One thing most Michiganders can agree on is that our winters can be pretty harsh. What’s even harsher? Finding out in the midst of a winter storm that you’re not fully prepared. So much of our lives depend on electricity, and power outages can be inconvenient and dangerous if you are not prepared. There’s no better time than the present to prepare your home and family to tackle power outages caused by Michigan’s winter storms. Here are some tips:
- Communication is key. It is vital to have a communication plan in place in the event of a winter storm, including all family members’ or close family friends’ contact information and a meet-up location if the family is not together. These printable Family Emergency Communication Plan cards that outline household information, school/childcare contacts, in case of emergency contacts and meeting places/warming stations, are the perfect resource to keep on hand at all times.
- Gather the essentials. Stock up on basic life necessities and supplies that make it easy to handle a power outage:
- Pack away one gallon of water per person for, at least, three days. In addition, store away a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for family members and pets. Use ice or a bag or container filled with frozen water to keep these items cold.
- Charge your cell phone and only use when necessary to maintain battery power.
- Pack over-the-counter and prescription medications, toiletries (including feminine products), sanitary products and first aid kits, as well as any medical supplies needed for seniors or those with illnesses.
- Make sure that you have a battery-powered radio and carbon monoxide detector that is fully powered and ready for use.
- Grab extra blankets and warm clothing for everyone in the home.
- Winterize your home. Winterizing ensures that it is efficiently keeping your home warm during the cold winter months and can be done during nicer fall days. This includes covering your windows with plastic to trap in warmth and allowing your faucets to drip so your pipes don’t freeze. Insulate walls and attics, and use insulation or newspaper to insulate water pipes.
- Be mindful of electricity. Disconnect all appliances, or use a surge protector, to avoid power surges that may happen during a power outage.