Thursday, November 3, 2016

It is Daylight Savings Time again. Check your smoke alarms and these items too.

It's that time of year again, where we set our clocks back (or forward depending when you read this) and we get all the reminders from the talking heads on TV of whether you get another hour of sleep, heart attack rates spike up, energy savings and whether it is real or not, how lucky Indiana is, etc...  

Since we have got into the habit of remembering to check the batteries in our smoke alarms, and now our CO detectors; this is a good time for you and your family to develop bi-annual habits of checking various things around your home to ensure that in the event of an emergency you are prepared, or to mitigate the chances of a situation getting worse should it arise. 

Here are some things that I like to do bi-annually and I use this weekend as a reminder to get them done.  This is not an all inclusive list for you or your family, but use it as a general guideline for you to formulate your own plans.


  • If you have a bug out bag (BOB) or any EDC gear, this is the weekend to check them out.  Check for expired medications, refresh your first aid kit, check any batteries for leakage and voltage (you should be using lithium batteries anyway) and just go through your kits.  Evaluate them to see if any items are still relevant in terms of technology or any new skills you have learned in the past 6 months.
  • Replace your Bic lighters.  They are cheap to begin with and their ferrocium flints can, and will, deteriorate over time.  
  • All ferro rods will deteriorate over time due to oxidation.  Coat your ferro rods with clear nail polish or any type of nail polish.  Coating them will stave oxidation off.  
  • Do you have any water stored?  You should have one gallon per day, per person stored up somewhere.  It's time to refresh it also.  I generally put seven drops of bleach (unscented, named brand) per gallon to ensure that nothing grows in it while in storage.  
  • Check the tire pressure of your spare tire.  When in the hell did you do that last?  Probably never.  Wouldn't you hate to have a flat, only to discover that your spare is flat also?
  • Check, clean and lube any firearms.
  • If you wear eyeglasses, do you have your latest old pair in your BOB or emergency kit?  Today might be the day to make sure they are in good condition and a prescription that you could wear for extended periods.  The last thing you want to do, is have to bug out while wearing your contact lenses, only to find out you cannot take them out for days.  This could lead to an eye infection. 
  • Check and rotate any foods that you have stored.  Be sure to mark your foods with a sharpie, since it is sometimes hard to read the factory dates.
  • And also, make sure, if you have pets, they have all their foods and medications in storage taken care of.  There are some OTC medications you should have on hand for your pets. This is posting -> OTC medications for your dogs
  • Do you have any leather footwear?  Get them ready for the snow and harsh elements that winter brings.
In your homes, test or check these items out.
  • If you have a basement or sump pump, test it.  Take a 5 gallon bucket of water, pour it into your basin and see if your sump pump works.  Check the drain lines to see if they are clear and not routed back towards your house.  Wouldn't you hate to have a failed sump pump the next rain storm and you happen to be away from home?
  • If your washer or dishwasher water supply lines are over 5 years old, inspect and/or replace them.  If one of these rupture (and it will happen when you are away from home), you will have a flood in your home.  These lines can and will deteriorate over time.
  • When have you had your chimney cleaned last?  The next ice storm that knocks out your power and you need to heat your home with your fireplace, is the wrong time to ask this question.  Failure to keep a clean chimney can result in a chimney fire.
  • Do you have any or all your documents saved in an electronic format, stored on a USB drive and somewhere in the cloud?  This is a good time to update your archives or begin one.  Take pictures of your home and the contents of your home, scan all birth certificates, important insurance documents, living wills, advanced directives, etc....
Hopefully this gives you an idea of things you can do this weekend to help in the event of an emergency, or to help mitigate the severity of an emergency should it arise.  This is not paranoia, but rather just being prepared.  We are all peppers to some degree.  That is why you keep a bottle of ibuprofen in your medicine cabinet and spare TV remote batteries in your junk drawer in the kitchen.  Just take your preparedness awareness to another level.  


Lastly...


If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out to me at chris.swanda@gmail.com