RALEIGH — As daylight saving time approaches, N.C. Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey wants to remind all North Carolinians when you change your clock this weekend, remember to change the battery in your smoke alarm.
“Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half, but they need to work in order to do it,” said Commissioner Causey. “Taking just a few minutes to change batteries in smoke alarms can be the difference between life and death.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, families have an average of three minutes to get out of their homes after their smoke alarm sounds due to fire. However, those life-saving minutes only occur when alarms are fully powered and operational.
The 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.
Of those, in fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than half of them had missing or disconnected batteries after nuisance alarms, such as the alarm going off during cooking. Dead batteries caused one-quarter of the smoke alarm failures. Hardwired power source problems caused 7 percent of the failures. The rest of the failures occurred because of defective or improperly installed alarms.
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.
For more information on how to check smoke alarm batteries or have an alarm installed, contact a local fire department or the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 800-634-7854.