Disaster Preparedness: Extreme Weather

Photo of severe snowstorm

Wikimedia Commons. CC License.

After the “Polar Vortex” this winter and recent mass flooding, many Michiganders have a new appreciation for disaster preparedness. Michigan’s most common potential disaster situations include thunderstorms, power outages, tornadoes and extreme winter temperatures. This special series will offer a few suggestions on how to make sure you and your family are ready.

There are already rumors of a rough winter, but we still have time to plan ahead. Here are some tips to get through an extreme winter.

  • Make sure to bundle up! This blog post from January talks in depth about avoiding hypothermia while outdoors.
  • Stock up on winter apparel and snow-clearing items right away! Last year some of these items were unavailable deep into the season.
  • Locate your home’s water shut off valve in case you have a pipe burst. Knowing where to shut off the water can help minimize the cost of the water damage.
  • Clear gutters and downspouts. Have a professional inspect your roof to see if it’s ready for winter.
  • If you are elderly, disabled or have a medical condition that requires you to avoid heavy exercise, consider signing up for a snow removal service.
  • Have your vehicles inspected to make sure you are safe to drive in snow and ice conditions. Always keep the tank at least halfway full.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car including several blankets, ice scraper, cell phone charger, snow shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, hand warmers, water and snack bars, flares, a first aid kit with essential medication, tow chain, kitty litter (for traction), jumper cables, whistle to call for help, lock de-icer, reflective vest, and winter clothing items such as boots and snow pants.
  • Other vehicles can lose control and hit you while you are outside, so it’s advised to stay in your vehicle and call for help. If you must leave the vehicle, put on your reflective vest and activate your hazard lights and road flares.

– Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Beaumont Health System

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