Check your smoke and CO detectors, and be ready for an emergency

Posted 4 November 2014 at 12:00 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for Orleans County Health Department

If you noticed you are exceptionally early for things, you may need to double check your clock. This past Sunday everyone should have been setting their clocks back one hour for daylight savings time.

This is also a great time to look at protecting your family and your home. Check your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm batteries and clean them out according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Never remove batteries from either of these alarms other than to put in fresh batteries in the fall and spring when you change your clocks. If your alarms are more than 10 years old, or you don’t know how old they are, consider replacing them with new alarms.

Take time to go through your emergency supplies. Make sure they haven’t expired. Changing these items twice a year helps you know what you have and makes sure you don’t have expired foods or water in your emergency kits. You might also want to freshen up any clothes or blankets you have packed and make sure they are appropriate for the winter season.

If you haven’t already made one, make an emergency kit for your pets. Make sure you have at least a 3-day supply of water and food for your furry friends. Double check their vaccinations to make sure they are current and keep copies of them in their supply kit in case you have to leave your home in an emergency. Most public shelters do not allow pets, so plan ahead for your pets.

File photo by Tom Rivers – Much of Orleans County had its electricity knocked out in an ice storm last December, just before Christmas.

Contact your out-of-town/state buddies you have listed for your family to contact in the event you are separated in an emergency. Touch base with them to make sure you have their current information and remind them how important they are as a contact for your family. Offer to be their contact as well if you are able.

Make sure your emergency supply kits have fresh batteries, chargers, flashlights that work and other comfort items for sheltering in place or if you have to leave in a hurry. Keeping copies of current medical information for each family member, insurance forms, licenses, etc. will go a long way in helping during recovery efforts.

Make sure your house and vehicles are in good repair for the upcoming winter and keep emergency kits in your car and your workplace because you may get stuck someplace other than home.

Remember, when you turn your clocks back in the fall and forward in the spring, it is always a good time to plan ahead for safety. Have a great Fall season!

If you would like to ask the Public Health Educator a health related question to be answered in a future column, e-mail her at The Health Department reserves the right not to answer any questions deemed unsuitable.