Daylight saving time a great chance to refresh emergency preparedness steps

When completing the twice-yearly ritual of adjusting clocks for daylight saving time, make sure to replace batteries in all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors then examine your emergency preparedness supplies.

Across most of the U.S., families recently rediscovered all the clocks in their lives as they once again “sprung ahead” one hour to accommodate the change to daylight saving time. Emergency preparedness experts recommend adding a few steps to this twice-annual ritual of clock-changing to better protect homes and families from a variety of unexpected emergency situations.

Replacing batteries in both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors is a task that is simple and easy to complete. Checking your family emergency stockpile of food, water, and other basic necessities may take longer than simply adjusting clocks by one hour but is equally important. If you don’t currently have an emergency stockpile, take time now to begin assembling one.

 Whether the emergency you experience is caused by natural disasters (tornado, flood, winter storm, earthquake, wildfire, etc.), a pandemic disease outbreak or other factors, you could be without electricity and isolated at home for several days. With electrical power disrupted, it is likely you will be without clean tap water, refrigeration, heat (or air conditioning depending on time of year and location), and cooking facilities. An emergency stockpile will make your experience much more tolerable.

The American Public Health Association (APHA), a Washington, D.C.-based professional organization founded in 1872 for public health officials, has many programs aiming to improve public health. Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks assists families and communities in being prepared before disaster strikes. The website offers a variety of fact sheets, checklists, and other tools in both English and Spanish to help accomplish this task. It even offers several cleverly titled recipes for preparing meals during an emergency utilizing food items that are recommended as part of a family emergency preparedness stockpile. Pandemic peanut butter sandwiches and stuck-in-the-house tuna sandwiches are just two offerings.

The handy stockpiling checklist provided on the website includes basic supplies recommended to have on hand regardless of the exact nature of the emergency situation. This includes a three-day supply of drinking water and non-perishable foods, necessary medication, first aid and personal items, and copies of important documents. Fact sheets are available from the Get Ready website to assist in determining how much bottled water to have on hand, preparing for pets in emergency situations, and providing tips on where and how to store your emergency stockpile.

If you are on a limited budget, it is not necessary to purchase everything for your family emergency stockpile all at once. Even those without budget constraints may find the task of assembling all the recommended components all at once a daunting task. Stockpiling tips and a sample emergency stockpile grocery list are offered for your convenience

 The APHA suggests periodic examination of food items and bottled water in your emergency stockpile for insect and rodent damage. Also, make sure all items are still within the expiration dates the manufacturer has printed on them. As mentioned above, an excellent time to complete this periodic examination is when changing clocks each spring and fall.

To learn more about food safety issues, please visit the “Safe Food & Water” section of the Michigan State University Extension website. If you’d like to visit with a MSU Extension educator about a specific food safety topic, you can search for the appropriate resource person on Extension’s Find An Expert page.

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