North Carolina Joins National Fire Emergency Declaration

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, who also serves as the state fire marshal, joined national officials in declaring a fire emergency across his state.

The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) have also cited a fire emergency for the nation.

Since Thanksgiving, more than 200 people have died in fires across the country, according to the NASFM.

“Sadly, North Carolina is no exception to the same fire problems facing the country,” said Goodwin. “Nationally, this has been one of the deadliest holiday seasons in recent history, which is why I want to remind all North Carolinians just how important fire safety and prevention is — to prevent future tragedies in our state.”

According to the most recent 2008 statistics for North Carolina, over the past year there have been 4,987 reported structure fires, which caused at least 24 fatalities and 220 injuries.

With cold weather facing North Carolina, fire safety is especially important because home fires peak during the winter months. Fortunately most fires are preventable, according to Goodwin, who issued some fire prevention tips for families in his state:

Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater.

Only use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

Never use an oven or outdoor grills for home heating.

Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

For fuel burning space heaters, always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.

He also urged homeowners to test smoke alarms at least monthly.

Source: North Carolina Insurance Department