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Published: 06 March 2013
Spring ahead, fall back. Daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 10, which means clocks are turned ahead one hour to gain an extra hour of daylight at the end of each day.
The new time begins officially at 2 a.m. on March 10, but most people turn their clocks ahead an hour when they go to bed the night before.
According to the U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department, DST came about in 1918, but was repealed in 1919 in favor of local rules on whether to observe the twice-annual time change. Daylight saving time was re-established and nationally observed at the start of World War II and remained in effect through September 1945.
The Uniformed Time Act of 1966 standardized the observation dates, providing an allowance for local exemptions.
During what the U.S. Naval Observatory called the "energy crisis years" in the 1970s, Congress enacted an early starting date, calling for daylight saving time to begin on Jan. 6 in 1974 and Feb. 23 in 1975. The following year, daylight saving time went back to a late-April start date. Beginning in 1986 and continuing through 2006, the start and end dates of daylight saving time remained consistent. Now those dates have changed, however, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
• Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March
• Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November
Signed into law on Aug. 8, 2005, the act not only extends daylight saving time by four weeks, but also requires efficiency standards for certain large appliances as well as provisions for energy production, distribution, storage, efficiency, conservation and research.
“Change your clock, change your battery”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging consumers to replace the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms this weekend for daylight saving time. Fresh batteries allow smoke and CO alarms to do their jobs saving lives by alerting families of a fire or a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide in their homes.
CPSC estimates there was a yearly average of 386,300 residential fires resulting in nearly 2,400 deaths between 2006 and 2008.
Two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes where there are no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. That is why it is important to replace batteries at least once every year and to test alarms every month to make sure they work. CPSC recommends consumers have smoke alarms on every level of their home, outside bedrooms and inside each bedroom.
CPSC estimates there was an annual average of 183 unintentional non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products between 2006 and 2008. CO is called the "invisible killer" because it is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas. Because of this, people may not know they are being poisoned. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel in various products, including furnaces, portable generators, fireplaces, cars and charcoal grills.