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Your Readiness Could Save Lives

Through my time in the emergency management field, I have learned that emergencies often uncover pre-existing, systematic issues and most drastically affect underserved communities. Studies show that those with more financial and social capital ultimately fare better after emergencies. It makes sense: If you have another home or a friend that can offer a place to stay, a car to transport you, or money for lodging, all of these would certainly be helpful in an evacuation scenario, for example. To highlight the point that sometimes emergencies do discriminate, you may be surprised to know that there are more fatalities from heat waves every year than any other natural disaster in the United States. People without air conditioning, outdoor workers or people with preexisting medical conditions are most susceptible to the dangers of extreme heat. Emergencies highlight our vulnerabilities and remind us that it is before the disaster that we must work to empower and support our communities in most need, not just when we hear about a disaster, but during “blue skies”, as those in the emergency management field like to call it.

September is National Preparedness Month and falls right in the middle of Atlantic Hurricane Season which starts June 1st and ends November 30th. One of the best ways to ensure resources will be available to support those most in need is to prepare yourself. Are you prepared? If you’re in New York City, here are three simple steps toward preparedness that you can take today.


1. Know your zone

There are three million New Yorkers that live in a hurricane zone – do you know your zone? You should know whether you live in a zone and would be at potential risk for an evacuation if a hurricane is expected.


2. Sign up for Notify NYC

The City’s official emergency notification system is Notify NYC – are you signed up? If not, you should do so ASAP.  Notify shares information about emergencies and other incidents based on your zip code and you can access alerts through the app, email, text, Twitter, and calls based on your preferences. It is all tailored to provide local, zip code specific information relevant to you. Alerts are also available in various languages including American Sign Language.


3. Make a plan

Talk to your community about how you would support each other in the event of an emergency.  Do you have your important documents and copies saved in a safe place? Do you have cash in small bills, should you need cash for a couple of days? How about a written list of your medications? Where will you meet your loved ones if communications are down? More tips for making a plan can be found here.  


Do you have other tips or ideas about preparedness? Comment below.

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