(BEDFORD) - Local firefighters are reminding residents to test and change your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors batteries and to set your clocks back one hour this weekend.
Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, November 3 at 2 a.m. when clocks are set to "fall back" one hour.
The "Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery" fire safety program is sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the American Burn Association.
Bedford Fire Department Chief Jon Wagner says the annual change from Daylight Saving Time to standard time is a good reminder to make sure your detectors are working as they should.
"Changing the battery at least once every year and cleaning dust from the devices are easy ways to ensure continued protection of your family and your property," he says. "Having a working smoke alarm doubles the chances you will survive a fire in your home and a working carbon monoxide device can save lives."
Is Daylight Saving Time a federal law?
Federal law does not mandate that states must observe Daylight Saving Time. It is voluntary. However, if states choose to do so, the federal law does establish the dates the states must follow.
From 1966-2006, these were the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. However, the government changed the dates in 2007. Now, clocks change the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November. This change added a month to Daylight Saving Time.
In order to avoid any confusion, parents are advised to set their clocks back one hour before they go to bed on Saturday night.
Many people refer to the change as Daylight Savings Time, but it is actually called Daylight Saving Time (no "s" after Saving). Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Arizona, Hawaii and most of the United States territories, like Puerto Rico. Indiana was the last state to change over to Daylight Saving Time. It did so in 2005.
The history of Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October.
During World War II, the government once again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.
In 2007, Congress extended the length of Daylight Saving Time as part of its 2005 Energy Policy Act. The act extended the period of Daylight Saving Time by four weeks in hopes that it would save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours.
There is still a huge controversy surrounding the actual energy savings, with many critics saying that little or no energy is saved.
Tips on helping kids adjust to Daylight Saving Time
Most families run on a pretty tight schedule, so nothing can make many parents cringe like those three dreaded words, "Change the clocks." It means that kids' internal clocks must also be reset as they adapt to the time change. The "fall back" time change can be a little brutal, but it doesn't have to be with a bit of planning.
On the plus side, the "fall back" time change means children will be walking to the bus stop in the daylight. A plus for parents is sixty extra minutes of sleep on the Sunday when clocks are set back one hour. To help your family adapt to the time change, discuss it beforehand. Let the kids know that their hours of sunlight will be shorter during the days.
This means one less hour of outdoor play when the sun is shining. Parents may want to let their kids play outside right after school, and do homework in the early evening.
Babies have the hardest time adapting to any time change. Experts suggest that parents put their young children to bed ten minutes earlier each night for one week leading up to the time change. If babies want to wake up earlier due to the time change, room-darkening shades can be used. Parents may observe that their baby (or child) is a little cranky or irritable after a time change. Overall, it takes a family about one week to adapt.
Schools report an unusually high tardy rate on the first Monday following any time change. You don't want to be one of those parents rushing your kids to school because they missed the bus.
Fun facts about Daylight Saving Time around the world:
- More than one billion people in about 70 countries around the world observe DST in some form.
- Most of Canada uses Daylight Saving Time.
- It wasn't until 1996 that our neighbor to the south, Mexico adopted DST. Now all three Mexican time zones are on the same schedule as the United States.
- Also in 1996, members of the European Union agreed to observe a "summer-time period" from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
- Most countries near the equator don't deviate from standard time.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, where summer arrives in what the Northern Hemisphere considers the winter months, DST is observed from late October to late March.
- Three large regions in Australia do not participate in DST.
- China, which spans five time zones, is always eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and it does not observe DST.
- In Japan, DST was implemented after World War II by the U.S. occupation. In 1952, Japanese farmers abandoned it because of strong opposition.
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