Weather Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Guide

What to do and what to know in advance of severe weather and other emergencies.

Whether it's a hurricane, a blizzard, a flood, or a blackout there are a number of precautions you can take to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

The NYC Office of Emergeny Management's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has the following recommendations for all residents.

Make a household disaster plan
Develop and practice a disaster plan with your household members to prepare for what to do, how to find each other and how to communicate in an emergency.

  • Decide where your household members will reunite after a disaster. Identify two places to meet: one near your home and another outside of the immediate neighborhood.
  • Practice using all possible exit routes from your home and the neighborhood.
  • Designate an out-of-state friend or relative who household members can call if separated during a disaster. If New York City phone circuits are busy, long-distance calls may be easier to make. This out-of-state contact can help you communicate with others.
  • Plan for everyone's needs, especially seniors, non-English speakers, people with disabilities, children and pets. 
  • Buy the right insurance. If you rent your home, renter's insurance will insure the items inside your apartment. If you are a homeowner, make sure your home is properly insured- flood and wind damage are not covered in a basic homeowner's policy.

Put together an emergency supply kit
Keep enough supplies in your home to survive for at least three days. Store these materials in an easily accessible container or cupboard, and update them twice a year at daylight-saving times. Suggested items are available online or at your local grocery, drug or army supply store. They include:

  • One gallon of drinking water per person per day
  • Non-perishable, ready-to-eat canned foods and a manual can opener
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
  • Whistle
  • Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach (for disinfecting water ONLY if directed to do so by health officials) and eyedropper (for adding bleach to water)
  • Phone that does not require electricity

Put together a go bag
Every household member should put together a Go Bag- a collection o ftiems you can use in the event of an evacuation. Each Go Bag should be sturdy, lightweight and portable, such as a backpack. Suggested items include:

  • Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, birth certificates, deeds, photo IDs, etc.)
  • Extra sets of car and house keys
  • Copies of credit and ATM cards and cash
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food like energy or granola bars
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
  • List of medications and dosages household members take, or copies of all your prescription slips with doctors' names and phone numbers. 
  • First aid kit
  • Child care, pet care and other special items
  • Lightweight rain gear and Mylar blanket
  • Contact and meeting place information for your household and small regional map

CERT representatives are available for group presentations that can last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes depending on how detailed a presentation a group may want.


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