Poll Finds Lack Of Fire Safety Devices In N.J. Homes

SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Fifty-five people in New Jersey have already died this year because of fire-related injuries. Now, a new poll has found too many New Jersey homes lack critical fire safety devices.

Joseph Episcopo was unaware his home was lacking a carbon monoxide detector—but he’s not alone. A new Rutgers-Eagleton poll reports 14 percent of N.J. residents admit to not owning a carbon monoxide detector, 25 percent say they don’t have a fire extinguisher and more than a third of poll responders say they are missing one or both.

As CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, thankfully most say they have smoke detectors—a life-saver according to Eric Evers of the Summit Fire Department.

“If you have early detection in your house, you are 50 percent more likely to survive a fire,” he said.

His colleague, Joseph Moschello, took CBS 2 inside a Summit, N.J., home to talk fire prevention.

“It’s recommended you have a smoke alarm in each level of your home,” he said.

Moschello says place smoke detectors near the stairwell, which will capture smoke and gases as they rise up. He also advises on putting one in each bedroom.

If you have a fire extinguisher, check the pressure gauge, which Moschello says should be in the green zone at all times. If not, replace it or take it to a pro for a checkup at least once a year.

Moschello says taking an open hand and pounding the bottom of the fire extinguisher will break up the extinguishing agent that collects on the bottom over time– but take note of how long you’ve had it.

As for carbon monoxide detectors, the Summit Fire Department just installed one for Episcopo outside his bedroom.

Fire experts also advise testing all smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers each month and be sure to change batteries out every six months.

Carbon monoxide detectors usually last 5-7 years and the smoke alarms last for around 10 years.

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