RealNews

In the Blackout, Planners Found a Surprise Drill for Evacuation

The power failure that cascaded across eight states on Aug. 14 provided New York City officials — who have been working on an evacuation plan for more than a year — with something of an ad hoc dress rehearsal. It gave them an opportunity to review some of the procedures for a terrorist attack or other disaster that could make it necessary to move masses of people out of Manhattan or other parts of the city, and to measure some of the challenges that such an evacuation would present. By many accounts, the rehearsal went well. City officials and other emergency management experts praised what they called an orderly exodus, noting that as many as three million people managed to get out of a nearly paralyzed Manhattan without serious injury or incident with no subways or traffic lights and limited bus service. John T. Odermatt, commissioner of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, said he was “better than pleased” about the way his agency had performed during the blackout, from the effectiveness of its communications system to the mobilization of its staff. Full Story

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