Now is the best time to make sure smoke detectors are working properly 

FREEHOLD, NJ – As you set your clocks back one hour this coming weekend, be sure to also test the smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home or office. 

“Twice a year, residents should test their smoke alarms and CO detectors,” county Fire Marshal Hank Stryker said. “The spring and fall time changes are perfect reminders to test this equipment and, if your detectors are battery operated, you should change the batteries as well.”

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 3,000 people die in home fires each year, and the majority of them have no working smoke alarm.

A working smoke alarm can help you and your family escape a deadly home fire. It can also help save the lives of firefighters who would otherwise have to risk their lives by searching a burning home for residents. A working smoke alarm continuously scans the air for smoke, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It never sleeps.

“If your smoke and CO detectors are powered by alkaline household batteries, it’s OK to throw the old batteries out with the trash,” Stryker added. “The recycling of common household batteries is no longer required.”

“Residents with hard-wired systems should be testing their detector systems monthly and change the batteries annually. If you missed the spring time change, make your switch now,” Stryker said. “If you do not have smoke detectors and CO detectors in your home, you should purchase and install some detectors immediately. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions because there are differences between the various brands.”

The U.S. Fire Administration suggests that smoke alarms be properly installed and maintained both inside and outside of sleeping areas and on every level of your home. They also recommend interconnected smoke alarms because if one sounds, they all sound.

In October 2009, the county’s Household Hazardous Waste facility stopped accepting the most common household batteries because they have little or no toxic content anymore and recycling them is no longer necessary. The exception is small “button batteries” used in many of the smaller electronic devices such as watches, calculators and specialty toys and games.