BE READY: Community Organizing Manager Tevina Willis, of the Red Hook Initiative. The group is among those the city relies on to prepare New Yorkers for floods and other emergencies. (PHOTO: Mary Cunningham)

BROOKLYN — On Sept. 29, Red Hook Initiative (RHI) had been planning to host one of its emergency preparedness events to give away small bags stocked with LED flashlights, first aid kits, and emergency plan materials from the city. But the weather had something else in mind.

A storm rolled in with little notice, drenching the South Brooklyn neighborhood and several other pockets of New York City. Conditions were so bad, RHI Community Organizing Manager Tevina Willis decided to postpone the event. The city also issued a travel advisory, urging New Yorkers to stay off the roads, while the downpour brought numerous subway lines to a halt and flooded hundreds of schools.

“This flooding that happened in September was the worst I’ve seen since Sandy,” Willis said.

At the rescheduled meeting the next week, concern from residents was palpable. Willis polled the room, asking people to write down what would have come in handy during and after the storm via post-it note. The responses—simple things like food, extra water, and flood barriers—would help inform the RHI organizer on how to assist her neighbors the next time.

“That way I know how to utilize the funds in the future to get the community what they need,” said Willis.

As extreme weather events induced by climate change continue to batter New York, advocates say the city isn’t doing enough to prepare residents and keep them safe. Following the air quality crisis last summer, the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYCEM) came under fire for its laggard response.