Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding smokers on National No Smoking Day that careless handling and disposal of cigarettes is the single biggest killer in house fires across the country.
With a steady decline in the number of smokers, the overall number of fires triggered by cigarettes is small, but with over 90 fire deaths last year in the country attributed to cigarettes, the proportion of fatalities is staggering.
To coincide with National No Smoking Day (14 March 2012), Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging smokers to realise the deadly dangers of lighting up in the home. Smokers who don’t intend to give up should be aware of the fire risks they face, cut out dangerous habits, install smoke alarms on every level of the home and test them weekly. A working smoke alarm means you are far more likely to survive an accidental house fire.
For smokers not ready to kick the habit this No Smoking Day, it is important to follow these simple precautions to prevent a fire at home:
- Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished
- Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999
- Never smoke in bed. Take care when you’re tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight
- Avoid drugs and alcohol when smoking. It’s easy to lose your concentration when using any sort of drugs or drinking alcohol, combined with cigarettes and this could be lethal
- Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down
- Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn and empty it frequently.
- make sure your cigarette butts (and any remains in your pipe bowl) aren’t still smouldering when you’ve finished with them; wet them and empty your ashtray into a metal bin outside the house
- keep lighters, matches and smoking materials out of the reach of children – you can also buy child-resistant lighters and containers for matches