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What NYC Religious Leaders & FBOs Need to Know

March 13, 2017

Dear NYDIS Members & Partners,

By now, Tuesday evening, our government partners and the media have made us all aware that a Blizzard Warning has been issued for New York City - and, a Winter Storm Warning for most of the region. The current forecast for NYC calls for 14-20" of snow, winds of 25-35mph with gusts up to 55mph, and extreme cold temperatures. At the storm's height, we may experience snowfall rates of 2-4" per hour - resulting in whiteout conditions & less than a quarter mile of visibly. These are life threating conditions - especially for children, the elderly, those who are health/mobility compromised - as well as for animals.

Emergency Managers, NYDIS, and you, should urge every NYC household to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 24-72 hours.  Congregations of all faith traditions are asked to check in on your homebound parishioners, the elderly, and those at risk in your congregations to make certain they have enough food, water, warm clothing, and flashlights to allow them to shelter in place, or, if they are relocating, to help get them there before the storm hits. Always keep your cell phone charged and call 911 if anyone's life is in danger - and, 311 for anyone without heat or power.

Religious Leader's Sequence of Resilience and Response,

  • make certain you and your household are safe
  • review your Household's Disaster Plan or your congregation/organization's Continuity of Operations Plan
  • follow the City's ban on non-essential travel. Only drive when roads have been cleared.
  • check your congregation's property for damage. If there is any, please notify your maintenance staff, security, or insurance company   
  • check in on your congregants to see if they're safe and adequately supplied.  If they're not, help them get safe or supplied
  • get essential social services and support programs back up and running ASAP
  • serve your local neighborhood in any way that makes sense to your situation and capacity.
  • Organized shovel teams to help remove snow - be certain volunteers are physically capable of that task.

If you can stay at home, please do. Make sure that your computer, cellphone, and all other electronic equipment is fully charged tonight; fill a pot(s) with water so you can flush the toilet if the power goes out; and use flashlights rather than candles if you can. NEVER heat your home with an oven, it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and death.

Go Bags for each member of your car, household and office are always useful and should include essential medication, food, water, warm clothing, flashlight, batteries, and any other essential personal items.  Don't forget to prepare one for your pet(s)!

Check NYDIS' FaceBook or Twitter feed for status reports as well as preparedness and safety tips of congregations and FBOs. Please Email NYDIS if you can't find the help you need.

Please read NYC Emergency Management's Hazardous Travel Advisory (which has useful tips) on the storm:

Please read or download NDIN's Tip Sheet for U.S. Religious Leaders on Cold Weather Hazards.

Our staff are on call until the storm has past. Be a Ready Congregation! You've got this. Thank you all for that you are doing to support your congregants, staff and clients during this storm.


Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div.
Executive Director & CEO

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