It's that time of the year again—time to turn your clocks ahead one hour.
The days are growing longer, and soon we'll be welcoming spring. This weekend, when you turn your clocks ahead an hour for daylight saving time, get prepared for spring by doing a few things that could save you time during a disaster or emergency situation, when every second counts.
"Sometimes, taking action to get better prepared becomes easier if we incorporate it into activities we're already going to do," says Darlene Sparks Washington, director of preparedness for the American Red Cross. "When you go to the grocery store, you can pick up an extra gallon of water for your disaster supplies kit. When you set your clock back, you can also check the batteries in your smoke alarms."
The American Red Cross recommends that you change your clocks, do the following:
- Check the smoke alarms in your home and at work. Don't forget to check your carbon monoxide detectors as well.
- Update the emergency contact information in your family communications plan. Choose an out-of-area emergency contact that each person in your family can call if he/she becomes separated during a disaster situation.
- Make sure that your disaster supplies kit still includes at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food items and water (one gallon per person per day), a flashlight, a battery-powered or crank radio, can opener, first aid kit, copies of important documents, and special items such as medications, diapers, and infant formula.
- Check your disaster supplies kit for expired food items and freshen staples such as water, food and batteries. If there have been changes in prescriptions or dietary needs, add new foods and medications as needed.
Making Seasonal Changes
With spring on the way, you may also need to make seasonal changes to your disaster supplies kit. For example, soon you will be needing to stay cool instead of warm, so swap your blankets for lighter sheets and bedding and your warm clothing (such as sweaters and jeans) for lighter pants and T-shirts. Sunscreen lotions, glasses and hats, and insect repellents will also become more important components of a disaster supplies kit as the weather warms up and days get longer. You may even choose to add a small battery-powered fan.
Taking simple steps like these can help you prepare for the future. So, when you turn back the hands of the clock this weekend, take a few extra minutes to ensure that you and your family are better prepared for the unexpected.
For more information on building a disaster supplies kit or becoming Red Cross Ready, visit RedCross.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross provides relief to victims of disasters at home and abroad, collects and distributes nearly half of the nation's blood supply, teaches lifesaving skills, and supports military members and families. The American Red Cross, a charity and not a government agency, depends on voluntary contributions of time, money and blood to perform its humanitarian mission.