In part one of this video series, I discussed the importance of risk management and some things to consider when entrusting external parties with your valued samples. For part two, let's explore some additional factors to include in your risk threat assessment and ways to not only protect your samples, but also protect your data!
Disclaimer: This video showcases footage from various regions which may have local variations in EH&S guidelines.
Another item that's very important to consider in your risk threat assessment is electricity. We've been contacted several times by our clients to move freezers out of a facility due to power outages. Oftentimes, our ability to move the freezers is dependent on its location. In high-rise buildings the elevators are usually not synced to the generators, therefore making it impossible to move the freezers to a different location. Another item of electrical importance is providing uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) to the critical equipment in your organization. The purpose of the UPS is not to serve as the battery backup to your computers or temperature monitoring systems; the real purpose of the UPS is to guard against power surges and ensure that when power is restored a surge doesn't cause your systems to fail.
Avoiding Water Damage
When designing your building it's important to ensure that there isn't any possibility that water could enter the facility. This not only diminishes structural damage, but also minimizes any disruption in power to the backup generators.
A number of the biorepository disasters that I've helped remediate occurred during the wake of tropical storm Sandy in 2012. Several of the our clients' off-site storage facilities were in old buildings where the switch gear and generators were located in the basements of the facility. The facilities flooded and when that happened we were called in to support by moving biospecimens and even laboratory animals out of the basements that were prone to that flooding. It's very important to take in the facility design as part of your undertaking in your threat assessment.
I also encourage you to evaluate your own data retention plan; do you store by tape or by another server? Is that server or tape located in the same building that could be impacted by the natural disaster? To ensure secure data storage you certainly want to look into opportunities such as using the cloud or storing data off-site.
Protect Your Data
When selecting an off-site storage provider, its important to ensure that they manage your data and the inventory of your data as carefully as your specimens. This includes backing-up your data on a pre-set schedule and testing the recoverability of your data once it's been stored.
Benefit of a Risk Mitigation Strategy
So what's the benefit of a risk mitigation strategy? To me the benefit is to ensure that you have the safe and secure storage of your irreplaceable samples. At Fisher BioServices we are devoted to ensuring that your samples are housed in a secure facility and monitored 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. My well-trained staff of on-call professionals respond quickly during times of risk to help ensure that samples are secure. Our freezers are validated, we have back-up monitoring, and we have redundancy in our facility. We are capable of storing your samples at a wide range of temperatures, whether it's controlled ambient, ambient, +4°C, -20°C, -80°C, or in vapor phase liquid nitrogen storage. Fisher BioServices is a cold chain expert and qualified to transport your high value biologics and cell based therapies in times of risk or times of trouble. We can do this on an end-to-end basis to help ensure that your samples remain integrous and efficacious for your use.
To learn more about risk mitigation and how to select the correct transport provider to safely move your irreplaceable biospecimen collection, download our InfoPoster!