Be prepared for that unexpected winter power outage. by Jane Hart, Michigan State University Extension \u2013 Lake County The north winds are howling. It\u2019s in the single digits. You have no power. Unfortunately, this is an occurrence that sometimes happens in Michigan. If you don\u2019t have a generator to rely on, or a woodstove to stay warm and\/or cook with, it can be a matter of life and death. There are some things you can do in these circumstances. Michigan State University Extension recommends the following: If you have no alternative heat, you can call your local fire or police department or local Red Cross chapter to locate an emergency shelter. Call your power provider. If your power is likely to be out for more than a few days, you may want to call your plumber and ask about draining your home\u2019s water pipes so they don\u2019t freeze and burst. Keep your car\u2019s gas tank full. You never know if you may need to go to a warming station. What\u2019s more, your automobile can be a place to get warm, as long as you keep it well ventilated and don\u2019t go to sleep while the motor is running. Wear layers of clothing. Layering can keep insulating air between layers to help keep you warmer. Remember to keep your head and hands covered. Cook using charcoal or propane grills \u2013 ONLY OUTSIDE. If you use a pump for water and don\u2019t have any gallons put aside, gather snow and melt it in buckets to use in toilets. If you can keep a land line phone, do so. You won\u2019t have to worry about charging a cell phone. One good thing about losing your power in the winter is that your garage freezer is generally safe \u2013 you will be able to save those foods for use later. If your perishable foods in your refrigerator sit for more than two hours at a temperature more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, throw them out. What can you do before the next winter electrical outage? You can stock up on the following: ?\u2014? Oil lamps, candles, camping lights and matches ?\u2014? Battery operated radio ?\u2014? Flashlights, one for every family member ?\u2014? Fresh batteries ?\u2014? Non-perishable food items ?\u2014? Bottled water, juice ?\u2014? Propane for an outdoor grill or camp stove (do not use grills or camp stoves indoors) ?\u2014? Extra gasoline if you have a generator. A portable electric generator can be a valuable backup source of power to operate your furnace and appliances. ?\u2014? First-aid kit ?\u2014? Emergency numbers \u2013 fire, police, doctor, your electric company and Red Cross for emergency shelters ?\u2014? Waterless antibacterial hand sanitizer ?\u2014? Paper goods: Paper plates, paper towels, plastic ware ?\u2014? This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http:\/\/www.msue.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit http:\/\/expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).