Insurance commissioner: change clocks forward, batteries in smoke alarm

RALEIGH – When daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 14, state insurance commissioner Mike Causey says to change batteries in household smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Causey says with families spending more time at home due to the pandemic, now is a critical time to review home fire safety plans.

“Smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a fire in half, but they have to be in proper working condition in order to do their job,” said Causey. “I urge everyone to use this weekend to check your smoke alarm. This could be a potentially life-saving investment of time and energy.”


As the state’s insurance commissioner, Causey is also the state’s fire marshal.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, families have an average of three minutes to get out of their homes once their smoke alarm sounds due to fire. There were 120 fire deaths in North Carolina in 2020, and in many of those incidents, a proper-working smoke alarm was not inside the home. So far in 2021, there have been 31 fire deaths.

“Changing your clock either back or forward should be like tying a string around your finger to remember to check your smoke alarm battery,” Causey added. “The two practices need to go hand in hand.”

The NFPA reports three out of every five home fire deaths across the nation resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

For more information about smoke alarm safety, the department recommends visiting their website: