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Report: University Handled Sandy Well

NEW JERSEY 101.5

A Rutgers University task force has found the university handled Superstorm Sandy well but offers some areas for improvement.

Rutgers University
Rutgers University (Flickr User slgckgc)

The document says the state’s flagship public university needs to come up with plans to make sure emergency power is available in the highest-priority places, to strengthen its computer networks and to have clearer procedures for how the university communicates with staff and students during an emergency.

University Emergency Management Director Steve Keleman says work is being done to meet all the major recommendations, and that some have been completed.

“There was nothing that was overarching that I found in there,” Keleman said. “We look at anything that tries to make you better.”

No one was injured on any of three Rutgers’ three campuses in the October 2012 storm, but the storm still had an impact. Because of power outages, some 6,000 students were moved out of dorms in the New Brunswick-Piscataway campus. Evacuees from other areas were also housed for a time on campus. Keleman said the shelters worked better this time than during Tropical Storm Irene a year earlier, largely because the university learned from its previous experience.

Classes in New Brunswick and Newark were canceled for a week due to Sandy. In Camden, they were off for just a few days.

The findings in the 170-page report are not explosive. But the report itself has been the center of some dispute.

The university says it was intended mostly as an internal document and was completed in March. Its existence was not well known until earlier this fall, when Rutgers President Robert Barchi mentioned it during a speech.

It was made public Monday after open records requests from New Brunswick Today and a university employees’ union.

 

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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