Daylight savings time ends on Sunday, November 4 at 2am. That’s when everyone turns their clocks back one hour. You’ll enjoy that extra hour of sleep. Mornings will be a little brighter and the evening will be a little darker.
But what can you do with that extra hour you picked up – other than catch up on sleep? How about a home safety check?
Smoke/Fire/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
One important safety check is to make sure your smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors have new batteries. But more important is to check the age of those detectors because they do wear out. Most detectors have a manufactured on date stamped inside the back cover. If yours is more than 10 years old, it’s time to have it replaced. New detectors have a 10-year sealed-in battery, so there’s no need to change them. But it is a good idea to test them every week to make sure they’re in good working order. Here’s more about smoke and fire alarms and how you can be safe.
Your Emergency Plan
At least twice a year, it’s important to review your emergency plan. Make sure you have a written list of important phone numbers. If there are new important documents that have have from a court or other official source, make sure the originals are in a safety deposit box or fireproof safe and you have copies in a separate safe place. This includes birth certificates, medical records, prescriptions, insurance policies, deeds and titles and educational transcripts. Here’s a quick checklist of what needs to go in your plan.
Your Emergency Kit
Now is a good time to check the emergency kit in your home and car to make sure they’re fully stocked and up-to-date. This includes fresh batteries for flashlights and radios. Rotate water and food in your kits as well as any medicines that you keep in your first aid kits. With the seasonal changes, you may want to update the clothing you keep in your kits with cold weather shirts, pants and shoes or boots. Here’s more about what needs to go in your emergency kits.
Around the house
Fall is also a good time to check around the house for items that need to be cleaned before winter. Something as simple as the aerators on faucets. Just unscrew them, rinse them out and replace them. Replace filters on your home heating equipment. If your refrigerator has a water filter, it’s a good idea to change that every six months as well.
Locate the shutoff valves for water and natural gas service in your home. Turn the water valve off and on a couple of times to make sure it hasn’t frozen shut. Locate the electrical circuit breaker or fuse box in your home and open the door and inspect it. Look for signs of overheating, such as charred areas around a breaker or fuse. Run your hand over the fuses or breakers to see if any are warmer than normal. If so, call a licensed electrician to make sure there no serious problem with your electrical distribution system.
NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio
An important appliance in your home is a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. Put one in the bedroom and one in a living area, so you’ll always know if severe weather is approaching. Make sure they’re plugged into a wall outlet and turned on. Change the back-up batteries with the time change. Remember that the newer weather radios can be programmed so that they only alert for severe conditions in your county.