Fall Into Autumn with Our Safety Checklist
Summer’s not quite over, but we’ve already had a taste of what’s ahead as recent cooler temperatures herald the first day of fall on September 22. The season has many things to recommend like our brilliant fall foliage and the crisp, clear days that make being outdoors in the garden or on a walk or a hike an invigorating experience. But autumn’s onset, with colder weather, icy storms and falling leaves in the forecast, may also present some challenges for seniors. Our fall checklist can help you prepare for and safely navigate the next few months.
- Get Out Your Rake: Fallen leaves and branches are a safety hazard. Keep your porch, driveway and sidewalks clear of debris to prevent accidental falls from wet or icy leaves. And consider installing handrails and non-skid surfaces on exterior stairs to help prevent a tumble.
- Plan for Snow & Ice: While you have your rake out, take a few moments to locate your snow shovel and car brushes and stock up on salt or sand. Place everything where it will be easy to locate on the first day you need to de-ice your walkway or brush the season’s first snow off your car.
- Seal the Leaks: As the weather turns colder, we want to keep the heat in and the cold out. Weatherproofing windows, doors and cracks that let in shivery drafts will keep you warmer and lower your heating bills. Moving your couch or favorite chair away from a drafty window or door can also keep you feeling cozier, along with adding a blanket or throw to snuggle under while you are reading or watching TV.
- Dress for Success: Have sweaters, jackets, warm socks, hats and gloves ready to go as we move into colder weather. Don waterproof, non-skid boots or shoes with good traction to prevent falls on wet or frosty autumn days. Keeping an extra jacket or warm blanket in your car in case you break down is also a good idea.
- Check Your Batteries: Every home should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Checking these alarms every month to be sure they are working properly can save your life in an emergency situation. Many fire departments recommend replacing the batteries in your detectors when you change the clocks in fall and spring. This year, Daylight Savings Time ends on November 1.
- Furnace & Chimney Cleaning: We’ll soon be cranking up the thermostat or adding logs to our woodstoves and fireplaces. If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to schedule your furnace and chimney cleanings to be sure everything is in tiptop shape for the fall and winter months.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Along with switching from summer to winter tires, ensure your car is in good working order for snow season by scheduling an appointment with your local garage to top off fluids and perform routine maintenance.
- Prepare for Power Outages: High winds, sleet, snow and ice can take down power lines. Stock up now on supplies you’ll need during an extended power outage, like candles, extra batteries for flashlights, non-perishable food, extra water, and prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Have a plan in place so that you can let family members or neighbors know that you are safe and okay.
Colder temperatures and stormy weather are a given in northern New Hampshire as fall gets underway, but there is no reason we can’t enjoy the next few months of colorful foliage, pumpkins, migrating birds, and other seasonal pleasures with just a little preparation to keep us safe, warm and comfortable.