You should feel a bit safer when inside New Jersey businesses starting next month.

On Sept. 3, an update to the state fire code goes into effect, requiring that all businesses with a fuel-burning appliance (water heater, furnace, fireplace) or attached garage be equipped with at least one battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.

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The minimum number of alarms increases based on the size of the business and location of fuel-burning appliances.

CO, "the silent killer," is an odorless, colorless gas. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 400 Americans die each year from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires. Another 4,000-plus are hospitalized.

Current law requires a working CO detector in homes.

The retrofit code will give businesses 30 days to fall into compliance once an inspector spots a violation, according to Kevin Esposito, chief of the Toms River Bureau of Fire Protection.

Inspections of every business are conducted yearly, biannually or quarterly.

"They'll be given 30 days to install that detector, and then the inspector will go back and do a follow-up to make sure it's installed properly."

Businesses — typically those that need elaborate systems in order to stick with the updated code — could file for an extension.

"If a business chooses not to install it and they don't do an extension, unfortunately there will be fines and penalties that will take place until it's done," Esposito said.

In smaller businesses such as a lawyer's or doctor's office, $10 can save a few lives, Esposito said.

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