Here are the assignments to take care of this week.
- Check all of your smoke detectors, whether or not they are beeping, vacuum any dust out of the inside using an upholstery brush attachment. Press the test button and make sure they are functioning. Do this when the kids are around so that they learn what the noise sounds like and what it means. You'll change the batteries in the spring.
- Check all of your Carbon Monoxide detectors. Dust them out. Press the test button and make sure they are working. Do this when the kids are around so that they learn what the noise sounds like and what it means. If you have a fuel-burning heater or appliance, a fireplace and/or an attached garage, you should have a carbon monoxide detector installed within 15 feet of each bedroom in your home. Last year Colorado had 5 deaths in 2 months from carbon monoxide poisoning all of which would have been prevented if there had been monitors in those houses. The state passed a new law that sellers/landlords of buildings with fuel-burning heater or appliance, a fireplace and/or an attached garage must provide well-functioning carbon monoxide alarms near bedrooms in any homes that are for sale, rental housing such as apartments that are leased to new tenants and all new construction must have them as well. If you don't have any CO detectors get them and install them this week. You'll change the batteries in the spring.
- Take this opportunity to go over your household emergency plan or to make one. The Ready.gov site had great recommendations on how to set up an emergency plan for your family.
- Check your family Emergency Kit and replenish any outdated supplies. If you don't have one, take the time to set one up. This site has information about what to have in your family kit.
- Make a fire escape plan and practice it with all the members of your family. Plan where to meet once you've all made it outside. Here is a good site with information on how to set up a fire escape plan.
- Go through all of your medicine cabinets and check the expiration dates of all prescription and over the counter medications and ointments. Don't ever take medication that has expired!
Medications (over-the-counter and prescribed) can become poisonous when they age and if taken can cause severe reactions and even death. Medicine if not stored properly, can expire before the expiration date. Sunlight, humidity and heat can be alter medicine regardless of expiration dates so medicine should be stored in a dark dry cool place. A hall closet or a cupboard that is not in a bathroom is the perfect place to store them.
- Go through all of your vitamins and mineral supplements and check them for expiration dates.
- If you have any medications or vitamins that have expired, keep in mind that they are now considered a toxic form of Household Hazardous Waste. The worst thing that you can do is to flush them down the toilet or down the sink where they can dissolve into our drinking water supply. Check with your local pharmacy to see if they will accept expired medications back for proper disposal. You may also drop off expired medications at hazardous waste collection locations. If they do not provide this service and you must dispose of your unused medications in the trash, try dissolving solid medications in some water and then adding the liquid to some kitty litter or flour to re-solidify them. You should also add flour or kitty litter to liquid medications to make them into a paste or solid. This can help keep the medicines from being taken accidentally by a child or pet.
- Check your supplies of items that you might need in a medical emergency. Band-aids, antibacterial ointments, large gauze pads, an ace bandage for minor injuries. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, decongestant, throat lozenges a thermometer, a flashlight and some antihistamine. I recommend gathering all your over the counter medications and bandages into one place in your home. I have some labeled shoe boxes, that are all together, in an upper cupboard in my house. In an emergency, there is no running around looking for something. All of the medical supplies are in one spot.
Have a great week.