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Making New Yorkers Stronger

Preparing for public health emergencies involves the “whole” community, including individuals, community organizations and leaders, government and the private sector. It is important that you as an individual do your part to be better prepared to protect yourself, your family and your community.

Individual and Family Preparedness

Protecting yourself and your family when emergencies occur requires planning ahead.

  • Stay Connected/Informed: Register for Notify NYC to receive alerts through Notify NYC, NYC’s official source for information about emergency events and important City services. Registration is free.

  • Make a Family Emergency Plan: Develop a family emergency plan to prepare you and your family for what to do, how to find each other and how to communicate during an emergency. Learn more about how to make a plan.

  • Emergency Supplies: Every household should have a Go Bag in the event you need to evacuate and emergency supplies in the event you need to shelter in place.

  • Prescription Preparedness: Disasters can affect your ability to access medications.

  • Know your neighbors: Check on your neighbors who may be isolated from friends and family, especially those who are elderly, very young and have preexisting medical conditions. One tool for helping neighbors connect and share information is, a private and free social network for you and your community.


Include your children in preparing for emergencies. Below are some helpful hints to get started.

  • Children should know their family name, address and phone numbers
  • Children should know where to meet in case of an emergency
  • Understand the emergency plans for your child’s school or day care facility
  • Provide the facility up-to-date contact information for how to reach you or an authorized relative/friend

Caring for children in times of emergencies

  • Be aware of children’s reaction to stressful and traumatic events, so you can recognize them. Their reactions may vary depending on their age and understanding of what happened.
  • Stay calm, as your reactions affect your children. If they see you extremely worried, it can make them feel afraid and insecure.
  • Talk to your children about what happened, answer their questions in a way that they can understand and let them express their feelings.
  • Reassure your children about their safety and that they are in no way responsible for what happened.
  • Limit their exposure to disturbing news and images by limiting the amount of television they watch.

Resources for children


Seniors and older New Yorkers may have added challenges in an emergency - making a plan and discussing it with your support networks may help. Below are some helpful tips to get started.

  • Create a support network with family, friends, neighbors, and/or caregivers
  • If you receive home-based care, develop a plan with your caregivers in advance
  • If you receive dialysis or other medical treatments, find out more about your provider’s emergency plan
  • If you have a service animal, plan for their needs

Resources for seniors

Persons with Disabilities

If you are a person living with a disability, you should have well-developed plans for how you locate, navigate and access resources for daily living. Planning ahead for a possible emergency can help you remain as independent as possible. Below are some helpful tips to get started. Learn more about how to prepare and how to make a plan.

  • Create a support network with family, friends, neighbors, and/or caregivers to help each other during an emergency
  • If you receive home-based care, develop and discuss your plan with caregivers in advance
  • If you receive home-based care, develop a plan with your caregivers in advance
  • If you have a service animal, plan for their needs

Resources for people with disabilities

Pet Owners

Pets are also part of the family. Make sure that you are preparing for the needs of your pet in a disaster. The following information will help you incorporate your pet’s needs into your family’s emergency plan. Learn more about how to prepare for the needs of your pet.

  • Develop an Emergency Plan for your Pet
  • Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar
  • If you are going to a temporary location, add your temporary location to your pet’s collar
  • If your pet has special medical or dietary requirements, make sure to add them to your emergency supply kit

Get Involved

Learn more about how you can help your neighbors and community prepare for emergencies.

  • NYC Medical Reserve Corps (MRC): The New York City Medical Reserve Corps (NYC MRC) is a trained group of over 7,400 volunteer health professionals ready to respond to health emergencies. New members are welcome!

  • OEM's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): Members support their communities by assisting with emergency education and response. NYC CERT volunteers are trained to support the efforts of New York City's first responders.

  • American Red Cross: Each year, an average of more than 9 million people gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies through American Red Cross training classes, including First Aid, AED and CPR training. Get engaged. Get certified. Get inspired.

Additional Information

Learn more about how to be prepared for emergencies.

Learn how to cope with stressful and traumatic events. The stress from unexpected emergencies can be overwhelming, but if we are mentally and emotionally prepared, we can manage better. Learn more to understand what you can do to cope with disasters and other stressful and traumatic events.

Learn more about how to prepare for emergencies with the NYC OEM Ready New York Guide. Develop a disaster plan and decide where you and your family will meet in the event of an emergency. Gather emergency supplies - some to keep in your home and others to keep in backpacks in case you must leave your home quickly. Finally, learn how to keep informed about the hazards you may face.

Launch Bystander Training Course. Bystanders have the potential to save lives and assist people after an emergency. Bystander Training provides an overview of how to recognize a suspected explosive device and what to expect after an explosion occurs. The training also presents specific steps a bystander can take with regard to reporting suspicious activity, communicating with victims and first responders, identifying psychological trauma, and taking additional training that will prepare bystanders for emergencies.  The course takes approximately one (1) hour to complete.