For Immediate Release: December 10, 209

Contact: Ben Powell at 919-807-6008

State Fire Marshal Mike Causey leads charge to reduce fire deaths in 2019

RALEIGH -- After one of the deadliest years on record for fire fatalities in North Carolina, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey urges residents to stay focused on fire safety and prevention in 2019.

In 2018, 133 people lost their lives in North Carolina because of fire -- 50 more people from the year before. In most of these fires, a working smoke alarm was not present.

"The risk of death due to fire can be diminished with the proper use of smoke alarms," said Commissioner Causey. "It shouldn't take tragedies like the recent deaths in Charlotte to remind us of the importance of working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan."

To reduce the number of fire fatalities in 2019, State Fire Marshal Causey will be leading a statewide effort to provide more education on heating fires, oxygen related fires, and the leading cause of house fires: cooking. OSFM will also be asking state legislators for additional funding to implement more community risk reduction programs and to hire more fire investigators to assist local fire departments.

In more than 40 percent of the fire fatalities (54) in 2018, investigators were not able to determine a cause due to a lack of evidence. However, investigators believe the majority of those fires were caused by heating sources inside the home.

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

According to the National Fire Protection Association, working smoke alarms save lives and cut the risk of dying in a fire in half. Commissioner Causey is adamant that smoke alarms be installed, tested and maintained in every home.

State Fire Marshal Causey recommends the following advice related to smoke alarms:

State Fire Marshal Causey recommends the following advice regarding home escape plans:

For more information about fire prevention and safety, visit the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Office of State Fire Marshal or National Fire Protection Association.