FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 8, 2019

TRENTON – The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety reminds residents that Daylight Saving Time, which falls on Sunday, March 10, 2019, is an appropriate time to check and change smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

“We often forget to do the small things in life that can make a big difference like checking and changing our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver who also serves as the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Having a working smoke alarm doubles a family’s chance of escaping and surviving a home fire.”

State Fire Marshal and Division of Fire Safety Director Richard Mikutsky notes that smoke and CO alarms with conventional batteries are being replaced with those powered by ten-year sealed lithium batteries.

“Many older smoke and CO alarms are powered by conventional replaceable batteries with limited shelf life,” said State Fire Marshal Mikutsky. “Ten-year sealed smoke and CO are becoming the industry standard so renters and homeowners should replace any smoke or CO alarm that is older than ten years. A new smoke or CO alarm will be equipped with a ten-year sealed battery that won’t require changing batteries at the annual time change.”  

A working smoke alarm is an assurance that in the event of a fire in the residence, there will be enough warning time to escape it. 

“We cannot stress enough the importance of working smoke alarms less than 10 years old and installed properly on every level of the residence,” he said.

The following steps should be followed when examining any smoke alarm at the time change. In addition, checking the exhaust screen on home clothes dryers and removing accumulated lint can reduce common fire hazards.

  •  Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  •  Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.  
  • Be sure the smoke alarm includes the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Replace them with sealed battery models.
  • Develop and practice a home escape plan with all members of the household.
  • Close interior doors before retiring for the evening. 

Mikutsky also reminds residents of the new state law regarding smoke alarms which became effective January 1 this year. One- and two- family dwellings will need to comply with these new requirements prior to sale or change of occupancy. Regardless of the age or condition of smoke alarms currently installed, all affected alarms must be replaced with 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms. Violation notices will be issued to property owners where the 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms are not installed. The Division is encouraging local fire officials and property owners to work together to establish a reasonable timetable for compliance. 

This new requirement does not apply to low voltage alarm systems, alternating current (AC) hardwired alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms. Combination Carbon Monoxide alarm and smoke alarm single station devices are required to be of the 10-year sealed battery type. 

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. 

DCA was established in 1967 and today offers a wide range of programs and services, including affordable housing production, fire safety and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery.

For more information about DCA, visit or follow the Department on social media:  

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