A very mild winter is finally passing, and Spring will bring with it new growth and warmth. We can relax, put away the shovels, and maybe do some simple maintenance around the house so we can relax this Spring.
One opportunity we have for making our homes safer in March is Daylight Saving Time (improperly referred to as Daylight Savings Time). For hundreds of years time was based on the position of the sun (some of the first ‘timepieces’ were sundials), and noon was always when the sun was at it’s highest. Although this way of determining time of day (called Apparent Solar Time) works locally, it plays havoc with travelers, who is the early days of travel would have to reset their watches sometimes more than 5 times along a thirty mile ride. In fact, the transportation industry is responsible for Daylight Saving Time as we know it (and in the U.S. it is currently managed by the Department of Transportation), and they have been since it was first introduced back in 1840 with the English railroads adoption of London time.
So how do railroad timetables and adoption of time zones help us at home with fire safety? Because it gives us a reliable method of scheduling maintenance that can be performed while changing our clocks to reflect the ‘new’ time of day. Smoke Detectors should be checked for service monthly, but we ask that all residents replace their batteries twice a year, and we selected the Daylight Saving Time for this (this year-the date we change our clocks and Smoke Detector batteries is Sunday, March 11th).
Keeping track of time and safety is easier when combined into a single task, and so we ask you to also check the age of your Smoke Detectors and see how long they’ve been in your house. Smoke Detectors are most efficient in the first six or so years of life, and many of them have expiration dates to reflect when components are worn out and are no longer considered reliable. Remember, Safety never takes time off, so take a moment on March 11th to check those detectors and change their batteries!