The City has made some changes in emergency preparedness for people with disabilities since we won our court case in 2014. Their website has more information to address some issues for New Yorkers with disabilities; the plan for canvassing buildings now includes training for canvassers on working with people with disabilities; more evacuation centers and shelters are accessible (see link below) and more accessible transportation options should be available during a City-ordered evacuation.
The City’s website includes tips on preparing for emergencies or disasters. We would encourage you to review this information – some tips may be helpful for your planning.
If you don’t have access to a computer, you can contact 311 and ask for printed versions. If that doesn’t work, please call us at 212-674-2300 and tell us you couldn’t get a print copy of the City’s E-prep information online.
You can take some action:
- If you live in a high rise building or if you depend on elevators, find out if your building has a plan for people with disabilities in case of power outages or if elevators cannot be used in evacuating.
- If you have neighbors or family members you trust, you may want to work out a plan together for what to do if the power goes out or if an evacuation is ordered.
- You may want to find out where the closest accessible shelter is and then make a transportation plan in case you have to evacuate to a shelter.
- Know your rights. At an accessible shelter, you should be able to charge your equipment; refrigerate your medications if necessary; have an accessible cot; be able to use the bathrooms; be able to get information in alternate formats and to get other accommodations, including ASL interpretation. Guide and service animals can be with you at any shelter. Each accessible shelter has a disability and functional needs coordinator to help with accommodations.
- See if there is a community group or community board in your area working on E-prep issues and find out what they are doing.
- If you have comments on the City’s plan or their tips for New Yorkers with disabilities, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-674-2300 and leave a message asking to speak to someone about emergency preparedness.