State Fire Marshal Reminds Families To “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”

State Fire Marshal Reminds Families To “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”

By / State News / Tuesday, 09 October 2018 15:51

RALEIGH, N.C. : October 4th, 2018 - In recognition of 2018 Fire Prevention Week which runs from Oct. 7-13, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey is urging everyone to uphold this year’s campaign theme, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”
“Prevention is the first step in protecting our families from fire,” said Commissioner Causey. “That’s why Fire Prevention Week is so important to bring awareness to the risk of death in case of a fire and provide educational resources to keep everyone safe.”
So far in 2018, there have been 113 fire deaths in North Carolina. The majority of those fires happened in homes without the presence of a working smoke alarm.
“Smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire, said Commissioner Causey. “Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.”
This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” works to educate people about three basic but essential steps to take to reduce the likelihood of having a fire –– and how to escape safely in the event of one:
LOOK
Look for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.
LISTEN
Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.
LEARN
Learn two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
The public can help celebrate Fire Prevention Week by attending events in their local communities. Many local fire departments will be holding open houses, giving firehouse tours and visiting classrooms. Visit your fire department’s website or go to www.ncdoi.com/fireprevention for a list of events near you.
Even though homes built today are required to have smoke alarms installed in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on every level, if the alarms aren’t functioning properly, they won’t help those people inside. The North Carolina Department of Insurance often hears of people disconnecting their smoke alarms because the devices are too sensitive
and are triggered by steam or smoke given off while cooking. A smoke alarm should never be disconnected; instead homeowners should try relocating it farther from kitchens or bathrooms, where cooking fumes and steam can cause the alarm to sound. To protect your home and family, follow these smoke alarm installation and maintenance tips (from NFPA):
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, making sure that there is an alarm outside every separate sleeping area. New homes are required to have a smoke alarm in every sleeping room and all smoke alarms must be interconnected.
• Hard-wired smoke alarms operate on your household electrical current.
They can be interconnected so that every alarm sounds regardless of the fire’s location. This is an advantage in early warning, because it gives occupants extra time to escape if they are in one part of the home and a fire breaks out in another part.
Alarms that are hard-wired should have battery backups in case of a power outage, and should be installed by a qualified electrician.
•  If you, or someone in your home is deaf or hard of hearing, consider installing an alarm that combines flashing lights, vibration and/or sound.
• Regularly vacuuming or dusting your smoke alarms, following the manufacturer’s instructions, can keep them working properly.
• Smoke alarms don’t last forever. Replace yours once every 10 years. If you can’t remember how old the alarm is, then it’s probably time for a new one.
Consider installing smoke alarms with “long-life” (10-year) batteries.

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