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Protecting the CDC with Backup Power

At the turn of the twenty-first century, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control were still working in structures converted from pre-World War II army barracks.

“Inside the buildings conditions were even more alarming,” according to the CDC.

“Corridors were packed with freezers containing pathogenic agents and bio-hazardous substances because there just wasn’t enough room in the lab support areas. Likewise, filing cabinets full of documents, storage shelves, and other items were lodged awkwardly in public hallways. Rooms that should house only one or two workers contained four, five, and more.”

Recognizing the importance of the CDC to the health and security of people in the United States and around the world, Congress authorized and funded a complete rebuilding of the facilities on two campuses. Since the late 1990s, CDC has replaced more than twenty antiquated facilities, mostly lab buildings, with new, safe, flexible, modern space, with a total project budget of $1.5 billion.

Every building at the CDC Roybal campus relies on Caterpillar backup generators and switchgear from Yancey Power Systems. Yancey engineers worked with Turner Construction, the contractor, on the large and complex installation, and continue to maintain the systems. The first project, Building 19, had one 2,250 kW Cat generator and switchgear. Building 20 had three 2,250 kW Cat generators and switchgear. Building 21 had two 2,250kW Cat generators and switchgear and the Central Plant had three new 2,250kW Cat generators and four refurbished 2000kW Cat generators and switchgear.

Yancey takes every job seriously, but few come with the life-or-death implications of the CDC. “The investments made in facilities,” says the CDC, “have led to scientific advances in terrorism response, pandemic influenza, and many other public health threats increased its ability to communicate with health departments and healthcare providers around the world; and strengthened its ability to respond to public health emergencies.”

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