Power outages in Michigan aren’t just annoying inconveniences, they’re also dangerous. No matter what time of year it is, Michigan weather can turn nasty in a heartbeat. It’s up to us to be prepared for anything, including power outages. Here are a few essential tips to help you prepare for a power outage in Michigan.
Before a Power Outage
Make a Power Outage Survival Kit
One of the most important steps to help you prepare for a power outage is to make a Power Outage Survival Kit. Having a power outage survival kit, packed with all the essentials, helps keep you and your family safe throughout most power outages. The question is, what goes into your kit?
What Goes Into Your Power Outage Survival Kit?
- Flashlights With Extra Batteries
- Battery-Operated or Crank-Operated Radio
- Unscented Candles (NEVER Leave Candles Burning Unattended)
- Bottled Water (One Gallon Per Person, Per Day)
- Non-Perishable Food
- Multitool (With Manual Can Opener)
- First-Aid Kit
- 7-Day Supply of Medications
- Hand Sanitizer and Wet Wipes
- List of Emergency Contacts and Copies of Important Documents
Fill Up the Tub
Here’s a pro tip from someone who’s been through TOO MANY Michigan power outages: fill your tub as soon as the wind starts blowing. If you have a well pump that relies on electricity, as many of us do, then a power outage will take out your running water. That means no showers and no flushing the toilet.
The trick is to fill up your bathtub, or any other container, with water before the storm hits. When it comes to preparing for a power outage in Michigan, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. When you see the weather alerts, or if the lights start to flicker, fill up that tub.
Remember: If you think the temperature in your house will dip below freezing, then don’t fill up your tub. If the water freezes in your tub, then you run the risk of your tub cracking.
Invest In Surge Protection
When it comes to power outages in Michigan, the best way to prevent damage to your appliances and important electrical devices is with proper preparation. One of the best ways to prepare for a power outage in Michigan is by investing in surge protection.
Surge protectors come in a few different varieties. Smaller surge protectors plug into an outlet, allowing you to plug in and protect several of your expensive devices at once. The other type of surge protection is aimed at protecting the entire home.
Whole home surge protectors hook directly into your home’s power panel, creating a stopgap and protecting your entire home from destructive power surges.
Consult with a professional electrician, like the ones here at Mister Sparky Electrical, to ensure you get the right device and that it gets installed properly.
Get an Automatic Standby Generator
The best way to prepare for a power outage is to prevent it from ever happening in the first place. You can do this with an automatic standby generator.
Not only do automatic standby generators, also known as whole home generators, protect your entire home from a power outage, but they do so automatically. Professionally installed whole home generators hook directly into your home’s electrical panel. They detect when a power outage happens and automatically turn themselves on, ensuring you stay in the light.
With automatic standby generators, you don’t have to worry about fumbling around the garage/shed in the dark, looking for that dusty, old portable generator. You don’t even have to worry about refueling it because they’re hooked directly into your natural gas line.
Just like the whole home surge protector, automatic standby generators should only be installed by licensed professionals like the electricians here at Mister Sparky Electrical.
During a Power Outage
Dress For the Weather
This one’s a pretty obvious one: dress appropriately for a power outage. If the power goes out in the winter, then make sure you wear plenty of layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. It’s also a good idea to keep blankets in an easy-to-get-to spot in your house so you aren’t searching in the dark.
Michigan blackouts during the summer are terrible in their own unique ways, but the general idea remains the same: dress appropriately so you can keep cool. Wear light, flowy clothing so you can stay comfortable and avoid heat stroke. Make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration too.
Beware Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
One of the most common causes of hospitalization and death during a power outage is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is the invisible, odorless gas that’s released by burning fuel. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and confusion. Carbon monoxide quickly fills up a room if there isn’t proper ventilation and the results are downright deadly.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During a Power Outage:
- Never use a charcoal grill or other outdoor cooking tools inside your home or garage.
- If you use a portable generator, then make sure you keep it outside (not in your garage) and at least 20ft away from your home with the exhaust pointing in the opposite direction.
- Keep propane/kerosene heaters OUTSIDE where they belong.
- Don’t leave your car running in the garage.
- Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and outside all of your sleeping areas.
Stay Up To Date
During a power outage in Michigan, it’s important to stay up to date. We all know how fast the weather shifts here in Michigan; by keeping updated on the news and latest weather updates, you can stay prepared for anything the mitten state throws at you.
Stay updated during a power outage by using a radio with an alternative energy source. Whether it be a hand crank radio, solar powered radio, or even just a battery operated radio, this important tool becomes a lifeline when the power goes out.
Don’t Open That Refrigerator
During a power outage, keep your refrigerator and freezer closed for as long as possible. Your food stays fresh and edible inside that refrigerator for up to four hours without power. However, if you open the refrigerator, then those four hours start to go out the window.
The same idea is true for your freezer. A full freezer stays fresh for up to 48 hours during a power outage, 24 hours for a half-full freezer. You should only ever open your refrigerator or freezer if it’s absolutely necessary.
When the Power Turns Back On
Check Your Food
Once the power comes back on (and stays on), then it’s time to go through the post power outage checklist. First, check on your food. If your power was out for longer than 4 hours, then you may need to go through and empty the fridge. Remember the old cliché: “when in doubt, throw it out”.
Some of your food might still be ok, but as far as meat, eggs, poultry, fish, and dairy products, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep in mind, it’s not a good idea to do a taste test for any of your food after a power outage. Harmful food-borne bacteria forms very quickly and leads to some pretty rough illnesses.
Stay Away From Downed Power Lines
Another pro tip for when the power turns back on is to avoid downed power lines. It’s absolutely NEVER a good idea to go near a downed power line. Treat every downed wire as if it was live and don’t touch anything in the area to avoid injury.
If you see any downed power lines near or on your property, call up your local power company and avoid the area until they come out and take care of the problem.
Avoid Flood Areas
It’s also a good idea to avoid any flooded areas. Not only is there the risk of drowning in these flooded spots, but if any power lines are down in the area, then there’s a risk for shock or even electrocution.
Check On Vulnerable Family, Friends, and Neighbors
During a power outage, or any other weather-related disaster, community becomes incredibly important. With all the regular means of communication down, it can be difficult for people to reach out for help when they need it. This is especially true for the most vulnerable of our community.
When a power outage happens, it’s always a good idea to check on the vulnerable members of your community. This goes for all of your elderly and disabled neighbors. Checking in on your community ensures everyone has the support they need and no one is left out in the cold.
Prepare for a Power Outage With a Whole Home Generator
If you’re looking for the most fool-proof way to prepare for a power outage, then you’ve come to the right place. The professional electricians at Mister Sparky Electrical have tons of experience maintaining and installing whole home generators for homeowners all over Michigan. Whole home generators automatically kick on when the power goes out and turn off as soon as it comes back, ensuring you don’t suffer in the dark.
Give us a call at 800-574-2470 or reach out to us online to get a whole home generator installed in your home today. Want more tips and tricks for your electrical needs? Check out our blog for all the latest electrical information. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the full experience.