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Use Daylight Savings to Review Your Emergency Plans

by Reading Hospital - Tower Health

Mar 08, 2024

Daylight savings is often celebrated because of the extra sunlight it brings, but it’s also a great time to check your safety plans. Ensuring your loved ones are prepared for emergencies is essential, so take this opportunity to check that your household smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order by replacing the batteries and conducting a test. It is also a good time to review your emergency evacuation plan and emergency preparedness kit. Since we change our clocks twice a year, it’s the perfect reminder to revisit your plans and check batteries.

Your Emergency Supplies

You may need different supplies for some types of emergencies, but there are some supplies that are useful in any situation. Food, water, medicine, hygiene, and first aid supplies are things you will need to have available. Depending on the situation, additional supplies may be needed. Following are suggestions for the items you should include in your emergency supplies.

At Home

Food and Water

  • Water for drinking and sanitation purposes, you will need one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Ideally, you should maintain a 14-day supply.
  • You will need at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person. Ideally, you should maintain a 14-day supply.

Other Helpful Supplies

  • Disposable dishes and eating utensils.
  • Manual can-opener.
  • Medicines (including prescription medicines).
  • Medical devices (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane).
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers).
  • Personal hygiene supplies (soap, moist towelettes, toilet paper, feminine supplies).
  • At least one pair of sturdy shoes and one complete change of clothing for every member of your family. Depending on the emergency, you may need to include winter clothing or rain gear.
  • Blankets and sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio. Also, consider a NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Two-way radios.
  • Flashlights.
  • Extra keys for your car and house.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting supplies (including regular household bleach, which is an effective disinfectant).
  • Plastic bucket with a tight lid.
  • Plastic garbage bags.
  • Plastic sheeting.
  • Duct tape.
  • Extra batteries for all electronic devices.
  • Books, games, and other activities for children.
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl).

Emergency Kit to Keep in the Car

  • Battery-powered radio with batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Flashlight and batteries.
  • Blanket.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Bottled water.
  • High-energy snacks.
  • Maps.
  • Shovel.
  • Flares.
  • Tire repair kit and pump.

Planning for Emergencies with Pets

When creating an emergency plan, don’t leave out your pets. Should you have to evacuate, a plan can keep pet owners, pets, and first responders safe. Leaving pets behind during a disaster often leads to injuries, runaways, or worse. In case of emergency, never leave a pet chained outdoors.

Research where your pet can stay in case of evacuation. Some local shelters will not allow pets, and many disaster evacuation centers don’t either. Make arrangements with friends or family out of town where your pets and other animals can stay. Determine the best boarding and animal hospitals near your evacuation route so that you have an option in case you can’t return home right away. Redrover.org can help provide sheltering assistance.

If an emergency happens when you are not home, have a plan in place for a neighbor or someone local that you trust to check in on your animals. Find out if they are willing to help them evacuate if necessary.

Should you need to shelter in place, remove any toxic chemicals or plants from the room. To avoid a scared animal getting stuck, close off any small areas or hiding spots, such as vents or beneath heavy furniture.

Emergency Preparedness for Pets

Pet Disaster Kit

  • You should have enough food and water for two weeks, stored in waterproof containers for each pet.
  • Include feeding instructions and tools needed to distribute food, such as a manual can opener.
  • Include a two-week supply of medications and instructions.
  • Documents that have been photocopied.
    • Veterinary records.
    • Rabies certificates.
    • Vaccinations.
    • Prescriptions.
    • Any other important health documents provided by your veterinarian.
    • Important contact information (name, phone number, address).
    • Recent photographs in case your pet becomes lost.
  • One month’s supply of flea, tick, and heartworm preventative.
  • Toys.
  • Cleaning supplies for accidents.
  • Litterbox for cats.
  • Pet first aid kit.
  • Beds or blankets.

Train Your Pets for Emergencies

When forming a plan for evacuating, include pet training. Practice having them enter their carriers and make sure they are comfortable. Take them for car rides similar to your evacuation route. If unsure of transportation, contact your local government to learn about transportation options during a disaster.

Identify your pet’s favorite hiding places so that if they become scared, you will know where to find them. For cats, practice catching them using a carrier, pillowcase, or sturdy box. The quicker you can get them out of harm’s way, the better.

When practicing your evacuation plans with family, include your pets so that everyone knows their roles, where to be, what to take, where to find pets, and where to meet.

Combat Negative Health Effects Brought on by Daylight Saving Time

Plan for better sleep, and you will notice benefits for your health.

Data suggests that transitioning into Daylight Saving Time is associated with negative health impacts. One cause is sleep deprivation, and it is bad for physical and cognitive health, as it can throw off circadian rhythms. Those who tend to sleep later in the day and stay up later at night are more susceptible to these negative effects.

  • Maintain a sleep routine. If possible, try to get seven to nine hours of sleep at night. The night before Daylight Saving Time begins, aim to go to bed one hour earlier than you usually do. The best way to do this may be to set your clock an hour earlier during evening hours on Saturday.
  • On Sunday, go to bed earlier than usual and try to get plenty of sleep to prepare for the week ahead.
  • Spend mornings outside. In the days leading up to Daylight Saving Time, try to get outside in the morning. The natural light can help preserve your circadian rhythm. Morning activities can raise your body temperature, which in turn can help reset your internal clock.
  • Wind down at the end of the night. One or two hours before bedtime, avoid excess amounts of alcohol, caffeine, and blue light exposure. While you may be tempted to spend more time outside in the evenings, the extra light can make it harder to fall asleep.

By focusing on sleep, we can reduce the risk of health issues brought on by Daylight Saving Time, such as mood disturbances, increased stress levels, and hospital admissions. Long-term health effects can be a decrease in heart health, obesity, and even diabetes.

Studies have also found that sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in car accidents due to people driving while more tired than usual. Though Daylight Saving Time can disrupt your internal clock, most people feel back to normal after a few days.

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