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13 On Your Side helps with tips to survive a power outage

What you should do before and during an extended power outage?

MUSKEGON, Mich. — In most of Muskegon County it was freezing rain causing troubles in the early hours Thursday, Feb. 7. By noon the temperature warmed, turning freezing rain into heavy rain that flooded parking lots and sent steady streams of water down storm drains. 

What went down on Burton Street were a number of ice covered tree branches. 

RELATED: Over 100,000 without power in West Michigan; outages could last until Monday

One branch fell right on top of a car belonging to Vern Ainsworth's daughter. "This weather has been terrible," he said.

The damage left a large dent in the roof of the vehicle and shattered glass scattered on the vehicle's trunk.

"Hit the top and smashed the window," he said.

The power is out on Burton Street, and a number of other streets in the city of Muskegon. 

"We have been without power since this morning," said Carrie Locke.

The USDA says without power a good refrigerator should keep all food safe for at least four hours. Beyond that some of the food inside will begin to become unsafe to consume.

A good freezer that's full should keep items frozen for at least 48-hours. But both examples are when doors to the refrigerator and freezer remaining shut.
"We are not opening it at all," said Locke.

The Red Cross recommends everyone fill jugs of water before a storm. It's then batteries to flashlights should be tested. Just in case the power outage last several days, every home should also have a supply of ready-to-eat foods.

Consumers Energy said by tweet Thursday to stay warm during an outage use towels or blankets to block drafts from window or doors, break out camping gear like a sleeping bag, and locate a warming center by calling 2-1-1.  

"Right at the moment we do not have any warming shelters open like we did last week, but that's always something that we're trying to stay on top of," said Stacey Gomez, Executive Director Community Access Line of the Lakeshore.

The two week stretch of extreme weather has kept call specialists at 2-1-1 busy. On Wednesday 2-1-1 received about 300 calls.

2-1-1 is ready to help solve problems ranging from food assistance to heating bills, and issues resulting from power outages.

"They just dial 2-1-1, or they can text their zip code to 8-9-8-2-1-1," Gomez said. 

For those providing their own power by using generators it's important to keep them at least 20-feet from your home. That will keep dangerous carbon monoxide from entering a home.

Service agencies in Muskegon County are ready to receive even more calls on Friday, because the temperature is again going to drop below freezing. 

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