DCA Division of Fire Safety Reminds Residents to Check Smoke Alarms and Replace Batteries during Change to
Daylight Savings Time


TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Richard E. Constable III today joined the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety in reminding residents to check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and replace the batteries when they change their clocks to Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, March 11, 2012. This safety message is especially important in the wake of recent fires in residences where smoke alarms weren't present or weren't working.

"Preparation is key to protecting our families from unwanted tragedies. Taking a few extra minutes to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are operating properly can be the critical difference that saves lives," said Acting Commissioner Constable. "Because many fires happen while people are sleeping, it is essential that alarms be checked so that everyone gets the earliest possible warning to evacuate the home."

Having properly installed, working and maintained smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are the first line of defense against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. The alarms can be either hardwired into a home's electrical current or battery powered. People should install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, at minimum, on each level of a home, including the basement. Fire safety experts also recommend the alarms be placed outside and inside sleeping areas.   

After replacing the batteries, alarms can be checked by pressing the test button. People should replace any smoke alarms older than 10 years and any carbon monoxide alarms older than five years. Basic smoke alarms generally cost between $6 and $20.

"Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are one of the most cost-effective investments people can make to protect loved ones from harm," said Acting Division of Fire Safety Director William Kramer, Jr. "If cost is an issue, programs are available that can furnish new alarms to eligible households free of charge. Money should never be a barrier to preventing fires and saving lives."

For example, the Division of Fire Safety participates annually in the Operation 7: Save a Life campaign run by WABC-TV, Channel 7 in New York City. The program, in cooperation with Kiddie, distributes free smoke alarms to people in need. More than 100,000 free smoke alarms have been distributed in North and Central Jersey as a result of the program. WPVI-TV, Channel 6, the ABC-affiliated station in Philadelphia, does a similar campaign for communities south of Burlington County.

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 http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dfs/ on the DCA website.