Information about evacuations

In a disaster, you may be asked to evacuate your home or workplace. City officials issue evacuation instructions when there is a serious threat to public safety; you and your family should heed those instructions to stay safe. Find out now which evacuation zone your home, office, or frequently visited places are in by using their online hurricane map.

The Mayor can issue two different kinds of evacuation instructions:

  • EVACUATION RECOMMENDATION: The Mayor may recommend that certain residents take steps to evacuate voluntarily. A recommendation might be issued to cover residents of certain zones, communities, or building types. An evacuation recommendation could also be issued for the benefit of people with mobility challenges who need extra time to evacuate.

  • EVACUATION ORDER: The Mayor may order residents of specific zones or communities to leave their homes for the protection of their health and welfare in the event of an approaching storm.

Where should I go?

  • Stay with family or friends who live outside the impacted evacuation zone.
  • If you do not have a safe alternative place to go, head to an evacuation center. From there, you will be taken to a shelter staffed by City workers trained to keep things safe and running smoothly.
  • Shelter sites change based on the emergency, so stay tuned to the local news, access, call 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115), or contact 311 online for the latest information.
  • Pets in carriers are allowed on MTA subways, buses, and trains. When an evacuation order is declared, pets too large for carriers will also be allowed, provided those animals are muzzled and controlled on a sturdy leash no longer than four feet. The City will announce when this policy is in effect.
  • Pets are allowed at all City evacuation centers. Please bring supplies to care for your pet, including food, leashes, a carrier, and medication. Bring supplies to clean up after your animal. Only legal pets will be allowed.
  • You can reach all of the City’s evacuation centers using public transportation. Plan your trip with the MTA’s online tool Tripplanner

What if I live in a high-rise building?

Residents of high-rise apartment buildings may face special risks from severe weather events, even if they live outside the evacuation zone, and should:

  • Note the nearest emergency exit.
  • Know of at least one alternative exit if your first choice is blocked.
  • Know how many doors there are between your room and the emergency exits. Know the count going in both directions down the hall from your door.
  • Take cover under a desk or table if debris is falling.
  • Stay away from file cabinets, bookshelves, or other objects that may fall.
  • Turn your back to windows and glass.
  • Move away from exterior walls.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Stay to the right when going down stairwells to allow emergency crews to come up.

Should I go to the roof and wait to be rescued there?

No. While you may have seen dramatic pictures and videos of helicopter rescues from the roof of a burning building, this is an extraordinarily dangerous procedure for the buildings’ occupants, pilots, and firefighters who may be in the building.

Can I use the elevator?

No. It is never appropriate to use the elevator during a fire or similar building emergency, even in a two-story building.

What should I do if I’m in a wheelchair or have other disabilities that affect mobility?

If it is a life safety situation (such as a fire or immediate medical emergency), individuals should call 911.

In the event there is a coastal storm and an evacuation order has been issued, individuals can contact NYC 311 for evacuation assistance if they have no other option to evacuate safely.

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. Please visit NYC Emergency Management for more information regarding evacuation options for people with disabilities, access and functional needs.

Additional Resources