Most people will gain an hour this weekend when they “fall back” early Sunday morning.
While you are changing your clocks, it’s also a great time to change the batteries in detectors … and check and rotate items in disaster supplies kits since cooler weather is coming.
Use the following tips to make this a family project and include the kids so they can help choose items for kits and learn where things are, and it’s a good opportunity to discuss your Family Plan.
- Change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors around your home. Officials suggest you test them at least once a month and completely replace detectors every 10 years.
- Pull out your home and vehicle kits and rotate stored water, food, medications and other items, and test and/or replace batteries if you stashed some in kits. Remember to pack items for all your pets … or better yet, make special kits for them so those are easy to grab & go during an emergency. Also include winter items in kits like warm clothes and other things described in our Winter driving tips post.
- If you haven’t already, take some time to make an Escape Plan that includes two escape routes from every room in the house. Draw a floor plan of your home showing doors, windows and stairways. Mark locations of first aid and disaster kits, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, ladders, and utility shut-off points. Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line or arrow charting at least 2 escape routes from each room … and walk through the routes with your entire family. Then practice, practice, practice by running drills with the family either monthly or quarterly.
- Update your Family Emergency Plan (this 6-pg PDF checklist can help you set up meeting places [esp with your children in case you are separated during an emergency], ensure all phone numbers are current, think about things for seniors, pets, etc.)
- Go through Important Family Documents and keep below items in a waterproof, portable safe container and update as needed. Keep copies of papers off-site in safety deposit box or with a family member — or scan all to a flash drive or CD or save to a secure cloud backup service.
- Extra set of car keys, cash, traveler’s checks and credit card
- Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
- Passports, social security #s/cards, immunization records
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card numbers, card companies + phone numbers
- Inventory of valuable household goods
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates, photo IDs)
- Recent pictures of all family members and pets for i.d. needs
Please feel free to download a 58-page portion of our IT’S A DISASTER! book to help you with the above preparedness steps (and more) at www.fedhealth.net/usfra.html.