It’s that time of year again. This weekend, you’ll sacrifice an hour of sleep in exchange for a few months of extra daylight. You will set your clocks ahead one hour forward because Daylight Saving Time officially starts at 2 a.m. on Sunday. It ends the first Sunday in November.
Daylight Saving Time is also a great time to check the things that keep us safe and ready for emergencies.
Smoke Detectors: Nearly 2,700 people die and more than 15,000 are injured each year because of fires that started in their homes. Now is the time to check and replace batteries if needed and make sure the devices around your house are working properly. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that about 16 million homes in the country have smoke alarms that do not work. In most cases, the batteries are dead or missing. This is a great time to put fresh batteries in your smoke detector. You should also replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 8 to 10 years.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors: According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States with more than 200 killed each year from overexposure to the gas. Never use gas or charcoal grills inside your home or an unventilated garage. Make sure you have CO Detectors and they are working. Now is also a good time to check and replace batteries in those units.
Emergency Kits: Daylight Savings Time is a perfect time to get a kit and if you already have a kit, check to make sure food and other items are not near or past their expiration dates. You should have supplies to last you and your family for at least three days. Other items like a battery powered or crank radio, flashlights, first aid kit should also be included.
Emergency NOAA Weather Radio: Spring brings the threat of tornadoes and severe weather. Make sure you have an emergency weather radio. It’s like having a tornado siren in your home. When it goes off, go to a safe place. Listen, Act and Live!
Other tidbits about daylight saving time:
- Benjamin Franklin first thought up the idea of daylight saving in 1784. It wasn’t instituted until World War I, when it went into effect to save energy used for lights.
- The Standard Time Act established time zones and daylight saving in 1918, but it was short-lived. Daylight saving was repealed the following year.
- The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established Daylight Saving Time throughout the United States and gave states the option to exempt themselves. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not follow Daylight Saving Time. Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa also skip out on the clock-changing fun.
- In 1974 and 1975, Congress extended daylight saving to save energy during the energy crisis.
- In 2007, Daylight Saving got a few weeks longer, running from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
- About 70 countries around the world observe daylight saving, but many countries near the equator do not.
- It’s not universally popular, though. Farmers note that their livestock don’t live by a clock, and complain that they have to adjust their working hours to deal with the animals. Also, any parent will tell you — babies don’t quite get it either.
- In 2018, Florida lawmakers voted to not only ‘Spring Forward’ into Daylight Saving Time, but to stay there year round. This will put the state into its own de facto time zone — Florida time — during the winter months.