Did you know…that you can be prepared for an emergency?

Meredith Gemeiner April 15th, 2011

Did you know...that you can be prepared for an emergency?

What is emergency preparedness?

Emergency preparedness is being able to respond to an emergency in amatter of seconds. You could be directed to leave your home/apartment byan official or there could be a fire or gas leak. There are many reasons why you have to be quick on your feet in an emergency.

Tips on how to prepare your family in an emergency:

  1. If you have to leave your home, you should have two places for yourfamily to meet. One should be close to your home and the other shouldbe outside of your neighborhood. Everyone in your family/householdshould know where these meeting places are.
  2. Inform someone outside of your household of these meeting places incase your local contacts get separated.
  3. Every member of your family and/or close friends should have an Emergency Reference Card.You should place a copy of this card on your refrigerator, in your wallet and give a copy to the contact people listed on the card.

           This card should include:

  • Contact information of family and/or friends to call in case of an emergency.
  • Contact of a person who does not live in New York State.

    4.   The address of your two meeting places. Every member of your family,including your pet, should have a backpack, also known as a "GoBag,"with emergency items in it in case you have to leave yourhome.

Each bag should include:

  • Copies of your important papers
  • Photos of your household members
  • List of medications that you take
  • A copy of your emergency reference cardExtra set of house and car keys
  • Battery Powered Radio and Flashlight with extra batters
  • Cash ( single dollar bills) and a Metro Card
  • Water and non-perishable foods (pop top cans of meat, fish.Breakfast bars, snack bars, energy drink, etc.
  • Personal items that could reduce stress (books, crosswordpuzzles, cards)
  • Whistle
  • Small first aid kit

Now remember Get Ready by making a plan,Get Set by being prepared and Go with your go bag with emergency items.

Keep in mind that 311 is a good source for information. You can also sign upfor Notify NYC, which is a text based, phone and email public messagingservice that can give you information. You can sign up for this by going to www.NYC.gov/notifynyc.

This article was written by Deborah Henry, a volunteer for CommunityService Society/Retired and Senior Volunteer Program's EmergencyPreparedness Speakers Bureau (EPSB). In partnership with the American RedCross in Greater New York, RSVP trains volunteers to present throughout thefive boroughs of New York City on how to best prepare for an emergency.

If you are interested in volunteering for RSVP's EPSB program or know of agroup of people who would like to receive a presentation, please call RSVPUnit Supervisor, Bobbie Futrell at(212) 614-5386 or email

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