FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, October 7, 2016


This Year’s Theme: “Don’t Wait - Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years”

TRENTON, NJ – During National Fire Prevention Week, which runs October 9-15, 2016, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety, Office of the State Fire Marshal urges all New Jersey residents to answer the questions being asked by local fire departments and fire officials: “Do you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and do you know how old it is?”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the first answer is likely yes: NFPA research shows that most American homes have at least one but are not aware of how old the alarm is.

A recent survey conducted by NFPA revealed that only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced. That lack of awareness is a concern for local fire departments, the Division of Fire Safety and NFPA, because smoke alarms don’t last forever.

“Time and again, I’ve seen the life-saving impact smoke alarms can have in a home fire, but I’ve also seen the tragedy that can result when smoke alarms aren’t working properly,” said William Kramer, Jr. Acting Director and State Fire Marshal.

“That’s why we are joining with your local fire service in making a concerted effort to educate residents about the overall importance of smoke alarms, and that they do have a life limit,” Kramer added.

NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code®, requires smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk.

As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, NFPA is promoting this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait - Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” to better educate the public about the critical importance of knowing how old their smoke alarms are and replacing them once they’re 10 years old.

During the week, fire departments throughout the state will typically host open house events. Many of them will distribute free smoke alarms to the needy and disabled as part of the Operation Save a Life smoke alarm distribution program. The Division of Fire Safety assists the state fire service in distributing alarms in northern parts of the state. In southern counties departments partner with Home Depot and Channel 6 in Philadelphia. Division personnel will also host public information efforts throughout the state.

In addition, the week marks the formal kickoff of the New Jersey Fire Protection and Prevention Association-NJDFS annual Fire Safety Poster Contest where students from across the state submit posters with their versions of the annual NFPA theme. Winning entries become part of the annual New Jersey Fire Protection and Prevention Association Fire Safety Calendar which features important dates in history such as the Chicago Fire and National Fire Prevention Week.

To find out how old your smoke alarm is and its expiration date, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase). Your local New Jersey fire department says smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and that batteries should be replaced once a year or when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.

For more information on smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign visit

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the state’s central fire service agency. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code as well as for implementing community risk reduction and firefighter training programs.

Tammori Petty
or Emike Omogbai
(609) 292-6055