For Immediate Release: October 23, 2018

Contact: Ben Powell at 919-807-6008

Be aware: When the thermometer dips, fires increase

RALEIGH -- With colder weather setting in across North Carolina, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey urges families to exercise fire safety when it comes to heating their homes.

"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."

Each year during the winter months, there is an increase in the number of home fires related to the various forms of heating. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating is the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries in the U.S.

"Half of home fire deaths occur in the night and early morning hours when people are asleep," said Commissioner Causey. "That's why it is imperative for family members to be mindful to use the furnace with care and know the dangers space heaters present."

So far in 2018, 116 people have lost their lives in North Carolina because of fire.

In addition to fires, winter weather increases the chances of carbon monoxide poisonings. Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer because the gas released is colorless and odorless. Vehicles, generators and home heating can produce dangerous levels in your home in a short amount of time, enough to cause illness or even death. Carbon monoxide poisoning mimics common illness such as the flu or food poisoning with symptoms to include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance, Office of State Fire Marshal and Safe Kids NC recommends the following NFPA safety tips to prevent fire, injury or poisonings:

Heating

Portable Generators

Fireplace Safety

Carbon Monoxide

For more information, contact Injury Prevention Deputy Director Shannon Bullock at 919.218.3396 or shannon.bullock@ncdoi.gov

--NC OSFM--