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Changing the Clocks

24 Oct, 1997

This tip was written and submitted to us by Jo Anne Gray, secretary of PEP-C (Peninsulas Emergency Preparedness Committee) serving the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsulas of Puget Sound Country, Washington.

Change the Clocks (and a few other things)

Change more than just your clocks at the time change!

Change is in the wind, in the weather, and in the length of the day. It's the time we change our clocks to or from daylight savings time. But this twice-a-year exercise is also a good reminder to change other things as well.

You've been told to change or check your smoke alarm batteries at this time. Well, add a few more changes to your list.

Change your emergency water supply you have stored.

All water except the 5-year pouches should be changed and replaced every six months no matter what the source. Your outside barrels should be rinsed with 1/4 cup of bleach in 2 gallons of water, swished around and poured into the next container to clean it. Refill with clean water, add bleach in the proper amount, leaving head space for possible freezing, and re-close. Same goes with your 2-liter bottles in storage in your garage or shed, and in your cars. Your car kits include emergency food and water for 3 days, right? 1 or 2-liter bottles fit well under seats (held in place with bungee cords), in stowage compartments in vans, and in spare tire compartments. You can fit them into your garage fridge freezer to increase efficiency and provide ice for power failures.

You are rotating your emergency food supply as you purchase new items but this is a good time to recheck it and be sure items with expiration dates are used soon.

Again, the same goes for your car kit and office kit. Except for long-life specialty items like MRE's and 2400 Calorie food bars, your emergency food should be primarily foods your family likes to eat so using them up in rotation should be easy. Remember to rotate your emergency pet food also.

While you're at it, check your first aid supplies.

Some items like hydrogen peroxide deteriorate, as do some bandages (they fall apart into powder). Check for any medications or supplies that expire in potency.

You should be rotating your prescription medications as you purchase them.

But now is a good time to take inventory and be sure your emergency supplies are fresh. One of the biggest needs after recent disasters was prescription medications and glasses.

Update your info

  • Update your emergency information everyone in your family carries.
  • Have your work phone numbers changed?
  • Do you have a new cell phone number?
  • Is your out-of-area emergency contact on board with all the changes and does everyone have current info to reach your contact person?
  • Has someone bought a new car?
  • Do you have your kids' auto descriptions and license numbers if you need to search for them?
  • How about current pictures?

Now is also a good time to update your household inventory and insurance information you keep in your safe-deposit box or freezer.

You will need this information in case of a loss.

The change of seasons is a reminder to be sure your car kits have warm clothes (that still fit) in case you get stuck somewhere on the road.

Next time you look out and smile at the Oregon Juncos pu-pu-pu-ing their happy way among the shrubbery, thank them for this reminder to be prepared for whatever comes our way.

-- Jo Anne Gray