New York City winters, which often bring extreme cold, heavy snow, ice, sleet, and freezing rain, can pose serious hazards. To learn more about winter weather safety, visit the NYC Health Department’s interactive online infographic.

Utility Disruptions

Utility disruptions —including power, gas, water, and phone service — are a nuisance but can also be life threatening. While prolonged utility disruptions do not occur often, it is always a good idea to be prepared.

Ask your utility company whether your medical equipment qualifies you to be listed as a life-sustaining equipment customer (LSE). For those who rely on electric-powered medical equipment at home (e.g., respirators, dialysis machines, apnea monitors), please register with your utility provider so you can be contacted in the event of an emergency. Individuals who use electric-powered medical equipment should have an emergency plan. Consider the following:

  • If you rely on oxygen, talk to your vendor about emergency replacements. In the event that you do not have access to oxygen, call 911 for immediate assistance.
  • If you lose power and have a disability, access and functional needs or use life-sustaining equipment (LSE) and need immediate assistance, dial 911.
  •  Make sure to charge all medical and communications devices before the power goes out.
  • An alternate source of electric power, such as a battery back-up system.
  • If using a generator be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, local building codes, and ensure that it's in a well-ventilated area. Do not use generators indoors.
  • Include variety of telephone options (landline, cordless, cellular), if possible.
  • Make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios or televisions are working. Keep extra batteries.

Read More for additional winter weather safety tips.

November 16, 2023