Storm safety tips from Consumers Energy:
"Consumers Energy is encouraging customers to be prepared for possible power outages resulting from heavy rain and potential severe weather across lower Michigan through Friday morning.
Significant rain in the past week, coupled with several inches of additional rain expected Wednesday night into early Friday, has prompted flood watches and warnings across the state. Downed power lines in standing water conduct electricity, making for an extremely dangerous situation. Assume all downed wires are "live" and stay at least 25 feet away from them and any wet areas they may be contacting. Call Consumers Energy immediately at 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency to report downed power lines.
Consumers Energy advises the public that if a flooded area is evacuated by local emergency management personnel, electricity and natural gas service will likely be shut off for safety reasons. After flooding recedes, check for the odor of gas before entering any areas. If gas is detected leave the area immediately and call 1-800-477-5050.
Consumers Energy is closely monitoring the weather situation and is in regular contact with local emergency management coordinators, especially in areas already experiencing flooding or where flooding is expected.
The American Red Cross is also encouraging residents living near flood-prone areas to stay alert, practice an evacuation plan, assemble an emergency preparedness kit and heed all official flood warnings. More information is available at the Red Cross website or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
In addition to the threat of flooding, the public is reminded what to do before, during and after a storm to stay safe.
"It's important that we take time to plan for dealing with severe weather during all four seasons," Burgers said. "Being prepared can minimize the impact of a storm and help you and your families stay safe."
Before and after a storm hits, Consumers Energy encourages citizens and customers to consider the following tips:
· Keep enough supplies for 72 hours - food, water, medication, etc. Remember to have food that doesn't require refrigeration or heating and copies of prescriptions as well as a first aid kit. Don't forget food / water for pets as well.
· Keep flashlights, a portable radio and extra batteries handy. For safety, battery operated lights should be used instead of candles which can cause a fire.
· Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms.
· Don't use generators in enclosed areas (garages, breezeways) or near other air intakes for risk of CO poisoning.
· When using a generator, make sure it is properly installed by a licensed electrician, for the safety of line workers and other emergency responders who may come near power lines.
· Charge your electronics prior to the storm and switch to a battery saving mode if power is lost. Limit non-essential calls so your devices are available for emergency information or contacting 911.
During a Storm
· Stay at least 25 feet away from all downed wires and always assume they are "live." Call Consumers Energy immediately at 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency to report downed power lines.
· Stay away from storm debris that might be entangled with power lines.
· Don't touch anything a power line may be touching including trees, fences and puddles.
· Never go into an area with electrical-powered equipment where there is standing water.
· Visit ConsumersEnergy.com on your mobile device, which immediately displays helpful outage and storm related information, including the online outage map.
After a Storm
· Check on neighbors or family members who may have been affected by the storm.
· When safe to leave your home, check on neighbors or family members who may have been affected by the storm; especially those with specific concerns such as the elderly and individuals with infants, limited mobility or other special needs.
Monitor your local radio station or Consumers Energy's online outage map, on your mobile device or desktop computer to get the most current power restoration information. The site allows customers to report an outage, get estimated restoration times for outages and view outages on a detailed map. Customers can also report power outages by calling Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.
Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), provides natural gas and electricity to 6.8 million of Michigan's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.