As Hurricane Sandy hits the East coast today and tomorrow at least the Eastern part of Michigan will experience high winds. Its time for Michigan families on the East Side of the state to prepare for power outages and wind damages which may occur. Winds of 40 mph will be common with gusts to 60 mph possible. These can be dangerous conditions.
Water is one of the most critical needs in an emergency. If you have a well you rely on power to run your pump. Even city dwellers may want to stock up on drinking water, although water in city systems may run when the power is out.
For home use fill clean containers with drinking and cooking water. Store at least one gallon per person. Store some water in buckets for toilet flushing. Fill livestock water containers and store some additional water in buckets or plastic trash cans in the barn.
Check your food and animal feed supplies. Driving may become difficult and stores may close in a power outage. Make sure you have food and feed for at lest 3 days on hand. Fill any necessary prescriptions. Buy batteries, candles, matches, and fuel for generators or propane heaters. Put gas in your car, stations may close in power outages. You may need chainsaw bar oil for clearing fallen trees.
Decide now if you will need to evacuate if the power goes out and where you will go. People who use medical equipment or those with infants or small children may need to make arrangements to stay elsewhere if the power goes out. In Michigan there should be hotel and motel rooms available. In a larger power outage emergency shelters may be set up.
Schools may close if the power goes out. It won’t be surprising to see schools close on the far east side of the state even if power doesn’t go out. Make arrangements for child care if you will need it.
Make sure you have a battery powered radio, flashlights or other emergency lights, and charge your cell phone. Some cell phones will not work in power outages. An older home corded telephone, not the cordless models, will usually keep working in power outages. You may want a propane or oil heater. Be very careful with candles, wood fires and other heating arrangements.
Bring most livestock into barns or pen them close to the barn where there is some protection from the wind. Animals are often spooked by blowing debris and the noise of the wind. The wind will also cause a dramatic wind chill factor. Animals should have a place to stay dry and out of the wind. Bring pets inside or make sure they have a secure, dry windproof shelter.
Pick up and secure any loose items outside such as lawn furniture, empty garbage cans and toys. These can become flying weapons in high wind or simply disappear. Even things like trampolines can be thrown in high winds. You may want to tie or chain them to heavier items. Park cars and equipment inside if you can.
If you notice downed wires stay inside and notify 911 or the power company. Remember that anything the wire touches, like a fence, will be electrified. If wires fall on your car and you are inside, stay there and wait or call for help. Don’t try to get out.
Michigan rural roads are lined with dead and dying ash trees and these could pose a hazard as the winds pick up. Avoid driving except when absolutely necessary. A few places in Michigan may experience road flooding. Do not drive through water if you do not know how deep it is.
Stay tuned to your local news for any warnings or other developments as this storm passes through. The worst should be over by Tuesday evening, October 30.
Michigan is not supposed to get the worst of the storm but high winds can pose some risk and power outages can make for some cold, uncomfortable nights. Because of the scope of the storm it may be several days before power can be restored to your home. Plan now to minimize your discomfort.
Here are some more emergency preparedness articles you may want to read.
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