New Tools Help Dutchess County
Residents Prepare for Emergencies
‘Ready Dutchess’ mobile app, Access & Functional Needs Registry
can help residents, families plan ahead
Poughkeepsie … September is National Preparedness Month and the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response (DER) is helping residents plan ahead for emergencies with new tools, including the “Ready Dutchess” mobile application for planning and updates, and a new voluntary Access & Functional Needs (AFN) Registry for those who may need additional assistance leaving their home in the event of an emergency evacuation.
County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Before, during and after an emergency, it’s important to know how to keep yourself and your family safe. It’s even more important for first responders to be aware of residents who may need additional assistance in an evacuation. Our Department of Emergency Response continues to provide tools and resources for residents and emergency responders to be as prepared as possible and recover quickly.”
The “Ready Dutchess” app provides anyone with a smartphone or tablet the latest information during an emergency – from push notifications about local road or facility closures and severe weather updates, to planning tools and checklists. The app provides users various resources and links, including:
- A “My Emergency Plan” tool for building a plan to know what to do before, during and after any kind of emergency;
- Live traffic updates from New York State’s 5-1-1, which provides up-to-the-minute transit information from the State’s Department of Transportation;
- A map that will display countywide emergency shelters and cooling/warming centers, when open;
- Links to local closing and delay information for local school districts, businesses and events;
- Links to electric companies NYSEG and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp for updates on power outages;
- Calendar and registration information for upcoming Citizens’ Preparedness and Medical Reserve Corps of Dutchess County trainings open to the public;
- A link to the County health department’s HELPLINE application; and
- Information on emergent health issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or monkeypox.
The app also includes a link for users to register for the County’s new Access & Functional Needs (AFN) Registry. Residents who have a physical or mental disability and would need assistance leaving their home quickly in the event of an emergency are encouraged to sign up so resources can be planned accordingly during an emergency event. The AFN registry is intended for those who live independently or without live-in support who would require additional assistance such as transportation, mobility support or a place to stay if a major emergency or disaster required evacuation.
This voluntary list will only be shared with local municipalities, County, State and Federal agencies involved in emergency response efforts to identify who is in need and where to focus resources. Registration and additional information are available online at dutchessny.gov/AFNRegistry or by calling DER at 845-486-2080.
DER Commissioner Dana Smith said, “The ‘Ready Dutchess’ application offers our department a better way to alert, inform and prepare the public in the event of an emergency. The Access & Functional Needs registry is a vital tool to helping coordinated response efforts, providing emergency response agencies an accurate map of where vulnerable individuals are located to best direct resources in an emergency.”
The “Ready Dutchess” mobile app is available for free download through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, and the app complements the Dutchess County HELPLINE app, designed to help people recognize warning signs of suicide and provide numerous behavioral health resources, information and assistance for those struggling with addiction, substance use issues and/or mental illness.
County Executive Molinaro said, “We encourage everyone to download and use the ‘Ready Dutchess’ app, and we urge those who may need help leaving their home quickly in an emergency to complete the Access & Functional Needs Registry form. A few minutes of preparation before an emergency strikes may be the difference between life and death.”