Daytime-saving time begins Sunday

By Michael Davis

Around the first of April and end of October every year, Greg Jones' company gets a few more phone calls and he and his workers travel a few more miles than at other times of the year.

President of the north metro Atlanta-based company Clockworks, Jones travels around Georgia and parts of Tennessee resetting tower clocks, including the courthouse towers in McDonough and Jonesboro, in accordance with daylight-saving time, a time in the spring when the time leaps forward by one hour and in the fall when time travels backward.

"It keeps us busy from the Thursday before to the Monday after, each spring and fall," Jones said.

Jones, whose company restored the clock atop the Henry County Courthouse during a past renovation, said it takes about two hours to reset and service the historic E. Howard & Co. brand clock, which is about a century old.

For workers at watch stores, clock companies and repair shops, the day after the time change can be full of resetting hundreds of time pieces.

"We come in that Monday and start changing them," said Dakota Watch Company supervisor Yolanda, who declined to give her last name.

The watch company has hundreds of watches on display at their Southlake Mall location in Morrow, but only the digital ones get reset, she said. The process takes one worker about two hours.

Daylight-saving time can cause confusion, missed meetings and in the spring, an hour of lost sleep.

For churches, sometimes the time change means a few less parishioners in the pews on Sunday morning.

"At other churches I have experienced that, where people got mixed up with 'spring forward' or 'fall back,'" said Rev. Mack Riley, the pastor of McDonough First United Methodist Church. "Maybe as the service is ending, they're just coming in," he added, but "it's understandable."

For overnight workers, the spring time change might mean an extra hour of pay.

Workers at Stockbridge's Henry Medical Center who work through the time change Sunday morning will end up working for seven hours but getting paid for a regular eight-hour shift, said hospital spokeswoman Donna Braddy. But in the fall, they will work and get paid for nine hours to cover the time change.

"It usually does even out because most of the people who do shift work are the same people," Braddy said.

The concept of DST has been around for about 100 years as a proposal to extend the hours of daylight available in the work day and save energy. Arguments for the time change range from extending working hours to increasing safety.

The measure was adopted in parts of Europe during World War I and briefly in the United States. It returned during World War II. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the United States' time zones and in 1986, legislation was enacted to make the beginning of daylight-saving time 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and end at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in October.

Daylight-saving time is observed across much of the United States except Hawaii, parts of Arizona, parts of Indiana and some U.S. territories.

Fire safety officials also take the opportunity of the biennial time change to recommend changing the batteries in smoke detectors.

"The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms," said Henry County Fire Capt. Sabrina Puckett, is "worn or missing batteries."