By Tamas Mondovics

The extra hour of sleep that came with the end of daylight saving time this fall may have come in handy for some on Sunday morning, but turning back the clock is also an important reminder for many to test their home safety devices as well as to reset sprinkler system timers.

“The end of daylight saving time is a great opportunity to install fresh batteries and test smoke alarms along with carbon monoxide (CO) detectors,” said County Spokesperson Michelle VanDyke. “When functional, these devices can double the chance of surviving a home fire or an unsafe carbon monoxide level.”

In a recent press release, Hillsborough County officials wanted to remind property owners with automatic sprinkler systems to also consider having timers checked to avoid fines for watering at the wrong time, and verify that irrigation timers have back-up batteries that are functioning.

For residents living in unincorporated Hillsborough County, violating the restrictions could mean a penalty of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, leading up to $500 for the third and subsequent violations.

Non-payment will result in a summons to appear before a code enforcement special magistrate, and the possibility of additional fines and a lien being placed on the property.

With two-thirds of fire deaths occurring in homes where there are no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms reminders are not to be taken lightly.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue public Information Officer Ronnie Rivera emphasized that a working CO detector is important because carbon monoxide gas, which is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel in various products including furnaces, portable generators, fireplaces, cars, and charcoal grills, is colorless and odorless, and silently poisons victims.

In addition to changing smoke alarm batteries, the U.S. Fire Administration recommends the following safety tips:

• Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, both inside and outside any sleeping areas, especially if family members sleep with their bedroom doors closed.

•Keep smoke alarms clean because dust may prevent them from working properly.

•Listen for the smoke alarm “chirping” noise, which indicates low battery power, and replace batteries immediately.

•Replace smoke alarms about every 10 years.

In connection with sprinkler systems, County officials also wanted to remind residents that all watering must be done before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. The restrictions apply to most water sources, including private wells, and ponds or lakes that are used as alternate irrigation supplies. The schedule for watering established lawns and landscaping in unincorporated Hillsborough County, as well as the City of Tampa, is as follows:

• Addresses ending in 0, 1, 2 or 3 – Mondays and Thursdays

• Addresses ending in 4, 5 or 6 – Tuesdays and Fridays

• Addresses ending in 7, 8 or 9 – Wednesdays and Saturdays

• Locations with no address (common areas) and locations with mixed addresses (such as office complexes and shopping centers) – Wednesdays and Saturdays

For complete information on water restrictions in unincorporated Hillsborough County, visit www.HillsboroughCounty.org/WaterRestrictions or contact 612-7758, during regular business hours. For a recorded message about the restrictions, call 275-7094. 

Residents of unincorporated Hillsborough County who do not currently have a smoke alarm may be eligible to have a free one installed.

For more information, contact 272-6600.