NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJMN) – November 5 through 11 is Winter Hazards Awareness Week in Michigan and that means it’s time to start gearing up for the winter.

While you check your heaters, make sure your chimney’s are clear, and prepare your home, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for driving this winter.

“One of the big key things we really want you to do is to drive slow on that ice and snow,” said Daniel Jablonski, a Meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “You lose a lot of that time you can react to anything in front of you. So giving yourself enough space between the vehicles in front of you, especially the plows when they’re driving through and then just taking it slow. Make sure those headlights are on. And then before you go out on the trip that you’re going on, you want to be prepared so having the shovel in the back, you want to have a blanket, bring water and food with you just in case. Pay attention to the forecast so you know what kind of risks you’re gonna get into when you’re driving on the roads. And if things are getting too dangerous, if you’re getting into heavy winter storms and whatnot, you might have to move your travel plans. So just be prepared for those sorts of things as we’re ramping up for the winter season.”

Some ways Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, or MSP/EMHSD, suggest to winter proof your home are to insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls, have your fireplace and chimney inspected, and install carbon monoxide detectors anywhere someone would be sleeping. 

Here is the complete list of ways to winter proof your home given by MSP/EMHSD:

  • Weatherproof your home by installing weather-stripping, caulking, and insulating walls, doors, and windows.
  • Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls, so pipes are less likely to freeze.
  • Lock in a propane rate now and have a backup heating plan, such as a generator, wood stove, or fireplace.
  • Have gas or oil furnaces inspected by a qualified professional and change the air filter.
  • Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected. Contact your local fire department for a referral or look for a local inspector online.
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors near every sleeping area. CO poisoning is most prevalent when furnaces are turned on to fight cold winter temperatures, but commonly occurs after winter storms and accompanying power outages, when people tend to rely on portable generators for electricity.
  • Clean gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Roof ice dams can cause water to build up, leading to interior damage.
  • Clear storm drains along the curb to enable water to drain. If plugged, water has the potential to go into low-lying areas and flood basements.
  • Have an emergency preparedness kit stored safely in your house that includes water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, extra batteries, a battery or hand-crank powered radio, emergency lighting or flashlights, extra blankets, and warm clothing.

Some ways MSP/EMHSD are suggesting you prepare your car for the winter are to take in your vehicle to get services and checked, replace worn tires and check air pressure regularly, and to keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle.

Here is the complete list of ways to winter proof your vehicle given by MSP/EMHSD:

  • Have your radiator system serviced before winter and make sure to replace windshield wipers and wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture that will not freeze.
  • Replace any worn tires and check air pressure regularly.
  • Have your brakes, brake fluid, oil, car battery, heater, and exhaust checked to make sure everything is running efficiently.
  • Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle stocked with batteries, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, windshield scraper, jumper cables, mobile phone charger, shovel, blankets, first aid kit, non-perishable food, and bottled water in the event you get stranded or stuck. 

If you want to know more, you can find MSP/EMHSD’s website here.