Hundreds of New Yorkers, believing the warnings were exaggerated, chose not to evacuate despite the city's orders before Superstorm Sandy.
"People —some people —made a decision that they weren't going to go, and we want to get that number down to absolutely as low as possible," said Cas Holloway, deputy mayor for operations.
Of those told to leave their homes, 63 percent ignored the orders, according to a post-Sandy survey.
"Part of that may have been the effect of (Hurricane) Irene," said Joseph Bruno, commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management, citing the 2011 storm that had little discernible effect on the city.
"People's memories are relatively short," Bruno added.
He and other officials hope that Sandy lingers on the minds of all New Yorkers when the next storm hits.
Since Sandy, the ABC evacuation zones have been updated to more targeted numbered zones, 1 to 6. Three million New Yorkers now live in the zones.
"The effect of Sandy should make people much more mindful of what the possibilities are," Bruno said.
How to prepare for the next storm:
- Create a disaster plan with people in your household.
- Find out your evacuation zone.
As a storm approaches
- Move lose and lightweight items, like lawn chairs and garbage cans, inside.
- Close windows and outside doors.
- Keep your cell phone charged.
- Fill your car with gas.
- Turn fridge and freezer to a colder setting (it will help them stay colder for longer if you lose power).
- Fill the bathtub and large containers with water. (If you live in a high-rise you might lose water service after the power goes out.)
- Refill prescription medications.
- Pack an "go bag"in case of evacuation.
- Make an emergency supply kit in in case you need to stay home. Make sure you have enough supplies for three days (including one gallon of water per person, per day.)
If you are ordered to evacuate
- Do as directed. Staying home could be life-threatening.
- Stay with friends and family outside of evacuation zones if possible.
- Find the nearest city evacuation center online or call 311.
- Bring supplies to care for your pet (all evacuation centers allow pets).
If you are not ordered to evacuate
- If you are concerned about loss of power or basic services, evacuate anyway.
- Stay away from windows and stay indoors.
If you must go to a city evacuation center, bring
- Your go bag
- Sleeping bag or bedding
- A week's supply of medication
For more information, visit the Office of Emergency Management website,call 311 or check out this guide.
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