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State this week emphasizes being ready for winter

With winter weather at hand, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division encourages Michigan residents to prioritize winter emergency preparedness.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed this to be Winter Hazards Awareness Week in Michigan.

“Michiganders should take every opportunity to prepare for winter weather before it’s here, bringing with it the potential for frozen pipes, propane shortages and power outages,” said Col. Joe Gasper, state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and director of the Michigan State Police. “Taking steps to prepare your home and vehicle in advance of the cold weather can help ensure your family stays safe all winter.”

The state offers these tips for getting ready for winter:

To prepare the home :

— Weatherproof the 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 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 the fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected. Contact the 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 the 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 vehicles:

— Have the radiator system serviced, replace windshield wipers and refill wiper fluid.

— Replace any worn tires and check air pressure regularly.

— Have the 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 case of becoming 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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