Power outages for more than one hundred thousand Michiganders could continue for several more days. Authorities are scrambling to respond to a growing emergency.
The Red Cross has opened shelters in West Michigan for people who can't stay in their homes, and they're warning people to be careful with alternative heat sources like kerosene heaters if they hunker down in their homes. Improperly vented heaters can release dangerous fumes. Electric heaters, fireplaces, and candles could start a fire if left unattended.
Vicki Eichstadt is with the Michigan Red Cross.
"Last night our shelter count between our four managed shelters was thirty-one people. We expect that number to increase and we're prepared to have more folks," says Eichstadt. More shelters may be opened if demand exceeds expectations.
The shelters opened by the Red Cross do not allow pets other than service animals. The Kent County Animal Shelter is providing free boarding for pets for those seeking shelter at Ottawa Hills High School, Union High School, North Rockford Middle School, and the Walker Fire Department. According to the county, residents should seek other pet boarding options first, because space is limited at the animal shelter.