Preparing for Power Outages

By Abigail Haller, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan

Michigan is known for its erratic weather and harsh winters. Even though it may be difficult to predict when a snowstorm will arrive, being prepared is something anyone can do. Being prepared before, during, and after a winter storm can alleviate stress and help keep you and your loved ones safe. The Michigan State Police have provided several quick and easy guidelines to follow that can save time and energy.

Here are a few tips to be aware of:

  • Weatherproof your home before the winter season begins.
  • Never attempt to thaw frozen pipes with any open flames.
  • Wearing multiple layers of thinner and loose fitting winter clothing is more effective than one thick layer.
  • Heavy snowfall can hide downed electrical lines so be extra cautious if you need to go outdoors.

The Department of Homeland Security recommends everyone have a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit in an easily accessible location at home, especially older adults. There are many things to think about when creating a kit, but everyone will have unique needs to consider.

Some main items for a generalized kit include:

  • Battery operated flashlights or lanterns and extra batteries
  • Water
  • Food items that are considered non-perishable (Supplemental meal shakes, dried fruits, canned goods, etc.)
  • Over the counter medications like pain relievers and allergy medications
  • Antiseptic and antibacterial supplies, bandages, and other first-aid kit items
  • Hand and foot warmers

Additionally, there are other items to consider when making a preparedness kit for older adults:

  • Prescription medications
  • Medical equipment such as catheters or insulin supplies
  • Hand crank radio and cell phone
  • Emergency contact list of family members, neighbors and medical/healthcare providers

Being prepared for the potentially hazardous weather ahead will give you peace of mind as we move into the holiday season. As you say farewell to summer, I hope these resources help you create an emergency preparedness kit to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Abigail Haller is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan. She has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since October 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Abigail helps seniors in Michigan apply for benefits so they can feel comfortable with the application process.