It’s time again to “spring forward” Sunday at 2 a.m. with the arrival of Daylight Saving Time, and according to Lt. Branden Jackman of the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, the most important thing to do is to replace the batteries on all home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
“A working smoke alarm provides that margin of safety that will determine whether you get out of the house alive or you’re trapped inside,” Jackman said.
Everyone is reminded to set their clocks ahead by one hour before going to bed Saturday night in the bi-annual ritual that dates back to World War I, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, when Daylight Saving Time first began as an energy conservation measure.
Hawaii and parts of Arizona skip the twice-a-year changing of the clocks, in addition to the U.S. territories Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and Fla. Rep. Vern Buchanan introduced a bill Wednesday called the Sunshine Protection Act, that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent nationwide, according to The Associated Press.
It was the Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President George W. Bush, that established the present schedule of setting clocks forward on the second Sunday in March, and turning them back on the first Sunday in November.
Though Benjamin Franklin is often credited with the idea of changing clocks during the year, researchers at the Old Farmer’s Almanac say the first true advocate of the time change was an Englishman by the name of William Willet, a London home builder who came up with the concept while riding his horse through town early one morning in 1907.
Aside from the wood products that are used in home construction, Jackman said materials used today are altogether different than what would have been available in Willet’s time.
He said that synthetic materials used to make furniture, carpeting and curtains in today’s homes are made of petroleum and not natural fibers, and because of that increased flammability, firefighters have discovered the margin for escape in a house fire may only be two or three minutes.
He advised homeowners and renters to put a smoke alarm on each floor and outside each bedroom, in addition to one place most people never think of.
“Put one in the attic and in the basement,” Jackman said. “People don’t think about a problem with a furnace or a chimney, and if something gets started there and moves to the crawlspace and then into the walls, you’ve got a potentially fatal fire.”
He also advised homeowners and renters to keep smoke alarms at least 10 feet away from kitchen stoves to reduce false alarms.
“We’ve been very lucky in that we’ve not had any house fires recently that didn’t have a smoke detector and at those fires, nobody was home,” he said. “But this time of year it’s a good practice to change those batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and maybe review your home escape plans if you do have a fire.”
Jackman also wanted to remind everyone that with spring just around the corner, a statewide ban on open burning is in force from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the months of March, April and May.
Daylight Saving Time will end Sunday, Nov. 3, when it will be time again to “fall back” and set clocks back one hour for the winter.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.