Red Cross reminder: Check smoke alarm batteries when turning clocks back

It’s time to turn the clocks back and enjoy the extra hour lost in the spring. The end of Daylight Saving Time Sunday, Nov. 1, is also a great time to make sure your household is prepared for emergencies.

“People should add checking their smoke alarms to the ritual of turning the clocks back,” said Leslie Schaffer, regional executive director of the American Red Cross Iowa region. “It’s a good time to change the batteries and push the test button to make sure the smoke alarm works. It’s also a good time for people to hold a fire drill so everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.”

When everyone turns the clocks back, it’s also a good time to make sure their emergency preparedness supplies are ready for the fall and winter. An emergency preparedness kit should include, at the minimum:

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food items and water (one gallon per person per day)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or crank radio
  • Can opener
  • First aid kit
  • Copies of important documents
  • Special items such as medications, diapers and infant formula

If someone already has an emergency preparedness kit, they should check it for expired food items, and refresh staples such as water, food and batteries. If there have been changes in prescriptions or dietary needs, add new foods and medications as needed.

Update the emergency contact information in the family communications plan. Choose an out-of-area emergency contact that each person in the household can call if he/she becomes separated during a disaster situation.

Taking simple actions like these can help people be better prepared for emergencies.

For more information on how to prepare for all types of emergencies, people can visit or contact any Iowa Red Cross Chapter office. In central Iowa, call 515-243-7681.

 About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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