In southern California, it may not always feel like fall when it’s fall, but don’t let the heatwaves fool you! The kids are back in school, you’ve already enjoyed a Pumpkin Spice Latte or two, or several, stores are set up for Halloween. Soon enough we’ll be past the spooky season, then into turkey time, and then the marathon of December holidays are upon us (yes, December is technically mostly an autumn month). With all the busyness that is about to befall us (I swear that wasn’t intentional, sorry). And with busyness things can get lost in the shuffle–sometimes it’s your glasses, sometimes it’s a kid, sometimes a regard for safety. Mistakes happen. But often mistakes are preventable. With all you have going on, let’s prevent some oversights, yeah? Take this as a handy-dandy checklist of somethings to keep in mind as you enjoy this not-so-fall fall.
CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS: Unless you habitually leave things on the stove too often, it can be very easy to forget about our smoke alarms. After all, it’s not like anyone in their right mind is actively trying to burn down their house on the day-to-day. So, that said, it’s pretty easy to neglect and if left that way for too long, it may prove itself useless when you actually do need it. After all, fall is when the weather (supposedly) gets colder and we start heating the house. The changes in temperature make house fires more common. As we’re supposed to change out batteries twice a year, a great way to get in the habit of changing batteries when Daylight Savings begins and ends.
BEWARE THE CHILDREN: As you may be aware, children are back in school, and if they live local enough, chances are they may walk to and from school. Not to mention, they’ll be running amok, amok, amok all over when a certain candy collection holiday rolls around. Pay attention not only to the road for signs of children, but also road signs in general. Even if there isn’t anyone currently walking about, pay attention to signs that tell you if you’re in an area where foot traffic is regular (as if cues like residences and sidewalks aren’t obvious; totally not bitter about the one driver who nearly ran me over while I was on a walk).
UNCLOG YOUR GUTTERS: It’s probably been a while since they’ve seen some use. After all, this year (as of this writing) featured a record setting heat wave for Southern California. In the time since we’ve had any major rain, there’s a chance debris could have built up. Additionally, exercise safety when using a ladder when cleaning your gutter; be sure to wear footwear with a proper grip, make sure your ladder had a firm base, and maintain three points of contact at all times.
EMERGENCY KITS: In California, we are no stranger to wildfires. Every year, people are made to evacuate their homes. The course of weather can change quickly, forcing families to uproot themselves with mere hours to prepare. Having an emergency supply kit at the ready will give you some piece of mind in the midst of what could be a chaotic event.
Emergency Supply Kit Checklist (list from readyforwildfire.org)
- Face masks or coverings
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
- Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescriptions or special medications
- Change of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
- Don’t forget pet food and water!
Items to take if time allows:
- Easily carried valuables
- Family photos and other irreplaceable items
- Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
- Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.
For efficiency, if possible, keep your emergency supply it in your car or nearby (such as the garage) at all times for timely accessibility.