Campaign Encourages New Jersey Households to Make Sure
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms Are Properly Working

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III today reminded all New Jersey residents to change and test the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at the same time they change their clocks to Standard Time this Sunday, November 4. This reminder is especially important this year in the wake of Hurricane Sandy when many households are powering their homes with gasoline and diesel fueled generators, which release a large amount of carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas.

“The message of ‘change your clock, change your battery’ is simple and can be lifesaving,” said Commissioner Constable. “Making this activity a habit can go a long way towards preventing fire and carbon monoxide-related injuries and deaths.”

People should install, test and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their homes. With the change from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time this weekend, people will turn their clocks back one hour. The DCA’s Division of Fire Safety strongly recommends that households take this opportunity to replace the batteries in smoke alarms and CO detectors. These devices should be placed, at minimum, on each floor of a home, outside of all sleeping areas, and in the basement. Fire Safety also suggests alarms and detectors in each bedroom.

“The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms is worn or missing batteries. By simply replacing the batteries of these devices, people strengthen their first line of defense against fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Acting State Fire Marshal William Kramer, who encourages households to consider upgrading to long-life lithium batteries.

In addition to changing the batteries, people should replace smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at regular intervals as well. Smoke alarms older than ten years and CO detectors older than five years should be replaced as soon as possible.

To improve safety in the home, the Division of Fire Safety also suggests people prepare a disaster supply kit that includes items such as water, food, flashlights, batteries and blankets. Furthermore, households should devise a family escape plan and practice these routes with adults at least twice a year, including at night, so that everyone knows what to do when the smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector sounds.

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in New Jersey. 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.