MECOSTA COUNTY - With winter weather rapidly approaching, Michigan residents are encouraged to make winter emergency preparedness a priority. Severe winter weather poses health and safety concerns with extremely cold temperatures, freezing pipes, potential propane shortages and power outages. "Michiganders are no strangers to winter weather," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. "I've proclaimed this week as Michigan's Winter Hazards Awareness Week to remind everyone to take a few steps to prepare for winter and ensure you and your family are ready for winter weather." Michiganders should consider the following actions to be prepared for the upcoming winter months. To prepare your home for winter: \u2022 Weatherproof your home by installing weather-stripping and caulking and insulating walls, doors and windows. \u2022 Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls, so pipes are less likely to freeze. \u2022 Lock in a propane rate and have a backup heating plan, such as a generator, wood stove or fireplace. \u2022 Have furnaces inspected by a qualified professional and change the air filter. \u2022 Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected. Contact your local fire department for a referral or look for a local inspector online. \u2022 Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors near every sleeping area. \u2022 Clean gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Roof ice dams can cause water to build-up, leading to interior damage. \u2022 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. \u2022 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. To prepare your vehicle for winter: \u2022 Have your radiator serviced before winter and make sure to replace windshield wipers and wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture that will not freeze. \u2022 Replace any worn tires and check air pressure regularly. \u2022 Have your brakes, brake fluid, oil, car battery, heater and exhaust checked to make sure everything is running efficiently. \u2022 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.