"Providing Fire Prevention through
education, engineering and enforcement
of the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code..."



Fire Safety Tips

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are the residential fire safety success story of the past quarter century. Smoke detector technology has been around since the 1960s. But the single-station, battery-powered smoke detector we know today became available to consumers in the 1970s, and since then, the home fire death rate has been reduced by half. NFPA estimates that 94% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm today, and most states have laws requiring them in residential dwellings.

Important: Working smoke detectors are essential in every household. It is necessary to practice home fire drills to be certain everyone is familiar with the smoke detector signal, and to determine if there are any obstacles to a quick and safe evacuation (including the inability for some to awaken to the smoke alarm signal).

Facts & Figures

  • 15 of every 16 homes (94%) in the U.S. have at least one smoke detector.
  • One-half of home fire deaths occur in the 6% of homes with no smoke detectors.
  • Homes with smoke detectors (whether or not they are operational) typically have a death rate that is 40-50% less than the rate for homes without detectors.
  • In three of every 10 reported fires in homes equipped with smoke detectors, the devices did not work. Households with non-working smoke detectors now outnumber those with no smoke detectors.
  • Why do smoke detectors fail? Most often because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries.

Installation Tips

  • Install at least one smoke detector on every floor of your home (including the basement) and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, NFPA recommends installing smoke detectors inside the room. In new homes, smoke detectors are required in all sleeping rooms, according to the NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code.
  • Mount the smoke detectors high on ceilings or walls remember, smoke rises. Ceiling-mounted detectors should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted detectors should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling. On vaulted ceilings, be sure to mount the detector at the highest point of the ceiling.
  • Don't install smoke detectors near windows, outside doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Don't paint your smoke detectors; paint or other decorations could keep them from working when you most need it.

Maintenance Tips

  • Test smoke detectors at least once a month by using the detector's "test button" or an approved smoke substitute, and clean the units in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors once a year, or as soon as the detector "chirps," warning that the battery is low. Hint: schedule battery replacements for the same day you change your clock from daylight to standard time in the fall.
  • Regularly vacuuming or dusting your smoke detector following manufacturer's instructions can help keep it working properly.
  • Replace your smoke detectors once every 10 years.
  • Never "borrow" a battery from a smoke detector.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home can hear and recognize the sound of the detector and knows how to react immediately.
  • NFPA recommends that people with hearing impairments install smoke detectors with louder alarm signals and/or strobe lights to alert them to a fire.
  • Be sure that the smoke detector you buy carries the label of an independent testing lab. For a list of manufacturers that distribute smoke detectors for the hearing impaired, please call NFPAs Center for High-Risk Outreach at 1 617 984-7826.
  • Detectors that are hard-wired to the home's electrical system should be installed by a qualified electrician.

Source: National Fire Prevention Association


Carbon Monoxide Alarms


"The leading cause of
poisoning deaths in America"

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless deadly gas. Because you can not see, taste, or smell it, Carbon Monoxide can kill you before you know it is there.

Who is at risk?

Everyone is at risk for Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Experts believe, however, that individuals with greater oxygen requirements such as unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens, and people with coronary or respiratory problems are at greater risk.

Why is Carbon Monoxide
so dangerous?

The great danger of Carbon Monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream. CO is breathed in through the lungs and bonds with hemoglobin in the blood, displacing the oxygen cells need to function. When CO is present in the air, it rapidly accumulates in the blood, forming a toxic compound knows as caroxyhemoglobin (COHb).

Where does
Carbon Monoxide
come from?

Carbon Monoxide is a by-product of combustion, present whenever fuel is burned. It is produced by common home appliances, such as gas or oil furnaces, refrigerators or clothes dryers, water heaters, fireplaces, charcoal grills, gas ranges, wood burning stoves, and space heaters. Fumes from automobiles also contain Carbon Monoxide and can enter a home through walls or doorways if a car is left running in an attached garage.

All of these sources can contribute to a CO problem in the home. If a home is vented properly and is free from appliance malfunctions, air pressure fluctuations or airway blockages, Carbon Monoxide will most likely be safely vented to the outside. But in today's energy efficient homes this is frequently not the case. Insulation meant to keep warm air in during winter months can trap CO polluted air in a home year round. Furnace heat exchangers can crack, vents can become blocked, inadequate air supply for combustion appliances can cause conditions knows as back drafting or reverse stacking, which force contaminated air back into the home.

How can I protect
myself and my family
from CO poisoning?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends installing at least one Carbon Monoxide detector per household, near the sleeping area. A second detector near the home's heat source provides extra protection. Choose an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed detector that sounds an audible alarm. First Alert, the leading name in home safety, manufactures a UL listed, battery operated Carbon Monoxide detector that continues to protect even in the event of a power outage. The First Alert model uses patented bio mimetic technology, which simulates the body's response to CO and will not respond to other gases. A hard wired AC model with battery backup is also available.

Common Sources of CO

  • Blocked chimney opening
  • Clogged chimney
  • Portable heater
  • Gas or wood burning fireplace
  • Improperly installed gas kitchen range or cook top vent
  • Gas clothes dryer
  • Operating barbecue grill in enclosed area such as a garage
  • Corroded or disconnected water heater vent pipe
  • Leaking chimney pipe or flue
  • Cracked heat exchanger

If you have any further questions regarding Carbon Monoxide, contact you local Fire Prevention Bureau or Fire Department.


Get Out and Stay Out


Many house fires can be prevented. The majority of fatal house fires strike at night, while people are asleep. Smoke detectors wake people up before smoke overcomes them. Be sure every level in your home is equipped with at least one smoke detector.
In case fire does start, everyone in your home should know how to escape. Plan two exits from every room of your home. The more escape routes you have, the better. Plan to have one place outside where all members of your family will meet after escaping.

Once out, stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor's house.

Call 9-1-1

Practice your escape routes at least once every six months. The more times children practice a fire drill, the better chance they will react correctly to a real fire. Make the drill as realistic as possible. If you have a home with a second level, be sure to have fire escape ladders in place to evacuate from the second story.

fire escape plan

  • Stay calm!

  • Answer all questions asked by the dispatcher as thoroughly as possible.

  • Follow all instructions given to you by the dispatcher.

  • Do not hang up the phone until told to do so by the dispatcher.

  • Keep your address and phone number posted on or near your telephone. This is especially important when you have out-of-town guests or a babysitter.




Burn Injury Awareness and Prevention
Each February, the Burn Awareness Coalition sponsors National Burn Injury Awareness Month. Burn injury awareness should be practiced every day, however. Did you know:
  • More than two million people suffer from serious burn injuries each year in the United States.

  • Nationally, over 8,000 people die each year from burn-related injuries.

  • Burns are the second leading cause of death to children under the age of four years

  • 80 percent of all burns to children under eight years are caused by scalding.

  • Just one second of exposure to a hot liquid can cause a life threatening injury to a child.

New Jersey has experienced a decline in fire death rates when compared to national averages. Let's continue the downward trend through fire prevention education, fire code enforcement, smoke detectors, and home sprinkler systems.


Burn Injury Prevention

  • When carrying or holding children, keep hot beverages away from the child.

  • When cooking, use the back burners and always turn the pot handles inward.

  • Food comes out of the microwave oven much hotter than expected. Take extra precautions around children.

  • Never microwave a child's bottle or allow young children to remove items from the microwave.

  • Check the temperature of bath water before placing your child in the tub. The recommended temperature is 100 degrees.

  • Never leave young children unattended in the bathtub or in the kitchen while cooking.

  • Check the temperature on your hot water heater, the recommended setting is 102 degrees.

  • Keep appliances toward the back of the counter top. Cords should be wound-up and out-of-reach.


Call 9-1-1 For Help

  • Stay calm!
  • Answer all questions asked by the dispatcher as thoroughly as possible.
  • Follow all instructions given to you by the dispatcher.
  • Do not hang-up the phone until told to do so by the dispatcher.
  • Keep your address and phone number posted on or near your telephone. This is especially important when you have out-of-town guests or a babysitter.


Holiday Safety Tips


  • Buy only a fresh tree! Dry needles and brittle branches are a sign the tree is not fresh and will burn easily.
  • Make a diagonal cut in the tree truck. It will allow the tree to absorb water.
  • Water the tree daily.
  • Position the tree away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, heat registers, or portable heaters.
  • Never burn your tree in your fireplace.


  • Use only UL approved tree lights.
  • Check for frayed or bare wiring, cracked or broken sockets, and loose connections.
  • If lights show signs of wear and tear, do not use them.
  • Avoid using extension cords. Never run an electrical cord under carpeting.
  • Lights can overload circuits. Watch for signs of lights dimming.
  • Turn off all lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.

If you have any questions, please contact your local
Fire Prevention Bureau
Fire Department.


Morris County Fire Prevention Association
P. O. Box 96
Ledgewood, NJ 07852
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