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Prepare homes, vehicles for winter weather

Warm weather in November was nice while it lasted, but winter weather is rapidly approaching.

Encouraging residents to make winter emergency preparedness a priority, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed this Winter Hazards Awareness Week in Michigan.

Severe winter weather poses health and safety concerns, with extremely cold temperatures, freezing pipes, potential propane shortages and power outages. Consider taking these actions to be prepared for the upcoming winter months.

To prepare your home for winter:

— Weatherproof 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 and have a backup heating plan, such as a generator, wood stove or fireplace.

— Have furnaces inspected by a qualified professional and change the air filter.

— 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, or CO, detectors near every sleeping area.

— 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 the home that includes water, non-perishable 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 your vehicle for winter:

— Have the radiator 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 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 online to www.michigan.gov/miready or follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.

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