MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Fire Department is partnering with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to educate the public about the necessity of using UL-certified smoke detectors.
Recently, the Fire Department went out on a fire alarm call, and they discovered that the smoke detectors on the premises did not work properly. Further investigation revealed that the devices were not certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the leading worldwide safety science consulting and certification firm. The smoke detectors were manufactured in China and had been purchased inexpensively over the Internet.
Millburn Fire Chief J. Michael Roberts met with officials from the CPSC, which is investigating this and similar incidents. The Commission has requested the Fire Department's help in raising community awareness about this issue.
According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, only 20 percent of home fires occur between 11 p.m.and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep; however, fires that do occur during this time result in 50 percent of all home fire deaths. Furthermore, three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes without working smoke detectors.
A UL-certified smoke detector will have the organization's logo, a UL symbol enclosed within a circle, printed on its package. Fire Department officials are also reminding residents to ensure that smoke detectors are tested regularly and replaced when they reach the end of their shelf life. Batteries should be replaced twice annually; a good habit is to add fresh batteries when setting the clocks ahead and behind for Daylight Savings Time.
"With so many knock-off products and inexpensive alternatives available at discount stores and over the Internet, it's understandable that residents are looking for opportunities to save," said Chief Roberts. "However, a UL-certified smoke detector is one of the cheapest and most effective insurance policies you can buy. We strongly caution residents to avoid risking the safety of their families and homes, and to make the investment in installing working, high-quality smoke detectors."
More information about the Consumer Product Safety Commission's guidelines and standards for smoke detector safety can be found on its website, at www.cpsc.gov.
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