2017-12-07 / Editorial

Be prepared

The damage – and inconvenience – severe weather like this area experienced Tuesday is a reminder of Mother Nature’s strength and how it is important to be prepared for anything she might throw at you.

Tuesday’s power outage effected thousands of Roscommon County residents and led to the closure of businesses, government agencies and schools. Wind gusts could be heard late Monday night that did not seem to bode well for an easy Tuesday, and the premonitions were correct. Cold and dark houses greeted many people Tuesday morning, with the Consumers Energy outage map looking like a cubist piece by Pablo Picasso.

While the map changed throughout the day – getting worse before it got better – many areas were still without power Tuesday night and as of Wednesday morning, outages continued to dot Roscommon County. We do know that crews worked throughout the day and night to restore power, and we’re thankful for that.

In early November, Michigan marks “Winter Hazards Awareness Week.” Like many awareness weeks, it sometimes passes without much notice, even with all the important “stuff” it brings.

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD), offers guidance on preparedness as “Severe winter weather poses health and safety concerns with cold temperatures, freezing pipes, potential propane shortages and power outages.”

Advice runs from weatherproofing homes to locking in propane rates (and having a backup heating plan) to having furnaces inspected by qualified professionals. Cleaning gutters and chimneys and checking smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are also on the list.

Another important piece of advice:

“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.”

How many people searched for a flashlight Tuesday morning? How about extra water?

While it got chilly Tuesday, it likely did not meet the dangerous cold level and pipes were not in danger of freezing. However, Tuesday’s tough weather and the issues it brought served as a good reminder to get prepared for the upcoming winter season.

And, if your situation was anything like that of the staff at the Resorter’s, it is also worth haing an emergency plan to brew coffee.

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