Printer Friendly
Translate Page
Sm Med Lg
Get Adobe Reader
Get Prepared: Make A Plan


Consider developing 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 will reunite after a disaster. Identify two places to meet: one right outside your home and another outside your neighborhood, such as a library, community center, or place of worship.
  • Identify all possible exit routes from your home and neighborhood.
  • Designate an out-of-state friend or relative that 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 and your family communicate. Keep in mind that cell phones may not function during and immediately following a disaster due to high volume of activity; however, text messages can often get through, even if you can't make calls on your cell phone. What's more, if cell phones aren’t functional, using a landline or a payphone (to call your out-of-state contact) is a good alternative.
  • Plan for everybody's needs, especially seniors, people with disabilities, children, non-English speakers, and pets.
  • Ensure that household members have a copy of your household disaster plan and emergency contact information to keep in their wallets and backpacks.
  • Practice your plan with all household members.
When developing your family's disaster plan, you should assemble and make copies of vital contact information for each family member. Use Ready New York's Emergency Reference Card (PDF) to capture this information.

Contacting the City in the Event of an Emergency
Call 911:
  • When you are in immediate danger or witness a crime in progress.
  • For a serious injury or medical condition.
  • Any other situation needing urgent attention.
  • Do NOT call 911 for non-emergencies or to report a power outage (to allow telephone capacity for emergency calls).
Call 311 (TTY 212-504-4115):
  • When you need access to non-emergency services or information about City government programs. You can also contact 311 online.
  • Do NOT call 311 for emergencies.
Emergency Telephone Tips:
  • If you call 911, specify the type of emergency (fire, medical, police) and be prepared to answer questions. During a medical emergency, turn a light on so that emergency responders can find your home.
  • During emergencies, please use the telephone only when absolutely necessary to keep the lines free for emergency calls. If you have broadband Internet access, use
  • If you are hearing impaired, you can request police, fire, and medical assistance from public pay phones and/or emergency call boxes. For more information, visit the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities online.
If the 911 system becomes unavailable for any reason, call the fire department dispatcher and emergency medical service or your local police precinct.

Transit Safety
A disaster or emergency can happen anywhere, even while on a train, bus or subway. When traveling around New York City, it's important to be familiar with safety information.

MTA Customer Safety Information (MTA)
PATH Safety & Security (PATH)
NJ Transit Safety Tips (NJ Transit)

More Resources
Making New Yorkers Stronger: Individuals and Families (NYC Department of Health)