Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall back for what? How about a safety check?

First, indulge my confuzilation.  Yes, I made that word up.

Daylight savings time has always baffled me.  Even more so because it's not universally observed in our country let alone across the world.  Time zones in and of themselves, make sense, although mightily confusing or annoying for those who straddle those lines.  Taking out and then putting back an hour is rather a bizarre attempt at... what?

Sure, I get it.  Darkness.  Light.  Believe me, my body loves daylight.  I am up with the sun, no matter when she rises and I am sleepy when darkness falls, no matter what time that is.  Our planet wobbles around the sun, the mighty giver of heat, light and indeed life and rotates on its own axis to create the apparent movement of the sun above and below the equator.  It creates variability in the length of the days.  It creates the beauty of the seasons.  It is a fascinating exercise in science to understand it all.

So why mess with it?  Why not just accept it as it is?  What is the big deal about 'creating' an hour in the fall and taking it away again in the spring.  The illusion of 'an extra hour of sleep' when we fall back this weekend is something everyone loves.  Until they have to 'spring forward' and lose it in the spring.  Why not just do away with daylight savings time all together and, oh, I don't know, just have a consistent 24 hour day all year round?  There are places in the world where they have periods of 24 hours of darkness or light.  The extra hour of light at either end of their day doesn't matter.  The reality is it doesn't matter for us, either.  It's an illusion.  We even tweak it!  It was moved by a few weeks not that long ago!

It seems our society wants more for less, even when it comes to hours in the day!  Is there a need to control something that strong?  "Oh, there is so much I can do with that extra hour!"  Really?  You could've done that without the time change, too.  You just didn't want to.  People who don't observe DST do it all the time!

From a practical standpoint, it has become a safety day, too.  I'm all about safety!  So how many of you use the occasion of 'springing ahead' and 'falling back' to actually change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors?  Do you push that test button to see if it works and to see how your family, especially your kids, respond?  The first time I did it, I learned my kids do not hear it if they are asleep!  Even though it is right outside their bedroom.  Do you have a fire escape plan?  A meeting spot?  Do your kids know what to do and where to do?  Discuss it and drill it this weekend.

While you are at it, discuss a disaster plan with your family.  Do you have a disaster plan?  Where will you go if you are ever evacuated and can't contact your spouse or family?  Have a designated spot or communication link (friend in another town/state) to relay information if you can't.  An emergency kit? is a great place to go for a list of what you should have in an emergency kit and activities to make it fun for kids to help you put one together.  In light of Hurricane Sandy, the tornadoes of the past few years and winter storms like 'Snowtober' last year and the ice storm of a few years ago, here in our local area alone there is an obvious need for being prepared.  If you already have an emergency kit, check it.  Be sure things have not expired.  Update documents.  Be sure the clothes in the kit still fit the kids!  Make sure it's portable easily!  How about emergency flashlights, a battery powered/crank radio that also charges cell phones and has a weather band built in since the NOAA channel is also the Emergency notification alert system, too. is a great place to find everything!

Is your car ready for the winter?  Do you have blankets?  Water?  Food like power bars in case you get stuck somewhere or in traffic with hungry and thirsty kids?  Do you have a first aid kit in your car?  A shovel, sand, ice melt and other helpful winter helpers?  Extra gloves?  Do you keep your gas tank full just in case?

Being prepared is always better than being stuck wishing you had prepared better.

So although I don't really understand the value of daylight savings, I do like the opportunity to review the safety of your home and your family and take action to be prepared in the event of an emergency, no matter how small or disastrous it may be.

Go forth and be safe!

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