The Advance Warning System (AWS) disseminates information to people with disabilities and others with 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 winter season brings the possibility of winter weather emergencies. Advance Warning System partners should prepare staff and clients for the upcoming winter season. To learn more about winter weather safety, visit the Health Department’s interactive online infographic.

 People at greatest risk of being affected by extreme cold and other winter weather-related dangers may include those who:

●    Are homeless and not in shelters

●    Drink heavily or use drugs

●    Live in a home with inadequate or no heat and:

○    Are 65 years and older

○    Are infants

○    Have certain medical conditions, such as heart and lung disease, high blood pressure or diabetes

○    Have serious mental health conditions, developmental disabilities, or dementia

○    Have physical disabilities that limit mobility

Prepare for the cold and winter weather before it arrives to stay safe and healthy throughout the season.  

●    Check the carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are working.

●    Make sure you have warm clothing you can layer, as well as gloves, a hat and sturdy shoes and/or boots.

●    Talk to your at-risk friends and family and make a plan to support them when the weather turns cold. 

●    Review the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite to quickly identify and respond effectively by calling 911. 

 If you do not have heat or hot water:  

●    Tell your building superintendent, property manager, or owner right away. Call 311 if the problem is not fixed quickly.

●    Go to a warm place, such as a friend or family member's house. If you stay home, wear layered, loose-fitting clothing. 

 Until your heat is fixed, heat your home safely:  

●    Never use a stove, oven or charcoal grill to heat your home. Kerosene heaters and propane space heaters are illegal in NYC.

●    Place space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire, such as curtains or tablecloths. Do not hang clothes over a space heater to dry.

 Need help paying your heating bills? Check your eligibility for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to help pay for heating and maintenance costs:  

 The 2023-2024 Regular HEAP benefit is open. Eligibility and benefits are based on income, household size, the primary heating source, and must have a household member who is under six years old, 60 years or older, or permanently disabled. Apply in person through HEAP Local District Contact or visit 

 The 2023-2024 Emergency HEAP benefit is scheduled to open on January 2, 2024. Households may also be eligible for an emergency benefit if they are in danger of running out of heating fuel or having their utility service shut off. Emergency HEAP benefits and eligibility are based on income, available resources, and the type of emergency. Households facing an energy emergency should call their local Department of Social Services’ HEAP office for assistance. 

 The 2023-2024 HEAP Clean and Tune benefit is open.  Eligible households can receive energy efficiency services such as chimney cleaning, minor repairs or installation of carbon monoxide detectors or thermostats. Households should call their local Department of Social Services’ HEAP for assistance and information: 

 The 2023-2024 Heat Equipment Repair and Replacement benefit is open. Homeowners may be eligible for assistance to replace or repair a furnace, boiler, or other direct heating equipment. Benefit amounts are based on actual cost of repair or replacement. Households may call their local Department of Social Services’ HEAP office to apply.

 For more information on eligibility and applying for HEAP benefits, visit Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). If you do not have heat, immediately tell your building superintendent, property manager or owner. Call 311 if the problem is not fixed quickly. Improper use of portable heating equipment can lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Do not heat your home with a gas stove or oven, charcoal grill, or kerosene, propane, or oil-burning heaters.

 For more information on eligibility and applying for HEAP benefits, visit Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).

 ConEdison will not disconnect residential customers on days when the high temperature is forecasted to be 32 degrees or lower. 

 ConEd customers can also sign up for CONCERN a payment plan assistance program to help pay for electric heating and maintenance costs: Between November 1st and April 15th residential customers enrolled in CONCERN will not be disconnected. Customers older than 65, 18 or younger or permanently disabled qualify and must sign up by ConEd’s “My Account” or calling 1-800-4040-9097, weekdays from 8: 30a.m to 5p.m.

 For Long Island residents, PSEG will suspend residential customer terminations for non-payments when the National Weather Service forecasted temperature is below 32 degrees. Customers whose service has been terminated prior to extreme weather is encouraged to contact PSEG customer service team at 1-800-0025 for payment arrangement to restore power. 

 Be Prepared for Power Outages during Winter Storms

People who use electronic life-support equipment (LSE) at home (e.g., respirators, dialysis machines, apnea monitors), should register with their utility provider to be contacted in the event of an emergency. A medical certificate is required. ConEd customers Call 1-877-582-6633 or use “MyAccount” online. PSEG customers can call 1-800-490-0025.

 Protect Yourself from COVID-19, Flu, and RSV

Respiratory viruses such as COVID-19, influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are more common in fall and winter. Older adults, young children and people with certain underlying medical conditions are at the highest risk of getting sick or having severe illness from these viruses.

 Getting vaccinated protects people from COVID-19, flu and RSV! COVID-19 and flu vaccines reduce the chance of becoming sick, being hospitalized and dying. Everyone ages 6 months and older should get an updated flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine, even if they have received prior COVID-19 shots or had COVID-19. There are new RSV vaccines available for adults ages 60 and older and people who are pregnant. It is safe and convenient to get more than one of these vaccines at the same time. Other ways to protect from respiratory illness include wearing a face mask in indoor public places, following good hand hygiene, and staying home when sick.

 To find a nearby COVID-19 and flu vaccination provider, visit contact NYC Health + Hospitals at 1-844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692) to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider who can offer your child vaccines. Older adults and pregnant people should talk to a health care provider about whether RSV vaccination is right for them.

 The symptoms of COVID-19, flu and RSV are similar. People with mild or moderate symptoms of a respiratory illness – including cough, congestion and other signs of a cold – should get tested for COVID-19 and flu right away so they can contact their healthcare provider and start treatment if eligible. In the case of an emergency or severe illness, such as difficulty breathing, a pale or blue color around the lips or mouth, confusion, severe dehydration, or other concerning symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. NYC Health + Hospitals’ Virtual ExpressCare can connect people to healthcare providers in minutes, and the service is available 24/7 in over 200 languages, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. People can access Virtual ExpressCare by going to or calling 631-EXP-Care (631-397-2273).

For more information on winter viruses visit, and

The Advance Warning System (AWS) alerts organizations who work with people with disabilities and access and functional needs to various types of hazards and emergencies in New York City that may affect people's independence and daily lives. Participating organizations receive public preparedness and emergency information that they can relay to their clients and other similar agencies. If you work for an organization that serves people with disabilities or access and functional needs you can subscribe for AWS Alerts at the following link:

Please do no reply to this e-mail. This mailbox is not monitored. To make changes or receive assistance with your account, please login to the AWS website or contact us through the AWS website. If you think you or someone else may have an emergency, call 911 immediately.

November 17, 2023