MOUNT VERNON — Daylight-saving time is upon us and although technology plays a big role in time management for many of our clocks, some need to be adjusted manually.
This, however, is small potatoes compared to some of the large clocks found around Knox County.
What about the clock in the Knox County Courthouse? Does someone have to climb up there on a ladder and turn the hands? Or climb up into the clockworks and manually crank some gears until the correct time is set? According to John Alberts, maintenance director for Knox County, the change has to be done manually because daylight-saving time now kicks in a week later than it did a few years ago.
Since 2007, daylight-saving time in the U.S. begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.
“It used to be automatic with the old daylight-saving time,” Alberts said. “But since it changed we have to go up and change it manually.”
Alberts said the clock was run by computer and a new board to reflect the different starting time for DST would cost about $900.
“We can send someone up there for a lot cheaper than that,” Alberts noted.
Another big historical clock that needs special attention is the Webb Ball clock in Fredericktown. This clock was designed by former Fredericktown resident Webb Ball and was moved back to Fredericktown in 2007 after the Fredericktown Historical Society claimed the clock was being neglected in Cleveland.
According to Gordon Huff resetting the clock is simple.
“We just turn off the electricity until the time comes around to what the clock says,” Huff said. “There’s a controller in it that’s supposed to do it automatically, but it doesn’t work right and never has since we got the clock. The clock and the controller don’t communicate very well.”
Many fire departments around the country use the occasion to remind residents to change the batteries in their home smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
“We recommend that people change — not check but change — the batteries in their detectors once a year.” said Mount Vernon Fire Department assistant chief Chris Menepace. “It is paramount to have the detectors in good working order. Early detection of a fire is paramount to escaping your home if it becomes involved in fire. Early detection is the key. If you wait until you see the flame or feel the heat you are already in an environment that will not sustain human life. Smoke is what kills us. Not the heat, not the flame. We are dead long before that gets to us. It’s that volatile smoke that gets us.”
Chief Scott Mast of the Fredericktown Community Fire Department agrees a smoke detector in good working order is the best way to survive a fire. He says it gives the edge needed to escape a burning house alive.
“I think it improves your chances 100 percent,” Mast said. “Typically it’s not the flames that kill people, it’s the smoke and the products in that smoke. The fire itself is going to do the damage and if the smoke isn’t detected early, it reduces your chances to get out of the house. It’s very crucial.”