Daylight savings time ended about 2 this morning. Most families will wait until today to adjust the appliances and clocks around the house, but there are a couple of other chores that should be done at the same time.
Change the batteries in the smoke detectors. There should be one on every level of the home and there should be one in both the hallway or other common area as well as in the sleeping areas.
When the battery has been changed, check the alarm to make sure it works.
Additionally, check the battery in the carbon monoxide detector. Again, when the change has been made, check to make sure the device functions correctly. If your home lacks either of these devices, add them now.
New homes are often built with the smoke detectors hardwired directly into the power supply of the home. Check those to see if they are in proper working order.
Take a little time and clean out the gutters along the roof edge. If they are free of pine straw and dead leaves, there is no chance that a stray spark from a fireplace, either in your home or your neighbors'' will land there and smolder until a blaze starts. It also reduces the chance that water will puddle there, creating a place for mosquitoes to breed and also the possibility that the roof may leak nearby.
If you have a fireplace, have a chimney sweep come in and do his work before the heating season starts.
It is also a good idea to have the heater checked before first use.
Every extension cord should be checked out now. While the use of these cords is not as safe as using a wall plug, in many cases they are a necessary evil. It is a simple thing to check them now for wear or cracks. Throw away any that show signs of age and replace them with newer, safer ones. It is an easy, cheap safety measure.
Go by the homes of your parents or other people who may need help accomplishing these tasks, and do for them what they may not be able to do for themselves. The fire department will often send someone around to help elderly or disabled residents change the batteries in and check the working order of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. All you have to do is ask.
The department would far rather come do that than respond to a fire at the same address and face the risk that someone is still trapped inside because the smoke detectors did not go off.
It is also a very good idea to check fire extinguishers, or take them to the station house nearest you to have it checked. If your kitchen is without an extinguisher, get one. It may be the difference in a small kitchen fire and a home that is a total loss.
The busy autumn months can be a happy carefree time, but it is also full of opportunity for disaster in the form of fire or other household accident.
A little time now would be well spent in prevention, rather than a lot of time spent later when the preventable happens where you never thought it would – to your