State police offer tips to prepare for the winter to come
With winter weather all but here, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division encourages state residents to make winter emergency preparedness a priority during this, Winter Hazards Awareness Week, which extends through Saturday.
“Winter is on it’s way and with cold weather comes health and safety concerns with cold temperatures, freezing pipes, potential propane shortages and power outages,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “Michiganders should take extra steps now to be better prepared for the winter months.”
To prepare the home for winter:
— Weatherproof your home by installing weather stripping and caulking and insulating walls, doors and windows.
— Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls, so pipes are less likely to freeze.
— 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 every two to four months.
— Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected. Contact your local fire department for a referral or look for a local inspector online.
— Install battery operated carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas. CO poisoning is more common in the winter months when furnaces are turned on and portable generators are often used for electricity during power outages.
— Clean gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Roof ice dams can cause water to build up, leading to interior damage.
— Clear storm drains along the curb to enable water to drain. If plugged, water has the potential to go into low-lying areas and flood basements.
— Have an emergency preparedness kit stored safely in your house that includes water, nonperishable food, a first aid kit, extra batteries, a battery or hand-crank powered radio, emergency lighting or flashlights, extra blankets and warm clothing.
To prepare a vehicle for winter:
— Have the radiator system serviced, replace windshield wipers and refill wiper fluid.
— Replace any worn tires and check air pressure regularly.
— Have brakes, brake fluid, oil, car battery, heater and exhaust checked to make sure everything is running efficiently.
— Keep an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle stocked with batteries, battery powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, windshield scraper, jumper cables, mobile phone charger, shovel, blankets, first aid kit, non-perishable food and bottled water in the event you get stranded or stuck.
For more tips, go to www.michigan.gov/miready or follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.