Friday, March 12, 2010

Daylight Savings Time Home and Survival Kit Update Checklist

On March 14th at 2 am (That's this Sunday) it is the Daylight Saving Time change time (one hour forward) and now is a very good time to check some things that you haven't thought about in a while. That is certainly a good thing to do, but is that the only thing you should do this time of year? Grab a pen and paper and let's look around your home.

Safety Equipment
I'm sure you heard the Public Service Announcements to change the batteries in your smoke alarm and to test them. If you have a carbon monoxide detector you may have to replace the detector portion as well. 
Fire extinguishers need to have their pressure checked. Are their locations noted on your home fire evacuation map?

Batteries and Battery Powered Equipment
Since you're changing some batteries already, this is also a great time to check the batteries in your flashlights, radios, and other battery powered equipment around your home and cars. Turn them on and see if they still work and if you still know how to use them.

Food and Water
Replace and stored food that has reached its expiration date. While water doesn't go bad long term storage does take its toll on taste. commercial bottled water should be fine indefinitely but water you have stored yourself in water jugs or barrels should be checked and replaced, if needed.

How well has your house and property weathered the winter? You might want to start another page and call it the Honey Do list.
Check under sinks and around outside faucets for water leaks. Drain your hot water heater. Not only will this clear the buildup of mineral deposits and silt, it will make the hot water heater more efficient and give you more available hot water and faster too, but also more drinking water in case of an emergency.
Look around the foundation, driveway and sidewalks for cracks in the concrete.
Check your foundation, deck and fence for damage or rotting with a pocket knife, particularly around the base of posts. Small piles of sawdust indicate signs of vermin or insect intrusion.
Grab your binoculars and inspect your roof for missing shingles and flashing.
Test your lawn mower, generator and other gas powered equipment and their fuel.

You probably use your car every day but have you taken the time to really look at it recently?
Check your tire's pressure and look for signs of wear, and don't forget the spare. Use a penny to check your tread depth, if you can see the top of Lincoln's head you need new tires. Look in the wheelwells for signs of rust.
Pop the hood and check the fluid levels and not just the oil and windshield washer but brake, steering and radiator. Look for leaks and worn belts. 
Get a helper and make sure all the lights work. 

First Aid Kit
Hopefully your first aid kit didn't see much use, but you need to check it for expired food and medications, put what needs replacement on your shopping list. If things have migrated to all parts of your home, bring them all back together into one central location. Update any contact information, medication changes or allergies in your document kit.

Emergency Kits
Do the clothes in your emergency kits still fit?
Does your document kit need updates to contact information or new serial numbers and pictures added? 
Is your resume/CV up to date?

Oh, and don't forget to set you clocks the night before. Spring forward, Fall back.