Emergency Preparedness


Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert


First aid kit

Extra batteries

Whistle to signal for help

Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Manual can opener for food

Local maps

Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery 

Additional Emergency Supplies

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

 Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.


Winter weather can happen anywhere in New York. Here in Rochester we are one of the snowiest cities in the North East. That is way it is important to be prepared for winter storms which often bring dangerously low temperatures, strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall, ice and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region, so it’s important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.

Winterize Your Emergency Toolkit
Add the following supplies to your emergency kit:

Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways

Sand to improve traction

Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment

Sufficient heating fuel, like dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove

Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm​

Be Weather Aware
Watches and Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service​. Be familiar with each so you’ll know what to do when a watch or warning is issued.

Winter Storm Watch
A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is a potential for heavy snow or significant ice accumulations, usually at least 24 to 36 hours in advance. When a winter storm watch is issued, make your final preparations for the potential storm. 

Winter Storm Warning
A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a winter storm is already producing, or is forecast to produce heavy snow or significant ice accumulations. 

During the Winter Storm
Stay indoors during the storm 

Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather

Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms

Walk carefully on snowy, icy walkways

Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive be sure of the following:

keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle

travel in the day and if at all possible, don't travel alone

keep others informed of your schedule

stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts

Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route

If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55°F

Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes

Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects

Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, enclosed or partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.



Power outages can happen anywhere in New York. That is way it is important to be prepared for power outages. Some of the dangers that can happen with power outages are:

No heating or air conditioning through your house

No communication

No refrigerated food

No cooking

It is important to be prepared for power outages before it strikes.

Safety Note

Please keep all running portable gas generators out of your homes and garages. To prevent potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, users need to keep running generators 25 feet from your home.

Before a Power Outage

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power.
  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  • Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full-gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by visiting your state’s or local website so you can locate the closest cooling and warming shelters.
  • If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device determine a back-up plan.

During a Power Outage: Safety Tips

  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.
  • If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.
  • Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.

After a Power Outage

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medications having spoiled.
  • Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.


According to the National Fire Protection Association ,"Every day, millions of people wake up, go to work or school, and take part in social events." But every so often the unexpected happens: an earthquake, a fire, a chemical spill, an act of terrorism or some other disaster. Routines change drastically, and people are suddenly aware of how fragile their lives and routines can be. Each disaster can have lasting effects - people may be seriously injured or killed, and devastating and costly property damage can occur. People entering any public assembly building need to be prepared in case of an emergency.

The Rochester Fire Department is committed to the safety and well-being of individuals that visit nightclubs and areas of public assembly within the City of Rochester. Weekly, we are out in the field inspecting for compliance to the state fire and property maintenance code as well as to the City of Rochester’s fire and property maintenance code. Our goal is to achieve compliance through education, engineering, and enforcement of state and local codes. We want our patrons to have a positive and safe experience while visiting establishments and areas of public assembly within the City of Rochester. Our goal is to work with the businesses and to educate them on the need for safety. If there is any time that you feel that you have an immediate fire or life safety issue, please call 911 or you can contact our fire safety division at 428-7037 regarding any questions or concerns. Always make sure that you know where the exits are when visiting an establishment. If an alarm goes off, immediately evacuate to the closest exit. If you feel that your safety is compromised at any time, leave the establishment and call 911. We want you to enjoy your time here within the City of Rochester.  We also want you to have a safe and positive experience while visiting establishments in the City of Rochester and look forward to you returning knowing that your safety is our primary concern

Before you enter

  • Take a good look: Does the building appear to be in a condition that makes you feel comfortable? Is the main entrance wide and does it open outward to allow easy exit? Is the outside area clear of materials stored against the building or blocking exits?
  • Have a communication plan: Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency and you are separated from family or friends
  • Plan a meeting place: Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends with whom you are attending the function. If there is an emergency, be sure to meet them there.

When you enter

  • Locate exits immediately: When you enter a building you should look for all available exits. Some exits may be in front and some in back of you. Be prepared to use your closest exit. You may not be able to use the main exit.  
  • Check for clear exit paths: Make sure aisles are wide enough and not obstructed by chairs or furniture. Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained. If there are not at least two exits or exit paths are blocked, report the violation to management and leave the building if it is not immediately addressed. Call the local fire marshal to register a complaint. 
  • Do you feel safe?: Does the building appear to be overcrowded? Are there fire sources such as candles burning, cigarettes or cigars burning, pyrotechnics, or other heat sources that may make you feel unsafe? Are there safety systems in place such as alternative exits, sprinklers, and smoke alarms? Ask the management for clarification on your concerns. If you do not feel safe in the building, leave immediately.

During an emergency

  • React immediately: If an alarm sounds, you see smoke or fire, or other unusual disturbance immediately exit the building in an orderly fashion.
  • Get out, stay out! Once you have escaped, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operations."


Most of us take this important task for granted; a guarantee that someone else will be there on the other end of the phone, ready to help at a moment's notice. As simple as it may seem, the system of 911 is both very clever and very sophisticated. Lets take a look at what happens when you call.

Most phones have the capability to dial into 911.

When you dial into 911:

  • The signal goes to the phone company's database.
  • There, it finds out the information that you supply the phone company when you start your service. 
  • Then your signal, along with the information is sent to us in the form of Automatic Name and Location information (ANI/ALI). 

Our 911 Center is Phase II compatible with most cellular telephone companies.  After ten seconds we can send a signal to your phone to request your GPS coordinates. 

When you dial 911 please stay on the line, do not hang up! Calls into 911 are taken in the order in which they are received. If you hang up and call back, your call goes to the last in queue, making your wait longer.

The Telecommunicator answering your 911 call determines the type of service needed using a proven and efficient interview process. They provide initial help if necessary and then immediately contact the appropriate emergency agency to dispatch assistance.

 The Telecommunicator is the first link in the medical Survival Chain, providing Pre-Arrival and Post-Dispatch instructions to callers with a medical emergency. Critical procedures such as CPR, airway management and childbirth, just to name a few, can be started before more advanced help arrives.

The Telecommunicator uses a Computer Aided Dispatch terminal. Together with a touch screen telephone interface, information about the caller's location and phone number is available for verification by the Telecommunicator.

A Telecommunicator is a public safety employee who asks questions to determine the who, what, where, how and why (as well as the what should/can/might be done) in a multitude of circumstances, in which the caller often mistakenly assumes that the answers are obvious.

The Telecommunicator knows that action taken based on incomplete or inaccurate information can endanger callers, victims and the responders.

That is why he or she must make sure answers to questions are clear, complete and precise. If an answer is "far," for example, the Telecommunicator must ask: "how far?" If an altercation is at the "door," the Telecommunicator must ask: "Which door?" and "How many doors are there?" You can help by being as precise and exact as possible when providing information during a 911 call.

Once the Telecommunicator has analyzed the situation, the call is immediately routed by computer to a dispatcher for the appropriate emergency response (Police, Fire or EMS) to provide the service(s) needed.