FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Division Encourages Remote Learning School Districts to Adopt New Initiative

TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (DFS) today announced its support of a public safety initiative for educators that is being conducted in remote learning districts in Princeton Borough in Mercer County to inform teachers about fire safety, cyber safety, mental health, and child abuse. The Division is encouraging educators statewide to consider adopting the initiative while teaching in remote learning environments.

“The pandemic has put significant stressors on our families and children whose learning environments have shifted from school to home. With this new initiative developed by Fire Marshal Brookes, we can potentially save lives by raising awareness to a number of public safety issues that may arise in the home,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA).

“The initiative, created by Princeton Fire Marshal Peggy Brookes in cooperation with local law enforcement and Mercer County Youth Services, brings an added dimension to fire safety and law enforcement during this “new normal” we find ourselves in during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Richard Mikutsky, DFS Director and State Fire Marshal.

The initiative came as a result of Princeton Fire Marshal Peggy Brookes’ personal experience during a virtual Zoom learning session involving her son where she could hear the beeping sound of a low battery on a smoke detector. As a firefighter and fire marshal, she immediately contacted the teacher through the Zoom chat. The teacher heard the sound as well and was able to reach out to the family to solve the problem of the beeping smoke detector. The teacher then reached back out to Brookes to ask what else she should look for since teachers have a different view into their student’s home. As a result, the Remote Learning Safety Package for Educators was created. 

In addition to safety information about smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and cooking, the Remote Learning Safety Package also includes the following helpful tips: 

  • Cyber Safety - Secure hardware and implement password safety. 
  • Mental Health – Watch for drastic changes in behavior, changes in a child’s appearance or withdrawn behaviors, which can be indications of abuse or mental health concerns. 
  • Child Abuse - Look out for any form of abuse (i.e. domestic violence, child abuse, bruises, cuts, marks or disclosures). Any of these signs are a cause for immediate concern and should be reported to 1-877-NJABUSE (652-2873). If you are not sure that the concern rises to the level of a report, the hotline is available to you 24/7 to simply ask the question. 

“We encourage both fire departments, fire officials and certainly educators to consider implementing the learning initiative as an innovative way to capitalize on the relationship between school districts and firefighters. During normal times, we would be visiting and teaching children to “Stop, Drop and Roll,” added Mikutsky. 

In addition to the packet, the State recommends reviewing the following information: 


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. 

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

   DCa on Twitter

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