By Emma Pratt
On Oct. 19 at 8:55 p.m. the City College Police Department sent out a RAM Emergency Alert, warning the community of a power outage on the Ocean Campus. The outage also affected the bordering neighborhoods of Ingleside and Westwood Park and was restored at 10:20 p.m the same night.
Custodial Supervisor Kevin Mitchell was on campus when the power went out. “First I was trying to figure out what happened, then I stepped outside and saw that the area was black, so I knew a transformer had been hit somewhere,” he said.
An evening crew of custodial workers helped escort people out of buildings. “Initially they had to get people out of buildings, and then campus police came and said everybody had to go, so we went through and cleared each building, to make sure no one was inside,” Mitchell said.
Alberto Vasquez, vice chancellor of offices of facilities and capital planning, said there is “typically emergency lighting in every building.” It’s regular lighting, you wouldn’t tell the difference, it stays on and has different power. It has a battery-supported system that stays on for an extra couple of hours so people can leave in a dark building.
Keith Mueller, chair of the engineering department, was in Cloud Hall during the outage. “I was in room 213, and I had two students remaining taking my test. The power flickered a little bit, and that’s uncommon, that doesn’t happen very often, then it went completely out,” Mueller said.
“A long time ago we had a power outage. It happened in MUB, I think maybe around 2012, 2013,” he continued “They brought in generators to keep MUB going, but not the rest of the buildings.”
Cloud Hall had no lighting during the outage, while the Science Hall had emergency lighting in the hallways, but classrooms remained dark. Students in the bungalows were instructed to leave.
“We didn’t have emergency lighting in most of the buildings,” Mitchell said. “For the most part, the college was dark. However the wellness center still had lights.”
“There’s a testing system that our maintenance team will start to investigate,” Vasquez said., “An analysis needs to be done to see if the [emergency] lighting did or did not work in the buildings, and I don’t know that. That’s a step that we need to take, but I don’t know if it did not work at all.”
“I think the emergency and light safety is an issue for the college, that’s why after this event occurring, we are ramping up efforts to understand how we can make sure the emergency systems are functioning,” said Vasquez. “Our buildings and grounds maintenance department, we have electricians that will be responsible for testing systems. They’re here during the day.”
In regard to whether emergency lighting exists in each building on campus, Mitchell said, “its my understanding that we don’t have it.” As to whether emergency lighting in the college will be updated, Mitchell said, “I would hope so.”