Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries; Planning Commission work sessions


On November 4 "Change Your Clock, Change Your Batteries"
October 16, 2012
     Daylight-saving time ends Sunday, November 4, and the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety would like to remind you that when you change your clocks, take time to change and test the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This message is simple and the habit can be lifesaving.   
     Communities nationwide witness tragic home fire deaths each year, but, everyone can work together to help reduce the number of home fire fatalities.
     "Eighty percent of child fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. It's a tragic statistic that may be reduced by adopting the simple habit of 'Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery,'" says Captain Paul Long.
     Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, testing those alarms and reminding others to do the same are some of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. Additionally, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends that smoke alarms in homes be replaced every 10 years and to have both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms to alert people to all types of home fires.
     "The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping," says Fire Chief Stephen Kopczynski. "Smoke alarm maintenance is a simple, effective way to reduce home fire deaths. Children and senior citizens are most at risk, and a working smoke alarm can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely."
     Tragically, home fires injure and kill thousands each year. Those most at risk include:
          • Children — Home fires kill 500 children ages 14 and under each year. Roughly three-quarters of child fire fatalities under age 15 occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.
          • Seniors — Adults 75 and older are 2.8 times more likely to die in a home fire.
     In addition, Chief Kopczynski recommends residents not only use the "extra" hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and to plan and practice escape routes, but also to make sure fellow neighbors and community members do the same. Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights and fresh batteries. 
     The Department of Fire and Life Safety recommends purchasing a carbon monoxide detector if you use gas or a fireplace for cooking and/or heating. Have your furnace professionally inspected every year and check for carbon monoxide emissions. Install a carbon monoxide alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home.
     According to Captain Paul Long, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can kill you before you are even aware it is in your house. It causes side effects such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue that are often mistaken for the flu. These effects can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and length of exposure.
     This year, families can visit  and join the Energizer Bunny® Brigade to take the pledge to change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when they change their clocks. Additional fire and life safety information can be found by visiting the Department of Fire and Life Safety website at
*Fire statistics were obtained from reports by the Fire Analysis and Research Division of the National fire Protection Association.
     The York County Planning Commission will hold work sessions on Thursday, October 18 and Thursday, October 25 for the purpose of discussing the Comprehensive Plan review and update. Both work sessions will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will take place in the York Hall East Room, located at 301 Main Street, Yorktown.
     The main topic of the work sessions will be the Land Use element of the Plan, including the future Land Use Map. Although general in nature, the Land Use Map designations provide the basic policy guidance for the more specific and detailed zoning district locations and boundaries. If changes to the Land Use Map are determined necessary by the Planning Commission, and ultimately the Board of Supervisors, they could result in consideration and enactment of zoning district changes by the Board of Supervisors in the future to implement the Comprehensive Plan.
     The Comprehensive Plan serves as the long-range plan for the physical development of the County. The Code of Virginia requires that comprehensive plans be reviewed periodically, and York County's Plan was last updated by the Board of Supervisors in December 2005.
     All Planning Commission meetings and work sessions are open to the public.
     For more information, please contact the York County Planning Division at 890-3404 or by email at, or visit the web site at

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