Press Release

NYC EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT & NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE URGE NEW YORKERS TO PREPARE FOR 2015 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

Know Your Hurricane Evacuation Zone & Know What To Do to Prepare for Hurricanes in NYC

May 27, 2015 — Ahead of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1, New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito and Jason Tuell, Director of the National Weather Service Eastern Region, discussed the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season initial outlook and tips to prepare for hurricane season at PS 24 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. PS 24 was designated as one of the City's 64 hurricane evacuation centers in 2014, and the school's gymnasium featured supplies including cots, wheelchairs, pet carriers, baby formula, and diapers that would be available at the City's hurricane evacuation centers if they were activated for an approaching hurricane this season.

"Before a hurricane threatens New York, be ready. First, find out whether you live in a hurricane evacuation zone," Commissioner Esposito said. "Once you know your zone, know what to do to prepare for a storm — make an emergency plan with your family."

NYC Emergency Management launched a "Know Your Zone" hurricane awareness campaign in 2014 to encourage New Yorkers to find out whether they live in one of the city's six hurricane evacuation zones. New Yorkers can visit NYC.gov/knowyourzone to find their evacuation zone designation and to get more information about how to prepare for hurricanes. The Know Your Zone campaign is supported with a new hurricane preparedness video, updated advertising for the 2015 hurricane season (radio testimonials and ads on bus shelters, online, and in newspapers), social media engagement (#knowyourzone), and community outreach (postcards and hurricane preparedness presentations in communities throughout the city). Know Your Zone also has a dedicated web portal — NYC.gov/knowyourzone — with information about the city's hurricane evacuation zones, hurricane hazards, and tips to prepare for storms.

Through the Know Your Zone campaign, NYC Emergency Management aims to reach the roughly three million New Yorkers living within the city's hurricane evacuation zones, which were revised in 2013. Hurricane evacuation zones are based on coastal flood risk resulting from storm surge (the "dome" of ocean water that is pushed ashore by the winds and low barometric pressure of a hurricane), the geography of the city's low-lying neighborhoods, and the accessibility of these neighborhoods by bridges and roads. The City may order residents who live in a zone to evacuate depending on a hurricane's forecasted strength, track, and storm surge. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so as directed.

An independent study conducted earlier this year shows that while roughly half of New York City residents have taken a basic step to prepare for emergencies, far fewer have made preparations to be ready for a hurricane. Only 16% know their level of risk for a hurricane and whether they live in a hurricane evacuation zone; and less than one in five New Yorkers has a plan for where to go if they are ordered to evacuate ahead of a hurricane.

While New York is most at risk for tropical storms and hurricanes from August to October, residents should take key steps to prepare for the start of hurricane season:

  • Know your zone — Find out whether you live in one of the city's six hurricane evacuation zones.
  • Know what to do — Make a plan so you know what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate during an emergency.
  • Stay informed — Sign up to receive emergency updates and information online and via e-mail, text, phone, and Twitter through the City's free Notify NYC program.

In preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, NYC Emergency Management released the 2015 edition of the "Ready New York: Hurricanes and New York City" guide, available in print and in 13 languages and audio format. The guide offers instructions for preparing a disaster plan, and features a map of the City's six hurricane evacuation zones and a list of hurricane evacuation centers in all five boroughs. Visit NYC.gov/knowyourzone to download the guide, or call 311 to request a copy. In the coming weeks, NYC Emergency Management will mail guides and offer Ready New York hurricane presentations to community board meetings, precinct councils, civic organizations, faith-based organizations, schools, senior centers, libraries, and businesses in the city's most vulnerable areas.

For additional tips and information, or to request a Ready New York hurricane presentation, visit the Know Your Zone website: NYC.gov/knowyourzone or call 311.

CONTACT:
Nancy Silvestri/Omar Bourne (718) 422-4888