Select dorms prepare for future storms
October 17, 2013
One year after Hurricane Sandy hit New York on Oct. 29, 2012, NYU has completed some initiatives in response to the needs of displaced students.
Initiatives included incorporating a local emergency generator for Brittany residence hall during its scheduled renovation, which the university confirmed to be successful.
“The recent renovations did include emergency safety measures,” university spokesman Philip Lentz said. “Brittany is now equipped with ‘house’ or local, emergency generators. As for the future, Hayden residence will be renovated beginning May 2014. We are currently studying the most efficient energy source for that building.”
In July, the university also announced plans in the Preparation and Response Performance Review to install sufficient battery back-up and additional means of lighting in evacuation paths.
NYU also planned to expand the emergency generator distribution to increase food storage and serving capacity in the event of an extended power outage at Palladium residence hall. At Lafayette residence hall, the university outlined the concept of installing a portable generator connection.
The debilitating effects of the storm were felt by those in residence halls, although Goddard and Weinstein residence halls remained with electricity because they drew power from a different source. Only five of the other residence halls, Palladium, University, Founders, Third North and Gramercy, had local, emergency generators.
Other halls, such as Rubin, were left with only 90 minutes of battery-powered emergency lighting — available only in hallways and staircases.
“This is according to the NYC Code,” Lentz said. “The rationale is that 90 minutes is enough time for the residents to evacuate the building. During these 90 minutes, there is emergency lighting in the hallways and stairwells, and there is enough power for the fire safety panels.”
Evacuation for Rubin was mandated two days after the superstorm, and several other evacuations were mandated as generators lost power. Students were set up with cots in the Kimmel Center for University Life and the Palladium Athletic Facility.
While the inconsistencies in dorm safety left some residents unprepared, NYU staff launched various initiatives to improve safety in future situations similar to Sandy.
Several students reflected on the aftermath of Sandy and New York City post-storm.
CAS junior Jenny Peng, who stayed in Brooklyn the week after Sandy, praised NYU’s efforts to ensure student safety following the storm.
“For the most part, NYU security was great. There were officers in the buildings at all times,” Peng said. “The administration was attentive. They sent university-wide emails to all students, about a few each day, to keep everyone posted.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 17 print edition. Kavish Harjai is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.