Information for Individuals and Families

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.

Preparedness Guide

Response Guide

  • Please visit the Public Health Threats page for frequently asked questions on Response Guides to several potential emergency incidents.

Individual and Family Preparedness

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


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 During 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 (PDF).

  • 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

People 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

Coastal Storm Preparedness for Durable Medical Equipment Users, Individuals with Limited Mobility and Dialysis Patients

If you or a family member depend on life-sustaining medical equipment, have limited mobility or receive dialysis, there are additional measures you should take to prepare for a coastal storm.

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 Emergency Management'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 Resources

More Information

Learn more about how to be prepared for emergencies.