NYC Emergency Management Launches New Winter PSA & Podcast Series

The New York City Emergency Management Department has launched a new public service announcement (PSA) to prepare New Yorkers for winter weather hazards. The new PSA, ‘Winters Are No Laughing Matter’ features local comedian Mark Benjamin’s stand-up routine on winter weather safety tips to remind New Yorkers to prepare for the winter season.

“Mark highlights some common sense tips to be ready for the winter season, like checking in on neighbors and wearing layers when it’s cold,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “We hope the comedic approach will encourage New Yorkers to be prepared this winter for snow, cold temperatures and icy conditions.”

“Most comics dream of being on late night TV. My goal was a winter weather PSA for New York City’s Emergency Management. Now that I’m in every New York taxi, I happily announce my retirement from comedy, as there’s nothing else left to achieve,” said comedian Mark Benjamin. “You’re all welcome for my incredible jokes on winter weather tips and I expect a key to the city from the Mayor for my efforts in preparing New Yorkers for the snow and cold.”

In ‘Winters Are No Laughing Matter’, Benjamin delivers a comical stand-up on winter weather safety tips. Benjamin’s routine serves up laughs while educating about winter preparedness. The PSA debut on Taxi TV December 18, 2017, and will air on NYC Media, including WNYE-TV and WNYE-FM 91.5, throughout the winter season. New Yorkers can also view the PSA on NYC Emergency Management’s social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or at nyc.gov/emergencymanagement. You can view the Taxi TV version of the PSA here. For more information about Mark Benjamin, visit markbenjamincomedy.com.

NYC Emergency Management Launches ‘Prep Talk’ Podcast Series:

Get ready for your monthly emergency prep talk! Emergency Management Department has launched “Prep Talk,” a new podcast series that engages listeners about emergency management topics. Listen as NYC Emergency Management hosts Omar Bourne and Allison Pennisi talk with guests who keep our city safe and prepared before, during and after emergencies. NYC Emergency Management has released three episodes:

  • Episode 1 features NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito and FDNY Chief of Counterterrorism and Emergency Preparedness Joseph Pfeifer discussing how they help inform and prepare New Yorkers about potential terror strikes and other emergencies. Click to listen to episode 1 on Soundcloud and iTunes..
  • Episode 2 takes a look back at the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season with Gary Conte, Warning and Coordinating Meteorologist for the National Weather Service, and Henry Jackson, NYC Emergency Management’s Deputy Commissioner for Technology & Strategic Resources, who deployed to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Click to listen to episode 2 on Soundcloud and iTunes.
  • Episode 3 highlights the new winter weather PSA initiative with comedian Mark Benjamin discussing emergency preparedness messaging. Click to listen to episode 3 on Soundcloud and  iTunes.

You can listen to Prep Talk on Soundcloud and iTunes, and subscribe now to stay up-to-date on the latest episodes.

Tips to prepare for winter weather:

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Make a Plan

  • Make sure your Household Disaster Plan is ready and all members of your household are familiar with how to contact one another in an emergency.
  • Winterize your Go Bag by adding a blanket, warm socks and gloves.
  • Your Emergency Supply Kit should be fully-stocked to allow you to sustain yourself for up to three days without power, or in the event you are unable to travel far from home. You may wish to include additional items such as extra blankets, additional warm clothing, and a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio to monitor weather conditions during a storm.

Winterize Your Home

  • Install storm shutters, doors and windows; clean out gutters, repair any roof leaks, and have a contractor check the stability of your roof in the event of a large accumulation of snow.
  • Insulate walls and attic. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows. Install storm windows, or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
  • Have safe emergency heating equipment available. For residences with functioning fireplaces, keep an ample supply of wood.
  • Install and check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; you may have difficulty obtaining fuel in the immediate aftermath of a bad storm.
  • Service snow removal equipment, and have rock salt on hand to melt ice on walkways. Kitty litter can be used to generate temporary traction.

Winterize Your Car

Make sure to have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle:

  • Battery
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield wipers and washer fluid
  • Ignition system
  • Thermostat
  • Lights (headlamps and hazard lights)
  • Exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster
  • Oil level (if necessary, replace oil with a winter oil or SAE 10w/30 variety)

Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for your vehicle, and consider adding the following items for winter conditions:

  • Blankets, sleeping bags, extra newspapers for insulation.
  • Plastic bags (for sanitation).
  • Extra mittens, socks, scarves and hat, raingear and extra clothes.
  • Sack of sand or kitty litter for gaining traction under wheels, small shovel.
  • Set of tire chains or traction mats.
  • Working jack and lug wrench, spare tire.
  • Windshield scraper, broom.
  • Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver).
  • Booster cables.
  • Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag, flares or reflective triangles.

For more winter weather preparedness information, visit nyc.gov/emergencymanagement. New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency communications program. To sign up for Notify NYC, download the free mobile application, visit NYC.gov/NotifyNYC,, call 311, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

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