FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 2, 2018


TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Division of Fire Safety is reminding residents that the return to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, November 4, 2018 is the best time to change batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Units over 10 years old should be replaced with a new ten-year sealed lithium battery. These proactive activities are critical to maintaining working smoke and CO alarms in case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak.

“One of the easiest things we can all do to save lives is to make certain that we have functioning smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in our homes,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.  “Make a plan to stay on top of maintaining the detectors and alarms in your home today!”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke detectors and more than one-third (38 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke detectors are present.

“Smoke detectors and CO alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan,” said Richard Mikutsky, Division of Fire Safety Director and State Fire Marshal. “The risk of dying in a home fire or suffering from CO poisoning is greatly reduced in homes that have working units. Seconds count in emergencies. A lack of warning could be fatal.”

The NFPA offers the following tips:

Smoke Alarms

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in the basement.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

CO Alarms

  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Choose a CO alarm that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel declare that it is safe to re-enter the home.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
  • Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.
  • The manufacture date of a smoke detector or CO alarm is usually found on a code stamped on the back of the unit. If the code says 2006 or any prior year, the unit should be replaced. This is also a good time to check household dryer vents to remove accumulated lint from the filter.

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 engaging the public on community risk reduction strategies, assisting in fire department preparedness, and conducting firefighter training programs.

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Tammori Petty
Lisa Ryan
Gina Trish
(609) 292-6055