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NYC Hazards: Hurricane Safety Tips

hurricane storm surge

When a Hurricane Watch is Announced
  • Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult when winds reach tropical storm force, watches are issued 48 hours before tropical storm-force winds are predicted to occur.
  • Before a hurricane, residents should find out whether they live in one of New York City's hurricane evacuation zones. If ordered to evacuate, do so as directed. Use public transportation if possible. Public transportation may shut down hours before the storm.
    • Evacuees will need to relocate farther inland with friends or family or seek an evacuation center outside the storm surge area. During hurricane season, residents should think carefully about where they would go if evacuation instructions were issued.
  • Before, during or after a hurricane, residents can call 311 for information.
    Learn more about hurricane evacuation

Protecting Yourself and Your Property
  • Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days without help or emergency services. Prepare a Go Bag and an emergency supply kit. Assume that many of the streets and stores in your neighborhood will be closed. A watch may be followed by disruptions to electricity, gas, water or telephone service.
  • Check on friends, relatives, and neighbors, especially older adults and people with disabilities or health conditions, and help them prepare and evacuate if needed. Contact family members outside your household to coordinate and inform each other about preparations. Avoid separating your immediate family. Consider developing a disaster plan.
  • Bring inside loose, lightweight objects, such as lawn furniture and garbage cans. Anchor objects that will be unsafe to bring inside, like gas grills or propane tanks. Turn off propane tanks.
  • If you own a vehicle and/or a generator, top them off with fuel. If you own a boat, moor or move it to a safe place well before the storm causes maritime conditions to deteriorate.
  • Close windows and outside doors securely.
  • Get information on how to prepare buildings for weather emergencies, natural disasters, and power outages
  • Place valuables into waterproof containers or plastic bags.
  • Take out extra cash.

Prepare for Water and Sewer Disruptions
  • To keep perishable food cold, freeze water in plastic jugs and use in freezer or coolers. Fill up other emergency water containers.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to a colder setting. If you lose power, items that need refrigeration will stay cooler for a longer period.
  • Clean jugs, bottles and other containers. Scrub bathtubs thoroughly, sponge and swab with regular, unscented liquid chlorine bleach, then rinse. Let the tub and other containers dry.
  • If you live in a high-rise, you may lose water service if the power goes out. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
  • If you have a pool, do not drain it completely. Instead, drop the level by one or two feet. Submerge outdoor furniture and pool equipment in the pool. Turn off electricity to pool pump. Add extra chlorine to compensate for heavy rains.
  • Keep five-gallon buckets with tight-fitting lids for use as emergency toilets. Line each bucket with a heavy-duty plastic trash bag.
    Learn more about food supply preparation for an emergency

Prepare for Power Disruptions
  • Do not use candles or kerosene lamps as light sources, as they can pose a fire hazard. Instead, keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries on hand.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary, then close quickly.
  • In the event that you need to evacuate your home, unplug appliances to prevent damage in case of an electrical power surge.
  • Authorities will instruct you if you should turn off utilities.
    Learn more about power disruptions

More Resources
Learn more coastal storm-related health and safety tips (NYC Department of Health)