New Smoke Alarm Regulation Enacted Last Year Remains in Effect
TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety is reminding residents to check or change their household smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries during the time change on Sunday, November 1. New Jersey’s smoke alarm regulation, which took effect last year, remains in force.
“The change of season is an opportune time to check, change or replace your smoke alarms. The simple act of keeping operating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home can help save lives,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner.
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The law requires that 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms be installed in homes built before January 1, 1977, and includes one- and two-family dwellings, motel rooms, and housing units in rooming houses. The State’s Uniform Construction Code requires all homes built after January 1, 1977 to have alternating current (AC) hardwired alarms installed inside the dwellings, and those homes are not affected by the new regulation.
One- and two-family dwellings will need to comply with these new requirements prior to sale or change of occupancy.
The new requirement does not apply to low voltage alarm systems, alternating current (AC) hardwired alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms. Combination carbon monoxide alarm and smoke alarm single station devices are required to be of the 10-year sealed battery type.
“Smoke alarm manufacturers, such as Kidde, have been making the transition to ten-year sealed batteries and every new smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is manufactured with them,” said Richard Mikutsky, Division of Fire Safety Director and State Fire Marshal. “However, there are many units out there with conventional battery alarms and we urge owners to check and replace them as necessary.”
Mikutsky added that whether it is a ten-year sealed unit or not, the following advice for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is appropriate at any time.
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
- Be sure the smoke alarm includes the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Replace smoke 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 for implementing community risk reduction and firefighter training programs.