With the end of daylight saving time on Sunday, Nov.4 at 2 a.m., N.C. Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey urges North Carolinians of this life-saving habit: When you change your clock this weekend, remember to change the battery in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm.
"A working smoke alarm cuts the chance of dying in a house fire in half," said Commissioner Causey. "Prevention is the first step in protecting our families from fire and it only takes a few minutes to see if your smoke alarm battery or carbon monoxide battery is in working condition," said Commissioner Causey. "It's worth the time."
During the 2018 Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, which runs from Nov. 5-11, Commissioner Causey encourages residents to learn how to safely maintain and service your fuel burning appliances, which are often the culprits in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is often called the invisible killer because it is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely.
In the home, heating and cooking equipment are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
So far in 2018, there have been 117 fire deaths in North Carolina. The majority of those fires happened in homes without the presence of a working smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide detector.
The National Fire Protection Association provides these safety tips that you can use in your community to promote carbon monoxide awareness:
- CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for placement and mounting height.
- Call your local fire department's non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO or fire alarm sounds.
- Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
- If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrives.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
- During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
- A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
- Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.
For more safety tips and information about Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, visit your fire department's website or go to www.ncdoi.com/fireprevention.