Daylight Saving Time – Not All Is Good

This weekend, we go from ‘standard’ time to ‘daylight saving time.’ I’m sure, today in the newsroom, someone will read a piece of copy and tell someone else it’s ‘saving’ not savings.’ That’s an act as dependable as DST itself.

Like everything else in life, DST has its good and bad points. I like seeing the Sun later in the day, and since I’m asleep most mornings for sunrise (or just getting to bed), that’s all positive.

On the other hand, I work in an environment that is neither on ‘standard’ or ‘daylight saving time’! In order to coordinate weather readings from around the world, everything I use at work is in Greenwich Mean Time also known as Zulu, “Z” or UTC&#185.

Tonight at 7:00 PM, it will be Friday evening for everyone at the TV station except for me. On my weather maps and models it will be 0000Z on Saturday. 0000Z Monday (after the DST switch) will occur at 8:00 PM EDST Sunday.

Confused yet? It’s nuts because every timestamp I look at has to be translated.

Here’s the real downside in weather. Since UTC doesn’t change as EST becomes EDST, all my computer data will start coming in an hour later.

That was once more of a problem than it is now.

With speedier computers crunching the numbers, some data gets to me an hour, or more, sooner than it did just a few years ago. Still, there will be some model information that I’ll have for 11:00 PM and not 10:00 PM and some that will now have to be ‘flash’ absorbed minutes or even seconds before air.

There is one thing that happens every year on the switch back from ‘daylight saving time’ to ‘standard’ that does irk me. It has to do with smoke detectors and batteries. Though it’s six months in the future, let me get it off my chest now.

It’s not necessary to change your batteries every year and it smells very much like a ploy to sell batteries – nothing more.

I searched Google for the words “batteries smoke detector fire chief,” went to the first link and came up with this quote from the town of Elmwood Park, Illinois.

Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries

The IAFC (International Association of Fire Chiefs) and fire experts nationwide encourage people to change smoke detector batteries at least annually. An easy way to remember to change your batteries is when you turn your clock back in the fall. Replace old batteries with fresh, high quality alkaline batteries, such as energizer brand batteries, to keep your smoke detector going year-long.

Hmmm. Energizer should have a capital “E,” but you get the point. Whose behind this: battery manufacturers. They have found a way to make money by claiming batteries have a shorter life than they really do!

This is not a lone example. I feel the same way about optical companies collecting unused glasses for charity. I’m not saying the concept is wrong – it isn’t. It’s just when people with an economic interest get involved and try to look like altruistic players, it upsets me. Why would it be in the optical industry’s interest to make sure you don’t have a spare pair of glasses?

Before you say I’m heartless, let’s look at smoke detectors. They ALL have circuitry which makes them chirp or beep as the battery is beginning to wear out. In fact, if you’ve ever heard one, they’re pretty touch to ignore! A smoke detector battery should last years, not need to be changed each year.

Some smoke detectors now have batteries that last 5 years or more!

OK – that’s it. I’m done. I need to go and start banking sleep now for the hour I’ll lose Sunday.

&#185 – UTC stands for Universal Coordinated Time. The acronym is based on the French translation, hence the seem out of place in English.