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Planning & Response: Emergency Planning

NYC Emergency Management develops contingency plans and protocols that guide New York City's response to natural and man-made emergencies, from extreme weather to power outages. The plans focus on three components of a disaster: preparedness, initial response, and recovery. Each plan and protocol:
  • Describes a coordinated, flexible response to the hazard
  • Defines agency roles and responsibilities
  • Guides agencies through key decisions and actions to mitigate effects on people, critical infrastructure, and City operations
The purpose of these plans is to minimize the effect of hazards on New York City and, following a disaster, to return residents to their daily routines as quickly as possible. The agency enlists subject matter experts from all City agencies and other non-City groups to advise on aspects of each plan. This engagement with key stakeholders is essential to creating actionable plans that will be used during emergencies.

When a plan is activated, NYC Emergency Management coordinates the actions of City, state, federal, and nongovernmental agencies, to ensure the plan is effectively carried out. Large-scale citywide emergencies, like a transit strike or coastal storm, can require the collaboration of dozens of agencies and thousands of emergency responders. Smaller incidents, such as localized power outages or water main breaks, may only require a handful of agencies to complete restoration.

NYC Emergency Management takes two approaches to plan development:
  • Hazard Specific: tailored for a specialized response
  • All-Hazards: applicable to any emergency

Below is a sample of the City's emergency plans. These plans are reviewed, tested, and revised as information and resources change, and based on lessons learned from previous incidents.


Natural Hazards Plans
NYC Emergency Management has plans and protocols in place to guide New York City's response to natural hazards. The four key weather emergency plans include the Winter Weather Emergency Plan, Coastal Storm Plan, Heat Emergency Plan, and Flash Flood Emergency Plan.
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Man-Made Hazards Plans
Man-made hazards pose significant risks for New York City and events such as the September 11, 2001 and Boston Marathon attacks demonstrated the importance of incorporating man-made hazards into emergency planning.
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All-Hazards Plans
Emergency preparedness requires attention not just to specific hazards but also to steps that increase preparedness for any type of hazard. The agency also takes an all-hazards approach to preparedness and has plans and protocols that can be applied to any emergency.
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Hazard Mitigation
The FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan profiles natural and man-made hazards that pose a risk to the city and identifies actions New York City can take to reduce the effects from these hazards.
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Continuity of Operations Program
NYC Emergency Management manages the New York City Continuity of Operations Program. The mission of this initiative is to enhance the ability of City agencies to provide vital services to the public during emergencies, while maintaining internal resiliency.
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Regional Plans
NYC Emergency Management manages the NY-NJ-CT-PA Regional Catastrophic Planning Team. The Team is part of the Regional Preparedness Grant Program, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security funded initiative, which enhances regional catastrophic preparedness and continuity of operations in high risk urban areas and their surrounding regions.

The goal of this program is to allow jurisdictions to determine how to improve their security and resilience by fixing shortcomings in existing plans, building regional planning processes and planning communities, and linking operational needs to resources.
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