State Police: Stay Smart and Safe during the Winter Storm; Be Aware of Fallen Power Lines, Hanging Tree Debris

Contact: Mr. Ron Leix, MSP/EMHSD Public Information Officer, 517-324-2304
Agency: State Police

SEOC News Release No. 1 – Dec. 28, 2015 – 9:30 p.m.

As today's hazardous winter storm starts to taper off, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is asking Michiganders to continue to make safety a priority.

“Everyone should be mindful of any fallen debris or power lines caused by this storm,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “Trees and limbs may become unstable due to the ice and strong wind gusts. Whether you’re removing fallen debris or using a generator due to a power outage, please be extremely careful.” 

At this time, more than 67,000 customers are without power across the state of Michigan.  There are currently no local emergency declarations or major road closures.

To be smart and safe during the storm:

  • Stay at least 25 feet away from any downed lines and assume that every line is "live" and dangerous.
  • Make certain any fallen tree debris is not in contact with a power line before clearing.  Trees and branches can conduct electricity and electrocute you on contact.
  • Report life-threatening downed power lines to 911; however, don’t call 911 to ask about a power outage. Report power outages to your utility company.
  • Never run a generator indoors.  Ensure it is outside and far away from windows or any other area where exhaust can vent back into a living area.  Carbon monoxide can cause injury or death.
  • Never use grills, camp stoves or other gasoline or charcoal burning devices inside of homes, basements, garages or near a window. These appliances give off carbon monoxide which can build up quickly in a home.
  • Never use a cooktop or oven to heat your home. These appliances are not designed for heating purposes and may result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Always follow operating and maintenance instructions for fuel-burning appliances and equipment.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and individuals with functional needs to see if they may need assistance.
  • Bring your pets and animals inside. Move livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

Individuals who need assistance or guidance during the winter storm are encouraged to call 211. The public is encouraged to monitor local news media for up-to-date weather reports and local emergency information.

State government offices will reopen on Tuesday, Dec. 29.  Employees should report to work at the start of their shift.  If unforeseen weather or infrastructure circumstances cause the need for further closures to be considered, updates will be posted on www.michigan.gov.

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is the emergency operations center for the state of Michigan. Located in Lansing, the SEOC is overseen by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division and coordinates response and recovery efforts by state agencies and local government.  The SEOC is staffed by members of state agencies for decision making and information coordination during disasters or emergencies in the state of Michigan.