1. How do I secure my house or apartment prior to a major storm? 2.

In the event of a severe storm or hurricane, what supplies should I have at my home? 3. How can I help my neighbors prepare for an approaching storm? 4. How and when will I know whether to evacuate? 5. If an evacuation order is issued what should I put in my “Go Bag”? 6. Do I have the right insurance to protect my house or apartment? 7. What additional steps can I take to secure my house or apartment from damage?

If a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued:  Remove loose or lightweight objects from porches, backyards, terraces and roof gardens and bring them inside. These items can include lawn furniture, grills, toys etc. Remove or secure any Halloween decorations. Secure any outdoor items that would be dangerous to bring inside your home. Close and secure all of your home’s windows. If you have a basement it is advised that you move all valuables possessions to a higher floor, if possible.

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Source: NYC Office of Emergency Management http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hurricane_brochure_english.pdf

2 The American Red Cross recommends that you have the following supplies at your home in the event of a severe storm or hurricane:           Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy--to--prepare food Flashlight Battery-powered radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) Extra batteries First aid kit Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane) Multi-purpose tool Sanitation and personal hygiene items Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies) Cell phone with chargers Family and emergency contact information Extra cash Silver-foil emergency blanket Map(s) of the area Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers) Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl) Tools/supplies for securing your home Extra set of car keys and house keys Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes Rain gear Insect repellent and sunscreen Camera for photos of damage

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You should check on elderly neighbors or those with medical conditions or disabilities. You can help them prepare for a storm by assembling “Go Bags” (described below) in the event of an evacuation, securing their homes, and helping them leave if an evacuation order is issued.
Source: NYC Office of Emergency Management http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hurricane_brochure_english.pdf

Check whether your home is located in a designated evacuation zone by calling 311 or visiting http://gis.nyc.gov/oem/he/index.html. Prior to and during the storm, monitor television broadcasts and www.nyc.gov for evacuation orders that may affect your area. If a recommendation or order to evacuate is given, residents are encouraged to stay with friends and family in a non-evacuation zone, or to stay at a designated storm shelter. In the event of an evacuation, a list of emergency storm shelters will be posted on nyc.gov or you can call 311 for details.

A “Go Bag” is a collection of items that need to be easily accessed if you are evacuated. These items should be placed in a backpack or duffel bag. Your Go Bag should contain the following items: copies of important documents, a set of house/apartment and car keys, credit/ATM cards, cash, bottled water, non- perishable food, a flashlight, batteries, a battery powered radio, your medications (if you take any regularly, i.e. blood pressure, asthma or heart medications), the name and phone number of doctors, a first aid kit and meet up information for your family. You should also try to make arrangements for pets.
Source: NYC Office of Emergency Management http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hurricane_brochure_english.pdf

If you have renter’s insurance it will cover the items inside your apartment. If you own your home, make sure that your home and possessions are properly insured. You should also make sure that your insurance covers damage from flooding.
Source: NYC Office of Emergency Management http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hurricane_brochure_english.pdf

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Cover all of your home’s windows with permanent shutters or 5/8 inch marine plywood, tape will not prevent widows from breaking. Make sure that trees and other plants around your house are well trimmed to ensure that they are wind resistant. Clear loose and clogged rain gutters. Reinforce your garage door.

Source: US FEMA http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

1. Who do I call if the electricity or another utility goes out? 2. Who should I contact to report storm damage or flooding in my community? 3. What if I live in a high rise?

Con Edison customers can report downed power lines, power outages, and check service restoration status by computer or mobile device at www.conEd.com. They also can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). When reporting an outage, it is helpful if customers have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power.

New Yorkers can report flooding, downed trees, unstable sidewalk sheds or scaffolds, or other storm-related clean-up needs by calling 311. The City also accepts reports from owners of homes and businesses whose property was damaged during hurricanes. The information will be used to help the City estimate the storm's total effect on city residents and employees, which is necessary for the City to qualify for disaster relief assistance. To file a damage report online, visit http://on.nyc.gov/ofrMsp
Source: NYC Office of Emergency Management (http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/nycsevereweather/weather_home.shtml)

Residents of high rise buildings who live above the 10th floor should stay away from windows in case they break. You should also consider relocating to lower floor for the duration of a severe storm, if at all possible.
Source: NYC Office of Emergency Management http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/hurricane_brochure_english.pdf

1. Will my homeowners or renters insurance cover storm and flood damage? 2. How do I file an insurance claim? 3. I am a renter and my furniture was damaged, can I make a claim? 4. What do I do if I have water in my basement? 5. What should I do after I drain my basement? 6. How do I clean up mold? 7. Is there anything I can do if my food went bad during the storm and I’m out of food stamps? 8. What can I do if I’m not getting the help I need from 311 or other City agencies?

Standard homeowners or renters insurance does not cover flooding, but it may cover other types of water damage from storms. For insurance purposes, flooding generally refers to water that enters your house at the ground level as the result of the rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. Water damage, by contrast, occurs when water damages your home before coming in contact with the ground (for example, if rain soaks through your roof).

Source: National Flood Insurance Program (http://www.floodsmart.gov), Insurance Buyers Guide (http://www.insbuyer.com/floodinsurance.htm)

Contact your agent or company representative to prepare a Notice of Loss form. It is important to begin this process immediately. All flood insurance policies require you to give prompt written notice of loss. Separate damaged items from non-damaged items. Don’t throw anything away before an adjuster has seen it. Make a room-by-room inventory of the damaged items, including pictures or a description, the cost, brand name and model. Create a list of any structural damage to show the adjuster. If possible, photograph the outside of the premises, showing any damage or flooding. Also, photograph the inside of the premises, showing the damaged property and the height of the water if your property was flooded. Arrange a visit with an adjuster from the insurance company. Generally, your adjuster will contact you within 24-48 hours after receiving your notice of loss. When the adjuster visits your property, let him or her know if you need an advance or partial payment of loss. Your claim is payable after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer receives your complete, accurate and signed Proof of Loss.

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Source: National Flood Insurance Program, Flood Insurance Claims Handbook, FEMA F687, February 2009 (http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=2184) and FEMA’s Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim (http://www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/claim.shtm)

Please contact 311 and your landlord to report the flooding and damage. If your landlord has flood insurance, you may be covered. Alternatively, if you purchased flood insurance, contact your insurance company and follow the instructions above. If your county is designated as a disaster area, you may also qualify for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For

more information, visit: www.fema.gov or contact the FEMA Helpline at 1‐800‐ 621‐FEMA. To see if you are eligible for assistance, you can take an anonymous pre-screening questionnaire online at: http://www.disasterassistance.gov/

If your basement is severely flooded, take precautions before pumping out the water. Water in your basement may be helping to stabilize the basement walls against pressure from the outside. If you drain your basement too quickly, the outsize pressure can cause the basement floor and walls to crack and collapse.  Be sure the electricity is off before entering a flooded basement. For insurance purposes, it’s also a good idea to take pictures of the flooding before beginning work. When the water is no longer covering the ground surrounding your house, you can begin pumping the water from your basement. CAUTION: Do not use gasoline-powered pumps or generators indoors as they produce deadly carbon monoxide exhaust fumes. In the case of severe flooding, pump out the water is stages. Decrease water level by 2 to 3 feet, mark the water level, and wait overnight. If the water went back up overnight and covered your mark, it’s too early to drain your basement. In these cases, wait another 24 hours and repeat this process.

Source: FloodSafe, a Publication of FEMA and WMD Emergency Management Division and Washington Military Department, Emergency Management Division (http://www.emd.wa.gov/preparedness/FloodSafe_HowTo.shtml)

Drying and disinfecting your basement is critically important to prevent the growth of dangerous mold.  Use a shovel to remove any mud from your basement. Mud left behind by floodwaters poses a health hazard and will be more difficult to remove after it dries.

Wash off the walls and floors with clean water and then disinfect them with a solution of 1 ½ cups of liquid chlorine bleach to a gallon of fresh water. CAUTION: NEVER mix bleach and ammonia cleaning products. This will produce deadly chlorine gas! Clean and disinfect all vents or registers of heating and air conditioning ducts, the wall covers for wall switches and outlets, and any flexible ducting, including dryer connections that were exposed to water. Check your water system, including drains and utility connections for leaks, breaks, and loose fittings. Before turning on the electricity, check your incoming electrical service for any damage. Replace any wiring, switches and/or outlets that were submerged or got wet during the flood. This may require the services of a professional. To help dry out your home and reduce odors, run fans and dehumidifiers. Depending on the severity of flooding and type of the building materials used in your basement, all or part of your walls may need to be replaced. Wallboard that has been soaked by floodwater can present a permanent health hazard. Plaster and paneling can often be saved, but you will need to get air circulating in the wall cavities to dry the studs and sills.

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Source: FloodSafe, a Publication of FEMA and WMD Emergency Management Divisio; Washington Military Department, Emergency Management Division (http://www.emd.wa.gov/preparedness/FloodSafe_HowTo.shtml); NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/ehs/guidancepost-irene.pdf); and the Red Cross and FEMA, Repairing Your Flooded Home

Exposure to mold can have serious health effects including allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. It is important to clean up mold as soon as you notice it to prevent serious problems.  For small amounts of mold (less than 3 feet by 3 feet), you should be able to handle the clean-up yourself. For large jobs or if you have any mold allergies, you should contact a professional who has experience with mold removal. If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, a professional is also highly recommended. Wear waterproof gloves, goggles, and a face mask when cleaning.

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Scrubbing the mold off hard surfaces using soap or a detergent and water, then dry completely. Throw away anything that touches the mold, including absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet. Keep a close eye on surfaces to ensure that the mold does not come back. If mold continues to reappear, consult a professional.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency, A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home (http://www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide.pdf) and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/ehs/ehsfloods.shtml)

If you are receiving food stamps and you lost food that you purchased with your food stamp benefit during the storm, you may qualify to be reimbursed for the monetary value of that food. To request replacement benefits, you must report the loss at a local food stamp center within ten days of the loss, and follow up by completing a request form (ldss-2291) within ten days of your reporting the loss. For assistance, call the Food Bank for New York City at 212.894.8060.

For additional assistance, contact the Public Advocate’s hotline at 212-669-7250 or email gethelp@pubadvocate.nyc.gov.

Office of New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio 1 Centre Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10007 (212) 669-7250 | www.advocate.nyc.gov

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