With the winter season on the horizon in the Great Lakes region, emergency management officials with the Michigan State Police are encouraging citizens to make emergency preparedness a priority. Residents are encouraged to make sure their homes and vehicles are equipped should you and your family have to endure a winter weather emergency, such as a blizzard or ice storm.

“Winter is well on its way here in Michigan and now is the time to prepare. By taking a few extra steps, you will ensure that you and your family are ready before winter weather strikes.” - Capt. Emmitt McGowan, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD.

Severe winter weather poses health and safety concerns with cold temperatures, freezing pipes, potential propane shortages and especially power outages.

Michiganders should consider the following actions to be prepared for the winter months:

To prepare your 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 (CO) 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 your vehicle for winter

  • Have your radiator system serviced, replace windshield wipers and refill wiper fluid.
  • 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 your 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.