A recent report by the US Government points to the potential of record-setting heat along with high precipitation across much of the United States and Canada in the coming years. This has many wondering about the viability of our DTE and Consumer’s power grids. In 2003 a massive power outage on August 14, 2003, left parts of at least eight states in the Northeast and the Midwest without electricity. All told, 50 million people lost power for up to two days in the biggest blackout in North American history. The event contributed to at least 11 deaths and cost an estimated $6 billion in damages.
Here in Michigan’s Thumb during that 2003 outage, power was on north of Imlay City. The blackout contributed to pushing record crowds into Michigan’s Upper Thumb and the surrounding region looking for supplies, gasoline, and fun at the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival. Many locals recall 2003 as the year that put the Caseville festival on the map.
Preparing for a Power Outage – What to Have
Looking ahead, we thought it was a good idea to provide a quick checklist for preparing for an extended power outage of at least three days. Here is the list of supplies and things to do to make the best of it.
Water – One gallon per person, per day
Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items. Canned or freeze-dried. Hiking/ Camping Meals Ready to Eat, MRE packaged is ideal. You will need a camp stove or outside grill.
Flashlight (NOTE: Do not use candles during a power outage due to the extreme risk of fire.)
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
First aid kit /Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
Sanitation and personal hygiene items
Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
Cell phone with chargers
Family and emergency contact information
Keep a non-cordless landline telephone in your home. It is likely to work even when the power is out.
Keep your car’s gas tank full.
Preparing for a Power Blackout – What to Do
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First, use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.
Then use food from the freezer. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
Garage Door – Know how to open your garage door manually if it is equipped with an automatic opener.
This list was prepared by the American Red Cross and other sources
Power Outage Map
DTEs’ service area has 2.2 million customers across 7,600 square miles. DTE has a handy power outage map that graphically shows where the power is out in your area. If you’re served by DTE this power outage map is an ideal resource. Just enter your zip code or zoom in on your location of interest.
Consumers Power Outage Map
Consumers Power outage map also shows how many outages and numbers of households affected by a power outage for their service area.
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