Daylight Saving Time: More Than Moving Back An Hour

Saturday night the clocks are turned back in most of the country, and most of us will do it before we hit the sack.

At a Houston Fire Station, Assistant Chief Rick Flanagan stressed the importance of putting in a new battery in the smoke alarm with this ear-piercing example:

"This particular Saturday at 12 midnight, we're gonna move our clocks back one hour, and at the same time we're gonna ask you to take your smoke detector, change your smoke detector and most of all, what we're gonna ask you to do, is to test it, to make sure that is does work (beep), or you have (beep) a working smoke detector (beep). That's the sound (beep) that will allow you (beep) enough time (beep) to get out of the house and exit to safety."

Statistics show that more than 30-percent of the home and apartment fires the HFD responds to do not have a working smoke detector, or no smoke detector. And when smoke detectors fail to operate, it's usually because the battery is missing. He says smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should to be changed every ten years.

While the one hour return is a welcomed addition to most, it could be harmful to some of the estimated 800, 000 Houston residents, who suffer with some type of sleep related disorder. Dr. Raza Pasha of the Pasha Snoring and Sinus Center in Houston says its like flying to a different time zone.

"Generally speaking, traveling west is a lot easier as with the fall daylight saving time. People appreciate the one or two hours of sleep that they gained due to traveling, or when they get the one hour from daylight saving time. Versus someone who goes from Los Angeles to Houston, where they actually lose two hours, or the hour that we lose during the fall."

There are also statistics that show the extra hour results in fewer violent crimes committed, fewer traffic accidents and even increased voter turnout. 

UH physics professor Larry Pinsky says DST has come, gone and returned since WWI.

"Since people tend to stay up in the evenings, rather than get up in the wee hours of the morning, off-setting the clock gives us the natural daylight at a time when we're awake. It's really quite that simple. And of course, the economic motivation is from the saving of power for generation of light."

Residents of Hawaii, most of Arizona and some U.S. territories don't have to change this weekend, since they do not observe DST. It returns the second Sunday in March.

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