State Police: Be Proactive in Preparing for Severe Weather

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While Michiganders are celebrating the arrival of spring, they also are being advised by the Michigan State Police that they should prepare in advance of the severe weather the season brings with it.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed March 24-30 as Severe Weather Awareness Week, and the State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division encourages residents to prepare before the weather hits. A voluntary statewide tornado drill is scheduled for 1 p.m. March 27.

“Spring and summer can bring fast-changing weather conditions that increase the potential for severe weather,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, state director and commander of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. By taking steps to prepare before severe weather strikes, you can lessen the impacts a disaster could have on yourself, your family and your property.”

Steps residents can take to be better prepared for severe weather conditions include understanding severe weather warnings and terms, putting together an emergency preparedness kit, making an emergency plan and creating an emergency contact list.

Four tornadoes were confirmed having touched down in Michigan on March 14, according to the National Weather Service. Two of the twisters were in Shiawassee County near Corunna and Vernon. The other two occurred near Flushing and Genesee Township in Genesee County. 

Ready.gov recommends the following be in a basic disaster supplies kit. To assemble a kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put the entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Consider adding the following items to an emergency supply kit based on individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

After assembling the kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Since nobody can predict where they will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

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