Spring Safety Tips for Home and Vehicle

Spring Safety Tips for Home and Vehicle

Each time the season changes, it’s good to assess your family’s safety. Here are some other tips that can help you to have a safe spring – and a safe summer, fall, and winter, too!


Pandemic Safe. Of course, this year the word “safety” is impossible to separate from the measures we are taking to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Although the days are getting warmer and brighter, and we long to go back to being able to socialize with friends and family, it’s important to maintain safety measures until most of us have been vaccinated. Continue to wash your hands frequently, wear a face covering when you are near others, and don’t gather in big groups. Follow public health guidelines until we can be sure that the vaccine is effective in protecting us all. Remember that even after you’ve been vaccinated, it may take up to 29 days after you receive the final dose before your immune system is able to significant protection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And even after that, you should exercise caution.


Home Safe. Encouraged by fire departments across the continent, many of us use the “Spring forward” Daylight Saving Time clock change as a reminder to switch out the batteries in our home smoke detectors. Make sure that you check the dates on the detectors, too, and replace any unit that is more than ten years old. Ontario law requires that there be a working smoke detector on each floor of your home, and outside all sleeping areas. Remember to include an adequate number of accessible fire extinguishers in your fire safety considerations, and make sure all family members know where they are and how to use them.


You can also use the “Spring Forward” reminder to update your family’s emergency plan and to replenish your emergency kit. Experts recommend having an emergency plan in place in case of a natural disaster or a severe weather event. Every member of your family should be aware of the plan, which should include ways to communicate with one another in case family members are separated when disaster strikes. It should also include a getaway plan with a variety of routes mapped out ahead of time in case you need to be evacuated.


You should have a well-equipped first aid kit that is easily accessible, as well as an emergency preparedness kit that includes items such as bottled water, packaged or canned food (and a can opener,) blankets and sleeping bags, an adequate supply of necessary prescription medications, toilet paper, duct tape, an extra pair of eyeglasses, battery-powered flashlight/radio, cash, important family medical information, special items such as diapers or formula for babies, rain gear, and an extra set of car keys.


Spring is also the season of flooded basements, so protect your home by sealing cracks and leaks in walls, floors, windows, and foundations. Remember to seal all window wells, and to repair or replace damaged weeping tiles. You should also clear eavestroughs and downspouts of leaves and other debris, and make sure that drainage from them will not create pools. Another way to help you deal with excess water is to plant more native plants and shrubs in your yard.


Motor Vehicle Safe. One benefit of the lockdowns this year is that fewer vehicles have been using the roads, and that has led to a reduction in motor vehicle accidents (MVAs.) However, now that Ontario is beginning to open up, we need to be vigilant about road and vehicle safety. Although the winter months see the most accidents, strangely, a large percentage of MVAs in Canada occur in spring. Remember that spring weather can be unpredictable, and you should plan trips accordingly. More pedestrians and cyclists come out as the weather warms, too, so remember to reduce speed, particularly in areas where children may gather. And, of course, many Canadian animals are emerging from hibernation in the spring, so they may be out foraging for food, particularly in the early morning and at dusk. Road crews may also be out in full force beginning in the spring, so remember to slow down in construction zones and share the road!


As the clocks spring forward, take the opportunity to schedule a vehicle maintenance check with your mechanic to ensure that your tires, brakes, and other components are in tip-top shape. (Leave your winter tires on until temperatures begin to average 7°C.) Perform routine maintenance tasks such as topping up on wiper fluid and checking the oil levels and tire pressure on a regular basis. Keep an emergency kit in your car, too, with items such as a heating blanket, booster cables, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit and manual, bottled water, some high energy foods such as wrapped protein bars, maps, a shovel, flares, a tire repair kit, matches and a survival candle.


Get out and enjoy the spring sunshine – and stay safe!