NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers today released a comprehensive report detailing the university’s response to Superstorm Sandy and recommending enhancements to emergency procedures.
The report recognizes that the storm was an extraordinary event that touched the life of nearly every New Jersey resident. Rutgers, like institutions throughout the state, examined its actions before, during and after the storm. A university task force – which included representatives of units throughout Rutgers – assessed the institution’s performance and made a series of recommendations to prepare for future emergencies.
Thanks to the university’s emergency preparedness, Rutgers staff, faculty and students survived the storm with no on-campus injuries. In addition, the university successfully activated and hosted emergency shelters for more than 7,000 state, county and local residents – including Rutgers students – who were forced from their homes.
Rutgers’ contribution to Sandy response and recovery was recognized this summer by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security.
Rutgers hosted a regional food distribution site that supplied food and other provisions to New Jersey shore communities and neighboring states on the East Coast. Hundreds of staff and student volunteers pitched in where needed – from setting up cots to organizing Halloween festivities for displaced children housed in shelters on the Rutgers campus.
“The task force report was a useful and important exercise to assess the university’s readiness and subsequent response to Sandy in order to determine where Rutgers could improve its processes to respond to similar emergencies in the future,” said Steve Keleman, director of the university’s Office of Emergency Management.
“While there were many positive findings, the university knows there are always opportunities to learn and improve,” Keleman added.
Most of the recommendations for improvement identified in the review have been implemented, including:
- refining response protocols;
- improving protection of information and communication infrastructure;
- identifying alternative work sites for staff in the event of relocation; and
- increasing social media links on the campus status page.
Other recommendations are in the process of being implemented, such as upgrading generator systems and increasing emergency supplies in residence halls and other locations on all campuses. Rutgers will continue to solicit input and support from the entire university community to further improve emergency management systems and practices.
The report, which was developed largely for internal planning purposes, was thoroughly reviewed to ensure that advisory information and specifics of university security remained confidential, can be found here.
Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities. Serving more than 65,000 students on campuses, centers, institutes and other locations throughout the state, Rutgers is the only public university in New Jersey that is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.