DCA Reminds New Jersey Residents to "Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries"
Campaign Encourages Fire Safety

TRENTON - New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman and State Fire Marshal and Division of Fire Safety Director Lawrence Petrillo today reminded all New Jersey residents that with the return to Standard Time occurring this Sunday, November 1, this weekend is a good time to "change your clocks, change your batteries."

"We often forget to do the small things in life that can make a difference like changing the batteries in our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The habit of changing these batteries when we change our clocks back can go a long way towards preventing fire injuries and deaths," said Acting Commissioner Richman. "Having a working smoke alarm doubles a family's chance of escaping and surviving a home fire."

People should install, test and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms 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 and CO detectors. Smoke alarms should be placed, at minimum, on each floor of a home, outside of all sleeping areas, and in the basement. Fire Safety also suggests detectors in each bedroom.

"It is important to teach your children the importance of recognizing and responding when a fire alarm is sounding. Performing regular mock fire drills at home will ensure that every family member will know what to do," Director Petrillo said. "Drafting an evacuation plan that includes a pre-designated meeting area and practicing it not only protects you and your family members, but it protects firefighters, too. Firefighters are the men and women who, when others are running out of the building, run in looking for individuals who may have become overcome by smoke or flame."

Smoke alarms are still the most effective way of preventing fire deaths in the home.  Unfortunately, far too many New Jersey residents who have smoke detectors do not replace the batteries to guarantee their continued operation. People should replace any smoke alarms older than 10 years and any CO detectors older than five years.

In addition to replacing the batteries in smoke and CO alarms, the DCA suggests people do a few other semi-annual tasks to improve safety in the home. For instance, households should prepare a disaster supply kit that includes items such as water, food, flashlights, batteries and blankets.

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 for implementing public education and firefighter training programs. For more information, log on to http://www.state.nj.us/dca/dfs/ on the DCA website.