By Rick Rouan
Change your smoke-detector batteries as you change your clocks, fire officials urge.
With the end of daylight-saving-time early Sunday, local fire and police forces are asking people to take some extra safety measures for the coming winter.
At 2 a.m. Sunday, the clocks roll back one hour, taking away the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day earned in March. Federal law mandates that the fall time change occur the first Sunday in November, but local municipalities can opt to remain on standard time throughout the year. Only Hawaii and Arizona do not observe the time changes.
Local police are stressing that people who walk in the evenings prepare for the earlier darkness.
“The big thing is that people walk in pairs, try to let a family member know where you’re going,” said Niles police Capt. Chuck Wilson. “Give them a time that you’re going and a route if possible.”
Reflective clothing and remaining on sidewalks are also advisable, said Austintown police Capt. Bryan Kloss.
Fire officials stress that households should change the batteries in smoke detectors during both time changes, said Boardman fire Chief James Dorman.
“It’s a good trigger point,” he said. “The time changes in fall and spring seem to be good reminders to prompt the public to change their batteries.”
Dorman said that a fire’s intensity can increase rapidly and that a smoke alarm can give a person extra time to get out of harm’s way.
“That smoke detector is an appliance just like a hair dryer and a toaster, and they need to be replaced from time to time just like your other appliances. There gets to be a point in time when your toaster isn’t right anymore,” he said.
The “Change Your Clock Change Your Battery” campaign also suggests that batteries be replaced in carbon monoxide detectors.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless toxin that rises to the top floor of homes, Dorman said, because it is lighter than air. He suggested that all households have at least one.