DCA Reminds Residents to "Fall Back" on

Simple Safety Habits This November 6

Division of Fire Safety Says,
"Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries"

TRENTON, NJ – As we "fall back" to Standard Time this weekend, the Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Division of Fire Safety encourages everyone to mark the occasion as a time to test your home smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and replace the batteries, if they are more than one year old.

DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa is urging New Jersey residents to think about their safety and take advantage of this unique opportunity when they turn their clocks back to Standard Time on Sunday, November 6. Creating a first line of defense in alerting you and your family to the dangers of smoke and fire should be the primary goal.

"Devices like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are often forgotten as they sit silently on our walls and ceilings," said Commissioner Grifa. "Making a habit of changing those batteries as we wind our clocks back is an excellent way to keep these important protection devices in working order. Having a working smoke alarm doubles a family's chance of escaping a home fire."

Everyone should test and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their homes on a regular basis. For new homes, or homes without detectors installed, at least one of each should be placed on every floor of a home, outside of all sleeping areas, and in the basement. For better protection, it is also suggested that detectors be installed in each bedroom.

"A properly installed, properly working and properly maintained smoke alarm is a family's first defense against fire," said Acting Division of Fire Safety Director William Kramer. "Awake or asleep a working smoke alarm is a defense 24-7."

In addition to changing the batteries, people should replace the detectors at regular intervals as well. Smoke detectors older than ten years and CO detectors older than five years should be replaced as soon as possible.

To improve safety in the home, the DCA suggests people do a few other semi-annual tasks as they turn back their clocks and replace the batteries in their smoke and CO detectors. For instance, households should prepare a disaster supply kit that includes items such as water, food, flashlights, batteries and blankets. They should also devise a family escape plan and practice these routes with adults at least twice a year, including at night, so that everyone knows what to do when the smoke or carbon monoxide alarm sounds.

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs. For more information, log on to www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dfs/ on the DCA website, or call (609) 633-6106.