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Sandy 10 years later: New technology deployed to protect New Jersey during storms

With the 10-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaching, New Jersey has embraced new technology that has allowed the most essential resources to stay up and running when severe weather hits.

News 12 Staff

Oct 25, 2022, 4:16 PM

Updated 634 days ago

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With the 10-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaching, New Jersey has embraced new technology that has allowed the most essential resources to stay up and running when severe weather hits.
Hurricane Ida left parts of the state underwater in September 2021 and caused up to $10 billion in damage. Floodwaters threatened the American Water infrastructure during the storm. Drones were deployed to survey the scene.
“With drones, we were able to put them up in the air, look at things like our flood walls, our pumps that were flooded out. We were able to tell what assets are within the video stream and being able to inform our operators the information they needed to know without them having to go into harm's way or go into boats or things like that to be able to get eyes on it,” says Chris Kahn, of American Water.
But flying a drone during a disaster requires cutting through the regulatory red tape, which was the purpose of a seminar held at the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park next to the Atlantic City Airport in Egg Harbor Township.
“You have millions of dollars worth of new technology that’s out there that really can't be deployed because you do not have the policies and procedures in place that authorize craft to fly, when they fly, how they fly, who operates them, who deploys them - things of that nature,” says Howard Kyle, president of National Aerospace Research & Technology Park.
Officials say that getting agencies from the federal level to the local level on the same page before the next Sandy or Ida strikes requires planning.
“It allows people like ourselves to get drones up in the air to see places that we might not be able to get very quickly,” says Mark Pino, deputy coordinator for the Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management.
“New Jersey American Water working with the state police, working with OEM and the FAA is deploying technology in ways, leading edge ways, so that we can continue to provide resilient, safe, and affordable water to our customers every day despite the severity of the weather that we’re seeing,” says New Jersey American Water president Mark McDonough.
Simulated emergency drone practice drills have allowed real-time data to be streamed from utility companies to first responders, OEM coordinators and federal authorities.


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