Winter Storm Safety Tips
Winter Storm Safety Tips
Please see Weathering A Storm , for year-round safety tips, including generator safety and where to get help.
- Keep several days of food that does not need cooking or refrigeration. Remember to stock up on infant formula and baby food if you have children. If you plan on using canned goods, be sure to have a can opener that does not require electricity.
- Keep several days of water on hand (about 1 gallons per person per day for drinking, more for hygiene purposes) in case your pipes freeze or your loose power. Don’t forget to store extra water and food for your pets.
- Charge electronic devices and cell phones that can be used to report an emergency, check the status of a power outage or local emergency assistance. If possible, have an additional cell phone battery charged to act as a backup.
- Keep flashlights, a portable radio and extra batteries handy. Battery operated lights should be used instead of candles which can cause a fire.
- Keep a complete first-aid kit and a sufficient supply of prescription medications on hand at all times.
- Keep a written list of emergency numbers near your phone. Most hard-wired (non-cordless) phones will still work even in a power outage.
- If you have electrically powered life-support equipment, before a power outage occurs, ask your physician, nurse or equipment supplier about emergency backup. In an emergency, dial 911.
- If you have a generator, you must have it connected properly by a licensed electrician, for the safety and protection of our line workers and other emergency responders that may come near power lines.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms.
- Don’t use the stove or oven to heat a home, and don’t use generators in enclosed areas (garages, breezeways) or near other air intakes, windows or doors for risk of CO poisoning.
- Change smoke and CO detector batteries when resetting clocks for daylight savings.
- If a CO detector sounds, move to fresh air immediately and if experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms call 911. If no symptoms exist, call a qualified contactor immediately to have appliances checked. (There may be a few for this service.)
During a Storm
- Stay away from down or sagging power lines and any debris that might be entangled with power lines.
- Stay at least 25 feet away from all downed wires and always assume they are “live” and potentially deadly. If you see any downed power lines, Call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency immediately.
- Don’t touch anything a power line maybe touching; including trees, fences and puddles. A good rule is if you are in a safe location (like your house or car), stay there and then make sure you notify Consumers Energy.
- Be sure children and pets also maintain a safe distance.
- Don’t attempt to remove limbs or other debris from lines.
- Don’t interfere with utility crews while they are working.
- Keep one light “on” so you’ll know when your electricity has been restored.
- If power is lost, switch electronic devices such as cell phones to a power saving mode and keep all non-essential calls to a minimum to prolong battery life.
- Keep non-essential travel to a minimum, if you are leaving the house, turn the main breaker off. This will reduce the chance of appliance damage and safety problems if power is restored while you’re away.
- If you lose power, report it online or call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.
After a Storm
- Monitor your local radio station or Consumers Energy’s outage map on your mobile device to get the most current information on estimated restoration times. If internet access is not available, you can call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.
- Avoid traveling through storm-damaged areas which could have downed power lines and other hazards, and could slow down the restoration efforts.
- Report downed power lines immediately to Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or the local law enforcement agency
- Be very careful when attempting to clear debris or tree branches, that there are no power lines entangled. Stay far away from fallen or overhead power lines and do not touch anything they are touching.
- If your home loses heat during periods of extreme cold, go to a designated public shelter. To find the nearest emergency shelter in your area, you can use your mobile phone to text SHELTER then your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA), or call 2-1-1 (where available) for sheltering assistance. You can also visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency website from your mobile device, www.FEMA.gov and use its shelter-locating mobile application.
- When it is safe to leave your home, offer to help neighbors who may need special assistance, including infants, the elderly or people with disabilities.
In some cases, the mast that holds the electric service wires to your home or business may have been damaged or torn away from the home. Utility crews will reconnect the wires to your home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or cable. Do not touch any of the equipment. Only visibly check for damage to your mast from a safe distance, after ensuring there are no downed wires nearby.