Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, who also serves as the State Fire Marshal, is pleased to announce the 2018 statewide smoke alarm canvass was a huge success in the ongoing effort to prevent fire deaths in North Carolina.
With the assistance of the American Red Cross, Kidde, Nationwide Insurance and dozens of local fire departments, volunteers and organizers with the Office of State Fire Marshal installed 3,130 smoke alarms to residents and homeowners in North Carolina in one day.
“I want to personally thank all the firefighters, volunteers, and organizations who chipped in to help with this first undertaking of canvassing the entire state,” said Commissioner Causey. “Smoke alarms save lives, but they need to be in good working order to do that.”
OSFM organizers, American Red Cross volunteers, and firefighters from more than 90 departments across North Carolina went door-to-door to check homes for the presence of working smoke alarms and install new ones where needed at no charge to residents.
Of the nearly 4,000 homes checked statewide, volunteers found the following information:
- 1,137 homes had non-working smoke alarms
- 517 homes had no smoke alarms
- 3,130 smoke alarms needed to be installed because there was not enough coverage for the home
There have been 91 fire deaths in North Carolina in 2018.
To put that in perspective, in the entire year of 2017, 83 people lost their lives in North Carolina because of fire.
In many of those incidents, there was no working smoke alarm present.
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports three out of every five home fire deaths across the nation resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
The Office of State Fire Marshal is continuing its efforts to prevent fire deaths in North Carolina by providing education and resources to the public and encouraging local fire departments to host their own smoke alarm canvassing events throughout the year.
In addition to changing or checking your smoke alarm battery, residents should take note of the following fire preparedness tips:
- Place a smoke alarm on every level of your home outside sleeping areas. If you keep bedroom doors shut, place a smoke alarm in each bedroom.
- Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it.
- Prepare and practice an escape plan – know at least two ways out of a room, crawl low under smoke and plan where to meet outside.
- Keep smoke alarms clean by regularly vacuuming over and around it. Dust and debris can interfere with its operation.
- Install smoke alarms away from windows, doors, or ducts that can interfere with their operation.
- Never remove the battery from or disable a smoke alarm. If your smoke alarm is sounding “nuisance alarms,” try locating it further from kitchens or bathrooms.
For more information on how to check smoke alarm batteries or have an alarm installed, contact your local fire department or the Office of State Fire Marshal at 1-800-634-7854.