Spring forward — and change your batteries

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 12, 2018

RALEIGH—As daylight saving time takes effect, N.C. Insurance Commissioner and state Fire Marshal Mike Causey wants to remind all North Carolinians to change the battery in their smoke alarms when they change their clocks.

“Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half, but they need to work in order to do it,” said  Causey. “Taking just a few minutes to change batteries in smoke alarms can be the difference between life and death.”

The National Fire Protection Association says three out of five home fire deaths across the nation resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

In fires in which homes had smoke alarms but did not operate, more than half of the alarms had missing or disconnected batteries after nuisance alarms, such as the alarm going off during cooking. Dead batteries caused one-quarter of smoke alarm failures. Hard-wired power source problems caused 7 percent of the failures.

The rest of the failures occurred because of defective or improperly installed alarms.

The association says families have an average of three minutes to get out of their homes after a smoke alarm sounds because of a fire.

In addition to changing or checking the 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 your local fire department or the Office of State Fire Marshal at 800-634-7854.