FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 30, 2014

DCA Division of Fire Safety Reminds Residents to “Change Your Clock, Change Your Batteries”

  Residents are Urged to Change Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Batteries during Daylight Savings Time

TRENTON, N.J. – Daylight Savings Time is nearing, and in keeping with this month’s fire safety theme, "Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives, Test Yours Every Month," the Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Division of Fire Safety and local fire departments are asking residents to change smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries when time "falls back" on Sunday, November 2nd.  

"Having smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home is essential," said Richard E. Constable III, Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. "Now is an excellent opportunity to change the batteries, test the alarms, and ensure they are working properly."

Constable notes that the seasonal time change is used by the fire service as a timely reminder. According to Division of Fire Safety statistics, residential fires account for more than 80 percent of all fires in the state.

"Sadly among those tragic fires, many are homes where no smoke detector was present," said Acting Division of Fire Safety Director and State Fire Marshal William Kramer, Jr. "We are addressing this issue as part of our annual free smoke and carbon monoxide alarm giveaway to senior citizens and low-income residents. We also remind those who have alarms that maintenance is critical."

Everyone should regularly test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. All households should have alarms located outside a bedroom on every floor, including the basement.

"It bears repeating," said Kramer. "A properly installed and maintained smoke and CO alarm is a family’s first defense against fire."

In addition to changing batteries, residents should replace the alarms often. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms should be replaced after ten and five years, respectively.  "Awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm provides protection 24 hours a day," Kramer adds.

There new fire safety advancements include home monitoring via smart phones. The Nest is a product that communicates wirelessly throughout the home; sends alerts to homeowners' cell phones; and provides voice command alerts, as well as traditional beeps. 

"As with all electronic devices there are always improvements and innovations consumers can take advantage of, in this case however, the advantage might save your life," said Kramer.

The Division is asking residents to consider a few other fire prevention measures when turning the clock ahead and replacing smoke and CO alarms batteries. Families should prepare a disaster supply kit that includes water, food, flashlights, batteries and blankets. Households should also devise an emergency exit plan, and practice these routes with adults at least twice a year, including at night. This way everyone knows the proper action when the smoke or carbon monoxide alarm sounds.

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.

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