It's that time of year again. Clocks will spring ahead one hour this weekend as daylight savings time begins and New Jersey fire officials are urging homeowners to change the batteries in their smoke detectors.

(Flickr User Jenn Durfey)

"Smoke detectors are essential in a private dwelling," said Dominick Marino, president of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey. "The first chance an individual is going to have to get out of the house or the apartment is the alarm that sounds when there is smoke. It's the first warning sign."

All too often, non-working batteries fail to alert people of a fire and devastation follows. Smoke detector batteries can burn out, stop working and, on occasion, people take them out while they are cooking and forget to put them back into the device.

"Once the fire starts, without an early warning system, the fire will have more time to take hold of the building or the room and make it that much harder to extinguish," Marino said.

It is recommended that homeowners and apartment dwellers change smoke detector batteries once or twice a year.

"The adage is, when the time changes, change your batteries to ensure that they are fresh and will always work," Marino said. "You can never be too safe."