While we’ve recently enjoyed a stretch of unusually warm days in Superiorland, winter will soon be upon us once again.

It can be a magical season that’s full of natural beauty and recreational opportunities in the Upper Peninsula.

However, winter weather is associated with many hazards, including snowfall and ice that can make roads slick or even impassable, as well as low temperatures that can lead to freezing pipes, potential propane shortages, power outages.

These hazards make it critical to prepare your home and vehicle for the winter, as taking these steps ahead of time can ensure you’re ready for an emergency or even prevent one.

Due to this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed this week as Winter Hazards Awareness Week and we’d like to spread the word about several actions that can help ensure you’re ready for the season.

A few tips offered by the governor’s office to prepare your home for winter include:

≤ Weatherproofing your home by installing weather-stripping and caulking and insulating walls, doors and windows.

≤ Insulating any water lines that run along exterior walls, so pipes are less likely to freeze.

≤ Locking in a propane rate and have a backup heating plan, such as a generator, wood stove or fireplace.

≤ Having furnaces inspected by a qualified professional and change the air filter.

≤ Getting your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected. Contact your local fire department for a referral or look for a local inspector online.

≤ Installing battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors near every sleeping area.

≤ Cleaning gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Roof ice dams can cause water to build-up, leading to interior damage.

≤ Clearing 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.

≤ Having 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.

A few tips to prepare your vehicle for winter include:

≤ Getting your radiator serviced before winter and making sure to replace windshield wipers and wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture that will not freeze.

≤ Replacing any worn tires and check air pressure regularly.

≤ Getting your brakes, brake fluid, oil, car battery, heater and exhaust checked to make sure everything is running efficiently.

≤ Keeping an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle. It should be stocked with batteries, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, a flashlight, windshield scraper, jumper cables, mobile phone charger, shovel, blankets, first aid kit, non-perishable food and bottled water in case you are stranded or stuck.

We hope readers will take these recommendations to heart and get prepared to enjoy the Upper Peninsula’s long, beautiful winters safely.

For more tips, go to www.michigan.gov/miready or follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.

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