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smoke detectorSmoke Alarms Will Be Provided to Households that Cannot Afford Them; Division Also Reminds Residents to Check Smoke and CO Alarms during Daylight Saving Time

PHOTO: Smoke Detector.  (AHH file photo)

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Division of Fire Safety will begin distributing residential smoke alarms for free to New Jersey communities for the 22nd year running as part of WABC-TV’s Operation 7: Save a Life program. The smoke alarm giveaway, which is underwritten by WABC New York and Kidde, provides alarm units free of charge to vulnerable populations such as senior citizens on fixed incomes, low-income residents, and households with children.

“For more than two decades, we’ve been able to get life-saving smoke alarms into the homes of people who otherwise wouldn’t receive them because of this invaluable partnership with WABC-TV and Kidde,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “We recognize both businesses for their long-standing commitment to educating the public about fire safety and look forward to participating in this critical campaign for years to come.”

Operation 7: Save a Life is a program created and run by WABC-TV, a major broadcast television station in New York City. Each year as part of Operation 7: Save a Life, the station provides both on-air and online fire safety programming in cooperation with Kidde, a major manufacturer of fire safety products. The campaign also includes the distribution of thousands of free 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms to fire service agencies such as the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety in the station’s viewership area, which includes approximately 12 counties in the northern and central regions of the state. The Division of Fire Safety, in turn, delivers the alarms to individual fire departments, which provide them to people in need within their respective jurisdictions.

The Division of Fire Safety this year received 5,000 smoke alarms as part of the campaign and is setting up distribution events later this month for fire departments in the northern and central sections of the state.

Since the inception of the Operation 7: Save a Life program, the Division of Fire Safety has distributed more than 170,000 free smoke alarms in the WABC-TV viewing area in New Jersey.

“The presence of a working smoke alarm inside a home can literally save lives. That is why WABC-TV can count on the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety to participate year in and year out in this critically important campaign,” said State Fire Marshal Richard Mikutsky, who also serves as Division of Fire Safety Director. “We thank our local fire departments for helping us get these alarms to residents who can least afford them. Everyone should be protected from fire regardless of their financial means.”

The Division of Fire Safety is also taking this opportunity to remind residents that Daylight Saving Time, which falls on Sunday, March 8, 2020, is a good time to check the smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in their homes to make sure they are working and to change them if they are not. 

Approximately 60 percent of home fire deaths nationwide result from fires in residences with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The association’s statistics also show that the risk of dying in a home fire is reduced by half in residences with working smoke alarms.

The Division of Fire Safety encourages residents to follow these tips:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Replace the entire smoke alarm right away if it chirps, which is a warning that the battery is low. Replace it with a sealed battery model. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years.
  • Be sure the smoke alarm includes the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • 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 developing and enforcing the State Uniform Fire Code, engaging the public on community risk reduction strategies, assisting in fire department preparedness, and conducting firefighter training programs.

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: