ST. LOUIS – Daylight Saving Time ends overnight, and that means a lot of us will be enjoying an extra hour of sleep. But that’s not necessarily the case for our first responders.

Many around the St. Louis area will end up working an extra hour because of the time change.

“We are on duty today, so the crew that’s here today will be here overnight,” said St. Charles Fire Capt. Kelly Hunsel said. “They don’t get off until tomorrow morning, so they will be experiencing time change as well, which means they get an extra hour added to their shift.”

That means around 25 St. Charles City firefighters will work an extra hour longer than usual.

The hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. On Saturday evening, the online, nonprofit university WGU Missouri delivered hand-packed appreciation kits to more than 100 first responders at Eureka Fire Protection District in Eureka, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s (SLMPD) Anti-Crime Task Force and SLMPD District 2. Each box is filled with snack and other items to help them stay fueled. 

“We want to give back to them and really show our appreciation,” said Dr. Terrance Hopson, Regional Vice President of WGU University.

Hopson wants to remind people to express their gratitude to our police officers, EMS and firefighters. Meanwhile, Capt. Hunsel sees the time change as an opportunity to help the public. 

“We get used to working shift work. We get used to working holidays, so it’s kind of just another day for our crews,” she said. “But this is also a really important day just in the fire service in general because it’s a great time to be able to communicate with our communities.”

Like many fire departments across the nation, the St. Charles City firefighters like to use the time change to remind people to change their smoke and fire alarm batteries and to check their carbon monoxide detectors, as you should be doing that every six months. 

“Another thing people don’t really realize is that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors do have a lifespan on them,” Hunsel said. “If you’ve had one in your home that’s approaching, let’s say 10 years, it might be a great idea to swap that out for a new one as well.”

Meantime, the battle over whether to keep Daylight Saving Time year-round continues in congress. In March, the Senate voted to permanently keep the country on DST year-round, but the bill is stalled in the House. It will expire if the House fails to do anything by the end of this session, which is in less than two months. This is the closest Congress has gotten to mandating a year-round DST in nearly 50 years. 

Hunsel added, “Even if we don’t have that great reminder of Daylight Saving, [we will still be] out in the community reminding folks about checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month and making battery changes every six months.”