Officials remind residents to change clocks, batteries Sunday

With the end of daylight saving time Sunday, the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue reminds residents to change smoke alarm batteries. The agency has these safety tips:

→Place a smoke alarm on every level of your home, in the basement and in sleeping areas.

→Test the alarm monthly.

→Change batteries at least once a year.

→Do not remove batteries from smoke alarms to put in other appliances.

→Smoke alarms last about eight to 10 years. When replacing them, consider installing a 10-year lithium battery-powered alarm, which is sealed and cannot be opened or tampered with.

→Hard-wired smoke alarms with battery backups need to be tested monthly.

→Keep smoke alarms clean. Vacuum or dust them.

→Teach children what the alarm sounds like and what to do if it goes on.

→If a smoke alarm sounds from the steam of cooking or a shower, open a window or door, wave a towel at the alarm to clear the air or move the alarm several feet away.

PRTC to begin bus service from Gainesville to District Monday

Starting Monday, the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission will offer an express commuter bus route between Gainesville and the District, with free fares during the first week.

The Gainesville OmniRide route will pick up and drop off passengers at the Cushing Road Commuter Lot at Interstate 66 and the Prince William Parkway. Destinations include the State Department, stops along 14th Street including the Commerce Department, and L’Enfant Plaza. There will be four trips in the morning and four return trips to Gainesville in the evening.

The service coincides with PRTC’s fall service change, available at For information about PRTC services, call 703-730-6664.

County accepting applications fuel assistance program

The Prince William County Department of Social Services is accepting applications for the fuel assistance program.

The program, administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services, helps low-income households with energy and home heating needs. Applications, due Nov. 8, are available at the A.J. Ferlazzo Building in Woodbridge and the Sudley North Government Center in Manassas. For an application by mail, call 703-792-7500.

House of Mercy offers low-cost Thanksgiving meal packages

House of Mercy, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, is accepting orders through Nov. 11 for its low-cost Thanksgiving food packages.

The Thanksgiving dinner package is $30 and will feed six people. The “best value” meal is $20 and will feed three or four. The “value plus a turkey” package is $39 and includes more than 31 pounds of food. A $2 fuel surcharge is added to each package.

The meals must be picked up between 9 and 11 a.m. Nov. 23 from House of Mercy, 8170 Flannery Ct., Manassas. For information or to place an order, call 703-659-1636 or e-mail

— Compiled by Sarah Lane