Police and Fire Reports By Annette Christie Michiganders urged to prepare for winter With winter weather approaching, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is encouraging Michigan residents to make winter emergency preparedness a priority. “Winter is well on its way here in Michigan and now is the time to prepare,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “By taking a few extra steps, you will ensure that you and your family are ready before winter weather strikes.” Severe winter weather poses health and safety concerns with cold temperatures, freezing pipes, potential propane shortages and power outages. Michiganders should consider the following actions to be prepared for the winter months. To prepare your home for winter: Weatherproof your home by installing weather stripping and caulking and insulating walls, doors and windows. Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls, so pipes are less likely to freeze. Lock in a propane rate now and have a backup heating plan, such as a generator, wood stove or fireplace. Have gas or oil furnaces inspected by a qualified professional and change the air filter every two to four months. Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected. Contact your local fire department for a referral or look for a local inspector online. Install battery operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors near sleeping areas. CO poisoning is more common in the winter months when furnaces are turned on and portable generators are often used for electricity during power outages. Clean gutters to prevent ice dams from forming. Roof ice dams can cause water to build up, leading to interior damage. 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. Have an emergency preparedness kit stored safely in your house that includes: water, nonperishable 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: Have your radiator system serviced, replace windshield wipers and refill wiper fluid. Replace any worn tires and check air pressure regularly. Have your brakes, brake fluid, oil, car battery, heater and exhaust checked to make sure everything is running efficiently. 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. In support of statewide winter preparedness efforts, Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed Nov. 4-10 as Winter Hazards Awareness Week. For more tips, go to www.michigan.gov/miready.
North Berrien Fire Rescue Department The North Berrien Fire Rescue Department responded to a total of 22 calls in the month of October. Those calls included three in the City of Coloma, three in Coloma Charter Township, 14 in Hagar Township, one on I-94, and one mutual aid to Watervliet Joint Fire Department. The type of calls include seven medical assists or assists to an EMS crew; five power lines down; one authorized controlled burn; three fire related calls; and six others.