Crossing the Rubicon
October 28, 2009barriehol
We have crossed the Rubicon for another year with the return on Sunday last of “daylight saving” time, a sure reminder that winter is closing in. Exactly what part of the daylight we are saving is a mystery to me as is finding any logical reason for arbitrarily changing the time of day in the first place. As dawn now arrives in my neck of the woods around 6.30am “daylight wasting” might be a better description as even I am languishing in bed at that time. Personally I much prefer to drive to work in the dark when I am fresh and alert and return in the day light when my weary 1200 x 800 pixel eyes better appreciate the added luminosity.
No doubt the powers that be have a considered and irrefutable safety argument. One explanation relates to the safety of (Scottish) school children but I don’t really buy into that. A high viz armband or vest would suffice and it’s not as if it is a safety issue that warrants the vast majority of Brits losing one hours evening daylight for six whole months.
The onset of winter should be a wakeup call to all of us to prepare for the dark days ahead with a review of our winter safety provisions. Heaters and Boilers are being fired up across the land, some for the first time in months, open fires are brought back into commission and it will soon be the season for lighting those decorative candles that all seem to smell of old hippies and sweaty socks. All these winter comforts have the potential to wreak havoc and destruction if you overlook some simple safety measures.
Start by having your boiler properly serviced as incomplete combustion of heating fuels is a principal source of deadly carbon monoxide. For peace of mind fit a Carbon Monoxide alarm that will alert you to any build up of the gas before it reaches dangerous levels.
If you have trickle vents in your double glazed windows open some of them for the winter to allow some air flow and prevent condensation.
If you have an open fire have you had the chimney swept? Dust particulates and soot, even old birds nests provide a ready source of combustibles for ignition.
Most importantly of all fit smoke alarms to give you an early warning of fire. They are without doubt the single most cost effective fire protection within the home and greatly increase the chances of detecting a fire early enough to minimise damage and at worst raise the alarm in time for you and your family to escape unscathed. They are also I might add as cheap as chips.
Of course you must remember to test a smoke alarm regularly, every week in fact, and change the battery once a year rather than waiting for the thing to fail just when you need it. Alarms with a 10 year battery are now available but you still need to test and clean periodically as dust may impair detection.