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NYers Urged to Prepare During Severe Weather Awareness Week


Monday was the start of Severe Weather Awareness Week in New York State, a week designed to encourage New Yorkers to take steps to prepare themselves and their households for severe weather. The Governor reminded New Yorkers that one of the best ways to stay prepared is by taking a New York State Citizens Preparedness Corps course and hearing directly from emergency management experts on the steps individuals and families should take to stay safe during severe weather. New Yorkers should sign up for NY-Alert the State’s free emergency alert system, to receive weather and other timely emergency alerts.

The New York State Citizen Preparedness Corps (CPC), administered by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and the New York National Guard (DMNA), was established in 2014 to train everyday New Yorkers how to prepare for emergencies and disasters, respond immediately and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions. Approximately 388,000 New Yorkers have taken CPC training in community settings throughout the State since 2014. 

During a CPC training, attendees learn about the four steps to preparedness that each New Yorker should know and take action to complete before the next disaster strikes

  1. Develop a plan for you and your family at home, school, work and outdoors. Identify a safe place to take shelter and know what actions to take when a warning is issued. Consider pets when planning for an emergency.
  2. Build a kit of emergency supplies to last at least 10 days. Include flashlights, weather radio, and extra batteries. You should have one kit each for your home and your vehicle. Plan for any medical needs your family may have. Keep emergency supplies for pets.
  3. Stay tuned to TV and radio stations that broadcast Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages and follow local emergency orders when issued. Receive emergency information direct to your computer or cell phone by subscribing to NY Alert at alert.ny.gov, a free service that provides you with critical emergency information when you need it most.
  4. Visit your local emergency management office to learn more about how to protect you and your family. Consider volunteering with organizations such as the American Red Cross , New York Cares or the Salvation Army.

The New York State Office of Emergency Management and its Watch Center is staffed year-round to monitor weather and other emergency or disaster-related events across the state.  They work with local, state, and federal government entities, including the NWS and SWRCC, to provide accurate and timely information to emergency responders and the public regarding potentially severe weather and how to prepare.

Severe Weather Safety Tips

Flash Flooding

  • Never attempt to drive on a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
  • If water begins to rise rapidly around you in your car, abandon the vehicle immediately.
  • Do not underestimate the power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car, and water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.


 Know the difference between a Watch and a Warning: A Watch means storms are possible but a Warning means that a severe storm was spotted and is expected to move through your area soon.

  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.  Go to safe shelter immediately like a sturdy building. If sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep windows up.
  • Get out of boats and away from water.
  • Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Use phones only in an emergency.
  • Do not take a bath or shower.
  • Turn off air conditioners — power surges from lightning can overload compressors.
  • Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible.
  • Do not attempt to drive to safety — most flash flooding deaths occur in automobiles.
  • If outdoors, find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles.
  • If you are in the woods, take shelter under short trees.
  • If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stands on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet; place your hands on your knees with your head between them; make yourself the smallest target possible; and minimize your contact with the ground.


  • Follow the 30-30 rule: If the time between when you see a flash of lightning and hear thunder is 30 seconds or less, the lightning is close enough to hit you. Seek shelter immediately. After the last flash of lightning, wait 30 minutes before leaving your shelter.
  • Lightning hits the tallest object. If you are above a tree line, quickly get below it and crouch down if you are in an exposed area.
  • If you can’t get to a shelter, stay away from trees. If there is no shelter, crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.


  • If outdoors and a Tornado Warning is issued, seek shelter immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head.
  • If at home or in a small building, go to the basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of the building. Stay away from windows. Closets, bathrooms, and other interior rooms offer the best protection. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.
  • If in a school, hospital, or shopping center, go to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from large open areas and windows. Do not go outside to your car.
  • If in a high-rise building, go to an interior small room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Do not use elevators – use stairs instead.


Disaster Supplies 

Have disaster supplies on hand, including:

  •  Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Essential medicines
  • Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards

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