People in West Michigan prepare for possible overnight power outages

    People in West Michigan prepare for possible overnight power outages. (WWMT/MGN Online)

    There could be massive power outages on the morning of Feb. 12, 2019, depending on how much ice accumulates overnight.

    Ed and Jennie Hessler have thought about their plan if the power goes out in Kalamazoo on Tuesday.

    "We have a generator that might have not have been used for 10 or 15 years, so I would probably have to take out the spark plug and clean it or put a new spark plug in," Ed said.

    Consumers Energy has hundreds of crews standing by in case things get bad. The company restored power to more than 200,000 people around Grand Rapids after ice storms hit the area.

    Generators were flying off the shelves at Gales True Value in Kalamazoo.

    "Our stock is low right now, but we are expecting more Wednesday," said Gales True Value Manager Brad Rowgo.

    Rowgo said investing in even a small generator could keep a fridge and small appliances going.

    "A TV and whatnot you could run off smaller ones because they don't generate a whole lot of uptick when they first kick on," he said.

    He said generators are usually pretty safe, but there are hazards to consider.

    "One big safety risk is if you plug in right directly into your box. Consumers is a huge no-no on that, because they don't want a generator that's kicking electric back out to the pole and they are working on it. Then you have a generator producing current," Rowgo said.

    If you don't want to splurge on a generator, Rowgo recommended you at least have a flashlight and batteries at home.

    During a power outage, keeping your food fresh is important.

    The Red Cross recommends keeping some Styrofoam coolers and ice on hand so you can keep your food chilled.

    The Michigan State Police have a list of what you need to be prepared for severe weather on their website.

    MSP suggests a backup heating source. A backup heating source prevents pipes from freezing and keep your home warm in the event of an outage. Make sure that gas generators or fuel-based heating systems are vented outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors near every sleeping area. Carbon monoxide poisoning is most prevalent when people rely on portable generators for electricity during outages.

    There are items that the MSP also suggests when preparing for a storm:

    • Water, at least three gallons of water per person
    • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person
    • Prescribed medications
    • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • First aid kit
    • Whistle to signal for help
    • Pet supplies
    • A complete change of clothing and footwear for each person
    • Bedding
    • Important family documents
    • Extra clothes and blankets

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