Winter has decided to make an early appearance here in Michigan, making it all the more important for residents across the state to make emergency preparedness a priority.
Severe winter weather poses health and safety concerns. Whether it’s freezing pipes, stalled cars, potential propane shortages or power outages, the key is to be prepared for each situation.
Winter-wise yourself: Resources for inclement weather
Aside from dusting off the snow shovels and finding the warmest pair of winter gloves, families should prep both their homes and cars for snowy conditions and below-freezing temperatures.
Check out these tips from the Michigan State Police to help prepare for winter weather:
- Weatherproof your home by installing weather-stripping, caulking and insulating walls, doors and windows.
- Lock in a propane rate now and have a backup heating plan, such as a generator, wood stove or fireplace.
- Have gas or oil furnaces inspected by a qualified professional and change the air filter.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors near every sleeping area. CO poisoning is most prevalent when furnaces are turned on to fight cold winter temperatures, but commonly occurs after winter storms and accompanying power outages, when people tend to rely on portable generators for electricity.
- Have your car’s radiator system serviced before winter and make sure to replace windshield wipers and wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture that will not freeze.
- Replace any worn tires and check air pressure regularly.
- Have your brakes, brake fluid, oil, car battery, heater and exhaust checked to make sure everything is running efficiently.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times to avoid fuel lines freezing up and getting ice buildup in your tank.
It’s also important to have an emergency kit stored in both your car and your home in case of inclement weather. Be sure to include batteries, battery powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, blankets and warm clothing, first aid kit, non-perishable food and bottled water in each preparedness kit, as well as a windshield scraper, jumper cables and shovel in your car. For more tips on winter preparedness, visit the Michigan State Police website.
As we prepare for cold weather, it’s equally essential to prep for higher heating and energy bills. After last year’s propane shortage caught many residents off guard, now is the time to learn how to reduce energy usage, avoid shut-offs and get assistance with bills.
Another great resource is michigan.gov/bewinterwise, which includes information on energy assistance programs and home heating credits.
Michigan winters can be long and cold, so early, thorough preparation is key to weathering this season in the Great Lake State.