The days are slowly getting longer – a sure sign spring is on the way! As we “spring ahead” this March, changing our clocks one hour ahead at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, let’s also remember to change our smoke detector batteries.

Smoke detectors should be placed on every level of your home, be tested monthly, and have the batteries changed twice a year. Talk with your family about an escape plan and practice it twice a year. Should a fire occur in your home, be sure everyone knows to get out, stay out and call for help.

When you talk to your family about a fire escape plan, you also should talk to them about what to do in the event that you are the patient in a medical emergency.

Medical emergencies are generally unexpected, and often put us in a position to not easily relay information to those trying to render care, such as emergency medical responders, nurses and doctors. It’s a common misconception that the hospital keeps record of the medications we take. In today’s health care climate, it’s common to see multiple specialty doctors to manage certain diagnoses, in addition to your family physician. While some changes in medication may be tracked by the doctor, this info is not readily available in the emergency setting.

It’s strongly encouraged that everyone should write a list of the medications they currently take and keep that list readily available, such as in a wallet or purse. Inform your spouse or those close to you that you carry this list and where they can find it, should they be the ones calling 911 or answering for you when help arrives.

Anytime there is a change in your medication, immediately make the change on your personal list. Should you have a medical emergency, provide this list to the health care providers when they arrive, saving yourself from trying to remember the medications you take.

Have a safe and sunny spring!


Randy Richman is a part-time Brookfield firefighter and paramedic, firefighting instructor and regional director of hyperbaric medicine for Shared Health Service Inc.