On 10/29/12, Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, causing major electrical power outages, widespread flooding and concomitant health hazards. Being situated on the East River, The NYU Langone Medical Center sustained great damage and had to close. Our laboratory, which is located on the main campus of the Medical Center, lost power for almost one week. During that period, three large -800 freezers were connected to the emergency backup generator, but 12 -200 freezers, 13 40 refrigerators and the cold room were without electricity. These became very warm and contaminated with mold. After the power was restored, it was so unstable for the following two months that even small electrical equipment (power packs, microfuges, shakers, vortexes, plate-readers, microwaves, incubators, etc.) could not be used. Therefore, basic laboratory work such as running gels, making plasmid preps, growing cultures and stocking strains was not feasible. As a result of the power outage, we lost water and the HVAC wasnt functional. Water was restored 11/7 but the pressure remained low. The ventilation was poor and the laboratory was considered unsafe until 11/14, making it difficult to retrieve or move items before this date. Many important facilities (including the medical microbiology labs) remained closed and critical services were not available. The fume hood was not operational until 11/20. The water pressure was not restored fully until12/3. Perishable items could not be delivered until 12/4. Vacuum service was not restored until 12/26. On 12/28, the laboratory was considered fully operational and work resumed. However, subsequently, the ventilation system required major repairs, experiments were continuously disrupted by recovery efforts and construction work often made it physically impossible to perform lab work. This situation lasted through February 2013.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
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Huntley, Clayton C
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New York University
Schools of Medicine
New York
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