Older Adults

Two seniors hold up a Ready NY guide

Consider the following recommendations to ensure your plan best meets your needs:

  • Create an emergency support network: You don't want to go through an emergency alone. Ask at least two people to be in your network — family members, friends, neighbors, caregivers, coworkers, or members of community groups. Remember, you will help each other in emergencies. People in your emergency support network should:
    • Stay in contact during an emergency.
    • Check on you immediately after an emergency.
    • Keep spare sets of your keys.
    • Know where your emergency supply kit is kept.
    • Have copies of certain important documents, such as information about medication and dosage, equipment, and other needs.
    • Learn about your personal needs and how to help you in an emergency.
  • If you receive home-based care (e.g., home care attendant, home health aide, visiting nurse service), include caregivers in developing your plan and familiarize yourself with your homecare agency's emergency plan.
  • If you have a pet or service animal, also plan for his or her needs (i.e., temporary relocation, transportation, etc.).
  • Always stock water and nonperishable food in your home. During some emergencies, you might be advised to remain inside (shelter in place) for an unspecified length of time.
  • If you take medication, make a list of the medications you take, why you take them, and their dosages. Remember: emergencies can affect your ability to access medications. Don't wait until the last minute to refill your prescription medications.
  • If you receive dialysis or other medical treatments, ask about your provider's emergency plan, including where your back-up site is located.
  • If you rely on medical equipment that requires electric power:
    • Contact your medical supply company for information regarding a back-up power source, such as a battery.
    • Follow the manufacturer's directions when installing and using the equipment.
    • Check with local fire and building officials for regulations governing generator and fuel use.
    • Ask your utility company if the medical equipment qualifies you to be listed as a life-sustaining equipment customer.
    • If you or anyone in your home depends on electrically-powered life-sustaining medical equipment (such as a ventilator or cardiac device), receives dialysis or has limited mobility, there are specific steps you should take to prepare for a coastal storm. Learn more from the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
  • If you rely on oxygen, talk to your vendor about emergency replacements.
  • Take time to plan on how you will communicate with friends or emergency workers in an emergency. During an emergency, your normal way of communicating may be affected by changes in environment, noise or confusion. Know how and what you will need to communicate during an emergency.
  • If you are sight or hearing impaired, you can request emergency police, fire, and medical assistance by calling 911. For more information, visit the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities online.

Ready New York: My Emergency Plan

Ready New York: My Emergency Plan is a workbook designed to assist New Yorkers with disabilities or access and functional needs with creating an emergency plan. My Emergency Plan walks users through establishing a support network, capturing important health information, planning for evacuation, and gathering emergency supplies. First responders or caregivers can also use the workbook to help people during an emergency.

Stay Informed

One of the best ways to be prepared for an emergency is to stay informed. In addition to the resources below, you can stay informed by watching local news and weather on TV, or listening to local radio.

Notify NYC

Notify NYC, the City of New York's official, free emergency communications program, will alert New Yorkers if there is an emergency nearby.

Register for emergency notifications by getting the free mobile application, visiting NYC.gov/notifynyc, contacting 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter. (Notify NYC messages are available through many formats, including email, text messages, telephone, the Notify NYC website, RSS, Twitter, and American Sign Language videos.)

Ready NYC App

The Ready NYC mobile application for Apple and Android gives you the power to be prepared by allowing you to make and store an emergency plan on your mobile device, and share your plan with your support network.

Advance Warning System

The Advance Warning System is designed to disseminate hazard and emergency information to agencies and organizations that serve people with disabilities or others with access and functional needs throughout New York City. The program is managed by NYC Emergency Management and the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

Evacuation and Sheltering

Transportation Considerations

Now is the time to call 311 to locate accessible transportation options. These can include the MTA subways and buses, Access-A-Ride, and accessible taxis. To locate additional information about accessible transportation for people with disabilities access and functional needs, visit www.mta.info.

  • According to the MTA, there are nearly 6,000 accessible buses that provide service and 109 accessible subway stations. Accessible subway stations include features such as elevators, ramps, and tactile warning strips.
  • Those who are unable to travel on the MTA subways and buses can use Access-A-Ride if they qualify. This service is a shared-ride service and can transport individuals door-to-door.
  • Accessible taxis are available through the accessible dispatch system, and there are five ways to book an accessible taxi. To find out more information about these services, visit the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities online.
  • If these options do not meet your needs and you require immediate assistance, call 911.

Evacuation Transportation for People with Disabilities and Others with Access or Functional Needs

When the Mayor has issued an evacuation order due to a coastal storm or hurricane, people with disabilities or other access or functional needs, who have no other options to evacuate safely, can request transportation assistance.

Depending on your need, you will either be taken to:

  • An accessible evacuation center in an accessible vehicle, OR
  • A hospital outside of the evacuation zone via ambulance.

You may not be able to request transportation to a specific address.

Specific instructions about which areas of the City should be evacuated will be communicated through various channels. If you live or are staying in an evacuation zone and your zone is ordered to evacuate, leave as soon as you can.

Use public transportation to evacuate if possible. When considering your transportation route, be aware that public transportation, including MTA's Access-A-Ride, may shut down hours before the storm arrives. Include alternate transportation options in your evacuation plan, such as taxi and car services, as well as neighbors, friends and relatives who drive vehicles.

Sheltering Considerations

When an emergency strikes, it is important to seek safe shelter. Some emergencies may require you to shelter in place, while other emergencies may require evacuation. Be ready to explain to first responders and emergency workers that you need to evacuate and how you will need to be assisted.

  • In the event of a coastal storm or hurricane, the City may open evacuation centers for those are unable to stay with family or friends outside the evacuation zone.* For a list of evacuation centers near you, including accessible evacuation centers, visit the Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder online at NYC.gov/knowyourzone, or call 311.
    • *Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you are able to stay with them. Check and see if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If they have symptoms or people at higher risk in their home, make other arrangements.
  • If you must go to an evacuation center or shelter, remember to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protecting yourself and family from COVID-19.
  • Include items in your Go Bag that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, including hand sanitizer, and face coverings for each person.*
    • *Face coverings should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • An alternate source of electric power, such as a battery back-up system.
  • If using a generator be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, local building codes, and ensure that it's in a well-ventilated area.
  • Include variety of telephone options (land-line, cordless, cellular) if possible.
  • Customers with life-sustaining equipment registered with providers will receive priority during outages, but if it takes more than a couple of days to restore power, it is important to be independent and have a back-up source of electric power, such as a battery. Before the power goes out, make sure to charge all medical and communications devices.
  • If you rely on oxygen, talk to your vendor about emergency replacements. In the event that you do not have access to oxygen, call 911 for immediate assistance.
  • If you or anyone in your home depends on electrically-powered life-sustaining medical equipment (such as a ventilator or cardiac device), receives dialysis or has limited mobility, there are specific steps you should take to prepare for a coastal storm. Learn more from the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Plan for Power Disruptions

Ask your utility company whether your medical equipment qualifies you to be listed as a life-sustaining equipment customer (LSE). For those who rely on electric-powered medical equipment at home (e.g., respirators, dialysis machines, apnea monitors), please register with your utility provider so you can be contacted in the event of an emergency.

While registering with your utility provider is an important preparedness step, people who use electric-powered medical equipment should have an emergency plan. Consider the following:

Depending on your provider, other programs may be available if you need extra time to pay your utility bill due to medical conditions.

If utilities are included in your rent, you are still eligible to register for this program directly with the utility company.

Register with Your Utility Provider

  • If you are a Con Edison customer (serving all of NYC except the Rockaways), you may register by calling 1-800-752-6633 (TTY: 1-800-642-2308). For more information, visit Con Edison's special services website.
  • If you are a PSEG Long Island customer (serving the Rockaways), you may register by calling 1-800-490-0025 (TTY: 1-631-755-6660). For more information, visit PSEG Long Island online.
  • If you are a National Grid NYC customer (serving Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island), call 718-643-4050 (or dial 711 for New York State Relay Service). Customers can also visit National Grid online.
  • If you are a National Grid Long Island customer (serving the Rockaways), call 1-800-930-5003. Customers can also visit National Grid online.

For additional information on planning for disabilities, access, or functional needs, visit the Get Prepared: Disabilities, Access & Functional Needs page.

More Resources

Ready New York: My Emergency Plan