Temperatures in North Carolina are expected to dip this weekend and with the cooler temperatures, the risk for fire goes up when furnaces or fireplaces are turned on for the first time.
As a result, officials with the Office of the State Fire Marshal are urging all North Carolinians to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in working order, a practice which can save lives.
“Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” said N.C. Department of Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey. “I urge every North Carolinian to test their smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button. If you are unable to conduct the test, call your local fire department so fire firefighters can either check or install an alarm for you.”
This month, 11 people in North Carolina were killed in house fires, with some of the fatalities due to improperly working alarms.
“Due to their vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries, this weekend, we have staff in certain parts of the state going from home to home to check the status of fire alarms, “ added Commissioner Causey. “If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need working smoke alarms to give you time to get out—that’s the message our staff will convey.”
In addition to working smoke alarms, the OSFM encourages families to have an escape plan. That is, every family member should know two ways to get out of a room and to have a meeting place outside.
Perhaps just as important as a working smoke alarm is a working carbon monoxide alarm, which can alert residents of a malfunctioning or improperly ventilated furnace or other heating appliance. Carbon monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste or smell and when inhaled, it can be fatal. Carbon monoxide monitors should be installed outside of each sleeping area in a house.
For more information on how to escape injury and prevent house fires, visit nfpa.org, contact your local fire department or the Office of State Fire Marshal at 1-800-634-7854.