Greetings AWS Partners,
The Advance Warning System (AWS) disseminates information to New Yorkers with disabilities and access and functional needs through their service providers. Please share the important information below with your clients and other agencies or individuals to empower them to make informed decisions:
The National Weather Service has issued a citywide Blizzard Warning, which is in effect from Monday, Jan. 26, at 1 PM, until Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 12 AM. There are significant hazards for residents and changes to city services described below. The current forecast calls for 18 to 24 inches of snow, with locally higher amounts possible and snowfall rates of up to 2 to 4 inches per hour late Monday night into Tuesday morning. Northern winds of 20 to 30 MPH are forecast, with gusts of up to 55 MPH possible. Temperatures in the lower 20s are expected, with visibilities of one quarter mile or less at times. A Coastal Flood Warning has been issued for parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx during overnight hours. A Coastal Flood Advisory is also in effect for parts of Manhattan and Staten Island overnight as well.
Streets and highways will be closed to all but emergency vehicle travel at 11 PM Monday night until further notice. Only vehicles related to emergency services, vital City services and delivery of vital supplies will be permitted on streets until the order is lifted. Policies for service-provider travel are in development. Any service provider driving on official business should carry official identification. They should state they are providing essential services. New Yorkers are also urged not to walk or venture outside once the worst of the storm hits this evening. MTA will suspend all bus, commuter-rail, and subway service at 11 PM. Staten Island and East River Ferry service are operating on a normal schedule until further notice, but modified service is possible as conditions worsen. Paratransit will suspend Access-A-Ride service from 10 PM tonight through at least 6 AM Tuesday. Clients were advised earlier today to reschedule appointments; call 911 for any life-threatening issues.
Schools were open today but will be closed on Tuesday (January 27). Regents exams scheduled for Tuesday will be rescheduled for Thursday. After-school programs, adult education programs and PSAL activities are canceled today and tomorrow.
The Department of Sanitation has 12-hour shifts of 2,400 workers each on duty, with 1,800 collection trucks outfitted with plows (up from usual 1,500) and another 500 salt spreaders, also outfitted with plows. City agencies have dedicated a further 250 pieces of equipment, for a total of 2,550 vehicles now dedicated to the effort. Plowing progress can be followed via the PlowNYC feature at nyc.gov/plownyc.
911 should only be used in case of emergencies. All other snow related inquiries and reports should be made to 311. FDNY has added 110 additional ambulances to its operations this afternoon-bringing its total to 380 on duty. The agency is also adding a fifth firefighter to each engine company. More than 500 additional personnel will support operations over the next 24 hours.
Heat and Hot Water
Any tenant lacking heat and hot water should immediately call 311. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has crews responding.
Code Blue protocols are in effect. No one seeking shelter in New York City will be denied. Anyone who sees a homeless individual or family out in the cold should call 311 immediately and an outreach team will be dispatched to assist them.
For information and updates related to weather and travel conditions, visit NYC.gov/severeweather. New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City's free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can receive phone calls, text messages, and/or emails alerts about traffic and transit disruptions and other emergencies. To sign up for Notify NYC, call 311, visit NYC.gov/notifynyc, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.
Please inform your clients of the adverse weather conditions and encourage them to alter plans as necessary to stay safe. Please also review the cold weather safety tips below.
Cold weather is also dangerous for pets. The ASPCA� (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals�) advises people to keep cats indoors, especially at night when temperatures drop, and take measures to keep dogs warm, dry and safe from anti-freeze and sidewalk salt. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's paws and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice, as they can ingest salt, anti-freeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals by licking his paws. Paw pads may also become irritated from snow or encrusted ice. Pets should be inside the home year round, but it is especially important during the cold weather. Pets who normally live outdoors should be brought inside as protection against the harsh conditions. Outdoor time for dogs to relieve themselves should be limited, walks should be kept as brief as possible, and animals should always wear proper ID tags. There is no distinct time limit for how long dogs should be outside to go to the bathroom; it depends on the dog (breed, size, age, health conditions etc.).
COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS
Tips for Staying Warm
Exposure to cold can cause life-threatening health conditions. Avoid serious conditions, such as frostbite and hypothermia, by keeping warm.
� Wear a hat, hood, or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head.
� Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth.
� Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
� Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it.
Seniors, infants, the homeless, and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk. If you know of friends, neighbors, or family members who may be at risk, check on them to make sure their heat is working and that they are okay.
Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite:
Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition where body temperature is abnormally low. Symptoms may include shivering, slurred speech, sluggishness, drowsiness, unusual behavior, confusion, dizziness, and shallow breathing.
Frostbite is a serious injury to a body part frozen from exposure to the cold. It most often affects extremities like fingers and toes or exposed areas such as ears or parts of the face. Redness and pain may be the first warning of frostbite. Other symptoms include numbness or skin that appears pale, firm, or waxy.
Provide first aid:
� If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, bring him or her someplace warm and call 911.
� If medical help is not immediately available, re-warm the person, by removing any damp clothing and covering them with warm blankets.
What to Do if You Lose Heat or Hot Water at Home
Any New York City tenant without adequate heat or hot water should first speak with the building owner, manager, or superintendent. If the problem is not corrected, tenants should call 311. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will take measures to ensure your heat and hot water is restored.
SAFE HOME HEATING TIPS
Improper use of portable heating equipment can lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Take precautions to ensure you are heating your home safely.
Fire safety tips:
� Use only portable heating equipment that is approved for indoor use.
� Keep combustible materials, including furniture, drapes, and carpeting at least three feet away from the heat source. NEVER drape clothes over a space heater to dry.
� Always keep an eye on heating equipment. Never leave children alone in the room where a space heater is running. Turn it off when you are unable to closely monitor it.
� Be careful not to overload electrical circuits.
� Make sure you have a working smoke detector in every room. Check and change batteries often.
Carbon monoxide safety tips:
� Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and check them regularly to make sure the batteries are working. NYC law requires owners to provide and install at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm within 15 feet of the primary entrance to each sleeping room.
� Make sure your heating system is kept clean and properly vented; have worn or defective parts replaced.
� Kerosene heaters and propane space heaters are dangerous and illegal in New York City.
� Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven.
� Never use any gas-powered appliance, charcoal grill, or hibachi indoors.
� Never run a car or truck in a garage or enclosed area. Clear exhaust pipes before starting a car or truck after it snows.
� The most common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning is headache. However, symptoms may also include dizziness, chest pain, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, people can become increasingly irritable, agitated and confused, eventually becoming lethargic and lapsing into unconsciousness.
� If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, open windows, leave your home, get to fresh air immediately, and call 911.
For more information about cold weather safety and how you can prepare for emergencies call 311 or visit NYC.gov/EmergencyManagement.
NYC Emergency Management will continue to monitor this weather system, and the agency's Human Services Unit will keep you updated as the situation develops. If you have any questions or comments during this time, please do not hesitate to contact the Human Services Unit. If you need assistance immediately contact OEM Watch Command at 718-422-8700.
NYC Emergency Management Human Services Unit:
Human Services email distribution list: email@example.com
Director of Human Services
Special Needs Liaison
Special Needs Coordinator
Disaster Housing Recovery Program Manager
Human Services Emergency Preparedness Specialist
Human Services Emergency Preparedness Manager
Director of Human Resources
Interagency Training Coordinator