New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (DFS) Director and State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky is joining local fire officials and fire departments across the state to remind residents that the biannual time change is a good time to check the condition of residential smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and consider upgrading to a 10-year sealed battery model if the current alarm is older than 10 years.
It is vital to have working smoke and CO alarms in the home. During the upcoming winter season, DFS will distribute smoke alarms via the Operation Save-a-Life program. This continued partnership with the WABC-NY and WPVI-Philadelphia television stations has seen more than 200,000 smoke alarms distributed statewide over the life of the program.
“We are proud to assist this year with both the New York and Philadelphia Operation Save-a-Life, which distribute free smoke alarms to the elderly and disadvantaged. Fire departments across New Jersey have been able to count on the generosity of this program to help keep families safe,” said State Fire Marshal Mikutsky.
The Division is also reminding residents of the state law regarding smoke alarms for one-and two-family dwellings, which requires 10-year sealed battery models to be installed prior to sale or change of occupancy.
The law does not apply to low voltage alarm systems, alternating current (AC) hardwired alarms, and CO alarms. Combination CO alarm and smoke alarm single station devices are required to be of the 10-year sealed battery type.
Regardless of the age or condition of the smoke alarms currently installed, all affected alarms must be replaced with 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms.
State Fire Marshal Mikutsky stresses that the presence of working smoke and CO alarms is critical for home fire protection and occupant safety, and offers the following guidelines:
- Install smoke and CO alarms outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Choose smoke and CO alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries that are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire alarm right away.
- Be sure the smoke and CO alarm includes the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Replace smoke and CO 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.
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.
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