A winter storm watch is in effect for northern Michigan this weekend that includes freezing rain, ice, heavy snow, strong winds and hazardous travel conditions. These conditions usually cause downed power lines and outages. PIE&G has preparations made so we’re standing by ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible to restore power. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you prepare.

Charge your phone and have fresh batteries, flashlights and lanterns ready. Stock your pantry with non-perishable foods like cereal, crackers, snack bars, canned beans and fish, bread, peanut butter and jelly, and ready to eat items that don’t require cooking. Fill your laundry sink or bath tub half way with tap water for bathroom use, and have bottled water and gallon jugs or dispensers for drinking and cleanup. Have food and water for pets. Have some cash on hand.

If you use gasoline, propane or natural gas-burning devices to stay warm, never use them indoors. These fuel sources should always be properly ventilated.

Stay off the roads so crews can plow and salt. If you must travel, fill up your gas tank, allow plenty of travel time, use your headlights and take someone along or tell someone about your travel plans in case of emergency.

Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with a blanket, cell phone and charger, bottled water, prescriptions and packaged snacks or fruit. If you see downed lines across the road, stop! Do not attempt to drive over them. Always assume downed lines are energized and keep as far away as possible. Call 911 or PIE&G to report.

For more information, visit ready.gov/winter-weather or www.safeelectricity.org.