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Spring Forward: Daylight Saving Time Starts Sunday

At 2 a.m. Sunday, we set our clocks forward an hour. Here's a little history about why we have this custom and how it got its start.

It's almost time to "spring forward" again.

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 11, we'll set our clocks forward one hour to 3 a.m.—and lose an hour of the weekend—for the beginning of daylight saving time.

The good news: Sunset will be an hour later.

This year, daylight saving time will run from March 11 until Nov. 4—unless you're in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. They don't do daylight saving time.

Around the world, about 75 countries and territories have at least one location that observes daylight saving time, according to TimeandDate.com. On the other hand, 164 don't observe a time change at all.

Daylight Saving Time History

According to the Huffington Post

Benjamin Franklin has been credited with the idea of daylight saving time, but Britain and Germany began using the concept during World War I to conserve energy, the Washington Post says. The U.S. used daylight saving time for a brief time during the War, but it didn't become widely accepted in the States until after World War II.

In 1966, the Uniform Time Act outlined that clocks should be set forward on the last Sunday in April and set back the last Sunday in October.

That law was amended in 1986 to start daylight saving time on the first Sunday in April, though the new system wasn't implemented until 1987. The end date was not changed, however, and remained the last Sunday in October until 2006.

Today, daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. The time change will precede the first day of spring and the vernal equinox, which is set to take place at 1:14 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 20.

Check Smoke Detectors When Changing Clocks

The switch to daylight saving time is a good reminder to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. According to Apple Valley, Minn. Fire Chief Nealon Thompson, you should:

  • Change the batteries in your detectors whenever you're changing your clock for daylight saving time, so once in the fall and once in the spring.
  • Clean out the detectors and the area around them, since they can get dusty just like anything else in your home. Use a vacuum with a bristle attachment to vacuum out the devices, and don't use cleaning solvent or anything wet to wipe them out, as that could damage them.
  • Replace the smoke detectors themselves every 10 years.
  • Take five minutes to talk with your family about general fire safety, since the topic is at the forefront of your mind. Make sure family members know the best routes out of your home in case of a fire, and agree on a meeting place outside.
  • If you have a fire extinguisher, make sure that's accessible and in working order.

Originally published on Apple Valley Patch.

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