chemical Plants.

Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board: ChemLinks

More links

Chemical Industry

** **OECD's Chemical Accidents Programme and the Y2K Issue
* *CSB - Governors Urged to Prepare for Possible Y2K-related Hazardous Materials Problems
Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board: ChemLinks
Chem links is an online, searchable database containing links to Websites in a variety of categories that are related in some way to industrial chemical safety.
(HTML) Report to the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem
Report to the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem

Year 2000 Issues Technology Problems and Industrial Chemical Safety March 1999

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health NIOSH/Y2K Homepage
Our objective is to prevent occupational disease and injury that may result from Y2K computer and embedded microchip failures by providing resources and a forum for Occupational Safety and Health professionals.
CMA Survey for Rohm and Haas Company Year 2000 Status (PDF) June
Rohm and Haas Company, together with many CMA member companies, isusing the CMA Survey form to report status of Year 2000 activities. This form will be updated on a monthly basis.

-- Brian (, September 12, 1999.


Thanks for the timely link. After hearing what I did yesterday, I hope everyone acts on preparing the kit. The plant where my BIL works processes toxic as well as explosive chemicals.


Thanks so much!! I will be reading all the links you provided in hopes of finding some things I can extract for BIL. Even though it's sooo very late, I would like to think that in the time remaining he would do his best with that which he has been given responsibility for. It's still unbelievable to me that a company like this would hand someone so clueless a project of this magnitude.

-- RUOK (, September 12, 1999.

RUOK, I just saw your original question for the first time. So I turned to my husband who works for a computer services firm, and does year 2000 testing and remediation, among other things. He has also written several state drills involving hazardous materials. I asked him what will happen if the global values have not been remediated.

He says that the controllers may or may not recognise the date. They may or may not get proper mixing of chemicals, which could result in some interesting and potentially dangerous combinations. If the date is too far off, the network may drop one or more controls off the network. He also adds that your brother in law is a blankety blank ass. (I am typing this while he is watching TV and dictating to me.) If your brother in law has any integrity, he will tell management what is going on. Otherwise, the results will be on his head and on his hands. Check this out with other network admins, if you don't believe me.

-- b (b@b.b), September 12, 1999.

ruok, about the communications plan. tell him to ask the employees of this firm, to confess if they are hams (amateur radio operators). the company should have those hams on standby to do communications. also ask the hams what particular technical skills they may have in the communications field, as there are a lot of hams who could rig up emergency communications with baling wire and spit.

in my area, the power companies will use employee hams. also, the department of emergency management works with hams all the time, and certainly plan on doing so during the rollover. your BIL should talk to his county or better yet state, department of emergency management to get ideas for the communications plan. he can also talk to the ARRL (amateur radio relay league). they are online at and he can access their index. in the ARRL index, he will find 2 organizations named ARES and RACES. those 2 radio orgs do emergency communications all the time, and he should get in touch with a local chapter pronto. they will not only give advice for the plan, they will probably be the ones called out by the OEM (office of emergency management) if there are problems, so he may as well get to know them now.

-- jocelyne slough (, September 12, 1999.

There is a .mil site with boilerplate contingency plan checklists somewhere. Kevin?? Di??? Linkmeister??? they are linked SOMEWHERE here. I'll try the Hotbot approach and if i DON'T post the link maybe they will be able to help.

will probably try to answer after the first half. . . . OH DARN the TV just decided NOt to receive the only important channel. Browns oin the radio tonight, I guess.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, September 12, 1999. . . . (this one costs for the full meghilla) . . . (interesting list of links)

Hot links via e-mail if you want-em.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, September 12, 1999.

Thanks, all, for the continued assistance. I've been rooting around in Brian's links most of the afternoon, and have now done some preliminary checking on Chuck's links, too. I still haven't found quite what I was looking for, an actual contingency plan for loss of telephone communications, but I'll keep digging deeper. Since I don't think my BIL is capable of conceiving and writing such a plan, I hoped to be able to point him to a completed one that he could use with perhaps minor modification. I would like to think that seeing what contingencies are possible would get him thinking beyond, "If the phone service is down, go home."

b, thanks for checking on the global values problem. I should have been more clear that his remediation of the desktops was for administrative functions, not for the manufacturing process, although his communications contingency plan is supposed to be for the entire organization, including manufacturing. I don't mean to excuse his lack of integrity in leaving something undone, however. Given your information, it sounds like not remediating the global values could cause havoc on the admininstation's network anyway, and I'm not sure if he is aware of that. Knowing this, I will address the issue with him again. If his answer is unsatisfactory, I will do some soul searching about how to handle it. You can tell your husband that I agree with his blankety blank assessment.

Jocelyne, thanks for the pointers. I had thought that something along the lines of ham, CB's or such might be a part of contingencies for telecommunications failure, but didn't know where to send him for help. I'm still recovering from the shock that his company must think that a communications contingency plan is so simple (or so unimportant?) that an unqualified employee with full-time responsibilities elsewhere can do this in his spare time.

-- RUOK (, September 12, 1999.

Your y2k communications plan should have three levels of planning. # 1 Plan for electric and telcomunications to be down and the possibility that terrestrial communications may be impaired due to Emp from peak conditions of the solar maximum event expected around this time. Have your company run a fibre optic line to your local towns Emergency Ops center. (for warning residents of dangerous toxic release conditions) # 2 Lease 2 mobile chem/air warfare analyser (Fox)Humvees from the DoD, and use that as your chem release threat accessment tool. Since electic will probably go down this will give you off the grid monitoring capabilities and will provide full protection to personel having to stay and monitor for life threatning environmental releases. Set up a command monitoring station on highest point a couple of miles away that is equiped with generators,battery banks,and solar and wind collectors for recharging radios and have the sight completely wired to utilize state of the art low voltage lighting. Have them store enough fuel for vehicles generators and heaters to weather 3 months worth of continuous electicity disruptions. Same goes for food and water for plant personel. Have sleep over arrangements set up because martial law may not permit travel between towns during certain days or times of day if infrastructure failure is total. Have provisions for family members of critical plant personel ready in advance of the date. #3 Security will be a big concern. Have 24 hour guards contracted to be available with special cash pay, chem protection suites and contigency orders prepared for in advance. y2k will be a unique event with unforcastable possibilities. It's expensive to prepare and deadly not to. I wish you the best. God bless you for think about others safety.

-- y2k aware mike (y2k aware mike @ conservation . com), September 12, 1999.

Contingency planning is usually done by professional security personnel. I'm shocked that the plant has no such person and doesn't already have such plans AND EQUIPMENT in place.

-- Mara Wayne (, September 12, 1999.

Mara --

Think "Union Carbide" and "Bhopal."

"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped." -- Elbert Hubbard

-- Tom Carey (, September 12, 1999.

ruok, your mention of CB radio reminds me that you might also want to check out a CB group called REACT. i also remembered that one town, i think it was rogue valley, oregon, has a contingency plan ONLINE for communications using CB radio for local, and then ham radio "nodes" to get out on HF. i've looked at it, it's well worth a look. a simple search should turn up the webpage in oregon, or possibly chuck or somebody might know the url.

-- jocelyne slough (, September 13, 1999.

Jocelyne...Bingo!! The URL for the Rogue Valley Y2K Taskforce's communications contingency plan is here:

Task Force

You are right, this looks like something that should really help! Please accept my sincere gratitude.

y2k aware Mike,

Wow. Thanks for all your thoughts about this. I know for a fact that this company is not implementing any of the contingency preparations you detail. My BIL was only told to prepare a contingency for telecommunications interruptions. Given the haphazard eleventh hour contingency planning of this plant, we can only hope for the best with little reason to think we should expect it.


I'm shocked, too. It is absolutely appalling. It makes me wonder how representative this company might be of hazardous material processors. Here's hoping that, as you say, most contingency planning is usually done by professionals. If this company is not some kind of aberation there will be tragedies unfolding.

-- RUOK (, September 13, 1999.

"It is absolutely appalling. It makes me wonder how representative this company might be of hazardous material processors. . .If this company is not some kind of aberation there will be tragedies unfolding."

I have a feeling this is more the norm than the exception. One can only be shocked if you have not followed, even peripherally, the abysmal safety record of haz/mat producers/recyclers/users. The government being one of the worst offenders, but by no means the only burr in the collective saddle.

I personally think the best contingency plan for all of the haz/mat companies is indeed, to shut down (prior to the rollover, with careful attention to whatever cannot simply sit in a static/uncooled/unmoderated state); tell all of the employees to go home and stay there until electric/telcos have been verified as working and reliable commodities...without which senseless risks are being taken.

-- Shelia (, September 13, 1999.

I hope that those who are unprepared will consider the implications of this further information.

I had lunch with BIL today to discuss the situation. I gave him hard copies of the information you all pointed me towards, and he was very relieved to have some assistance. In regards to what I told bb above about BIL not having the responsibility for remediating the global values of the PC's involved in process control, I learned today that I was quite mistaken. He was tasked with the PC remediation company-wide, including process control PC's. I told him what bb's husband said, and he responded that the global values would be "ready to go in time", although in addition to his regular full-time duties, he is also supposed to prepare the telecom contingency plan in the time that remains.

After lunch, I checked the website of the parent company to see what they said about their Y2K status. It is an extensive corporate Y2K site, which leaves one with the impression that this company really has it together about Y2K. Among other things, it states that as of August 1, 1999, they are 99.9% complete (with all the fancy charts and graphs to document it). It also says that all business units have developed worldwide crisis management programs, which were to be tested and finalized by August 31, 1999, including telecommunications, which they rated as a Security Level 1 High Risk item.

What more can anyone possibly need to know in order to understand the magnitude of the threat to public safety that Y2K presents?

-- RUOK (, September 14, 1999.

AAaaaiiiieeeee, the lies ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, September 14, 1999.

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