ST. PAUL — It’s finally time to reclaim that hour of sleep you lost last spring.
Most of the country will turn back the clocks this weekend for the annual shift back to standard time.
The majority of folks will do the switch before hitting the sack Saturday night, even though the change doesn’t become official until 2 a.m. Sunday local time.
As Minnesotans are setting their clocks back one hour, State Fire Marshal Jerry Rosendahl reminds residents to make another change, too — change batteries in every smoke alarm to assure adequate warning in case of a fire.
“Smoke alarm batteries need to be checked often and changed at least once a year. Smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years,” Rosendahl said. “These devices save lives every day, and ignoring them can be a fatal mistake.”
Statistics collected from Minnesota fire departments in 2011 reveal that the peak time for home fire fatalities is between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 29 percent of residential fire deaths that year occurred in homes without working smoke alarms. Those are two reasons the State Fire Marshal supports the annual “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery” campaign.
About two-thirds of fire deaths nationwide occur in homes without working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Most commonly, alarms fail due to missing or worn-out batteries.
Rosendahl says that some people remove batteries for other uses or to keep the alarm from going off accidentally. “They’re gambling with their lives, even if they think the chance of a fire is nil. Sadly, that may be what others thought, too — before they died because they had no warning before their homes filled with smoke.”
In most communities, residents who need help installing or maintaining smoke alarms can call on their fire department for assistance.
“Change your clocks, change your batteries,” Rosendahl says. “It’s easy to remember, simple to do, and it provides essential protection for your life and property.”
Residents of Hawaii, most of Arizona and some U.S. territories don’t have to change since they do not observe daylight-saving time. Daylight saving time returns the second Sunday in March.
(This story contained information from the Associated Press)