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.

With the winter season comes the possibility of winter weather emergencies, and an important reminder for our Advance Warning System partners to 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 include people who:

  • Are homeless and not in shelters
  • Use alcohol or drugs
  • Are older adults
  • Are infants
  • Have heart or lung conditions
  • Have serious mental health conditions
  • Have developmental disabilities
  • Have dementia 

Is it Flu or COVID-19?

During this flu season, it may be hard to tell the differences between flu and COVID-19. If you are feeling ill, stay home and only leave to get tested. Testing can help determine if you are sick with the flu or COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu vaccine. For more information or to find a location to get your flu vaccine, visit, call 311 or text “flu” to 877-877.

The best way to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Vaccine booster shots are now available for all fully vaccinated people 18 and older. These shots boost your immunity from an initial vaccination series. For more information on COVID-19, visit Click here to find out more about the difference between the flu and COVID-19.

Home Energy Assistance Program

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is available to help people who qualify pay the cost of heating their homes. .

The 2021-2022 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, ages 60 years or older, or permanently disabled. 

The 2021-2022 Emergency HEAP benefit will open on January 3, 2022. 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. 

For more information on eligibility and applying for HEAP benefits, visit

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.

December 09, 2021