Ready to spring forward? Daylight Savings Time 2020 will begin for most of the U.S. on Sunday, March 8th, 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 Include a first aid kit and make sure that all your supplies are not outdated.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.
Setting all the clocks, watches, and appliances to the new time is the easy part of Daylight Savings Time. The hardest part of ending Daylight Savings Time might be adjusting our “body clocks” to the time change. Studies have shown that it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a week for our bodies to adjust to the rapid change in time and daylight hours, so take it slow during adjustment.
As the temperatures rise and the days become longer, you are going to want to be outdoors. Think about cleaning the gutters for the upcoming rains, cleaning up the yard of leaves and sticks, prepping your bicycle for road safety, and getting ready for lawn care season by checking over your equipment carefully.