Ready to spring forward? Daylight Savings Time 2019 will begin for most of the U.S. on Sunday, March 10th, at 2 a.m. Nowadays, with our cell phones, computers, and electronics changing their time automatically, it can be easy to forget the opportunity to perform important annual upkeep in your home. To keep your family and home safe, as well as prepared, make time for this short safety checklist.
Batteries. Check and replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Replace smoke alarm units that are older than 10 years and CO alarm units older than five years. Smoke and CO alarms should be installed on every level of the home. Smoke rises, so mount them high, and CO is heavy, so mount them near the floor. Don’t forget that you should also replace the batteries in clocks, timers,
thermostats, flashlights, electronics, radios, etc.
Lights. This is a good time to replace burned out light bulbs, too. Consider replacing conventional bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Make sure that your home is properly lit so that you do not have areas of shadowing where people can hide. Make sure your flashlights and lanterns are working in case of power outages.
Emergency Preparedness. Inspect your emergency supply kit, if you have one. If you don’t have one, prepare a kit that covers potential emergencies such as power outages, storms, tornadoes, lightning, and flooding. Water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, and blankets are necessary items. Each person should plan for 1 gallon of fresh water per day. Include a first aid kit and make sure that all your supplies are not outdated. Don’t forget to include your pet’s needs also!
Emergency Plan. Most importantly, have a plan. Make sure that everyone knows what to do, where to go, and how to contact emergency responders and other family members in case of emergency. Update your emergency contact numbers and keep them posted near the home phone and on all cell phones. Make the plan, review the plan with family members, and conduct a practice drill. Have a meeting place away from the home that everyone will remember and use it as a rally point when communication is lost.
Medications. Prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause serious problems if kept and used past their expiration date. Use this time change as a reminder to check unused medications and discard those that have expired dates. Never take someone else’s medication.
Chemicals. Check the home, garage, and out buildings for hazardous chemicals or materials. Make sure they are properly labeled and stored so they are not accessible to kids and pets. If they are no longer needed, or outdated, dispose of properly.