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New York City preparing subway system for next storm

New York City is working on updating its continuity of operations planning for its subway system.
New York City is working on updating its continuity of operations planning for its subway system.

Hurricane Sandy had many unexpected effects along the East Coast, one of which was the damage caused to New York City's subway system. However, state officials are determined to update their continuity of operations planning and ensure that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is better prepared for the next epic storm.

Interim Executive Director Thomas Prendergast explained to the Associated Press that it is not necessary to have elaborate items to help prevent another drastic flooding of New York's Subway System.

"We don't have to wait for space age solutions or rocket science solutions," Prendergast said.

Specifically, he explained that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is investigating options that include removable panels being placed over ventilation grates and stairwells. Installing an inflatable plug that would prevent water from flowing freely was also suggested.

According to the AP, during last October's superstorm, eight MTA underwater tunnels flooded. Prendergast said that May 30 will be the first time in six months that the "A" train service to the Rockaways will resume. 

The goal is for a new preventative flooding mechanism to be in place by the end of the 2013 hurricane season if not by the beginning of the 2014 season. Until then, Prendergast said that New York will use sandbags and plywood to build barriers designed to keep water out of the MTA.

A current continuity of operations plan is necessary for towns and cities of all sizes. Even if there is not a public transportation system involved, all residents and emergency officials must understand what they need to do in a disaster situation. That way, all parties can keep themselves safe as well as those who are around them.