If you are a smoker, or know someone who is, you will have heard many reasons why you should consider quitting; but, have you ever considered the fire risk associated with smoking?
Fires caused by smoking materials kill more people than fires caused by any other item. In 2020, there were three fatal fires in Derbyshire where the most likely cause was smoking materials, which is why Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is raising awareness of the risks, and ways to reduce them.
Giving up is the best way to reduce your risk, and there is plenty of help available should you want to make an attempt at putting down your cigarettes and lighters for good. The NHS has many stop smoking services, which are free, friendly and can massively boost your chances. More information can be found on their website.
However, if you’re not interested in giving up, or while you’re in the process of giving up, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the chances of your smoking materials leading to a fire:
- 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
- Never smoke when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire you could be less able to escape
- Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished
- 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
- Make an attempt to quit using NHS support if you need it. If you do not want to quit, consider vaping
- If using an e-cigarette make sure you use the correct rated charger
- Fit a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it weekly. Only a working smoke alarm can alert you to a fire, giving you time to get out, stay out and call 999
- Would you know how to get out in the event of a fire? Have a planned and practiced escape route.
Station Manager Steve Ratcliffe said: “Fires ignited by cigarettes or smoking materials result in more fatalities than any other fire. Despite a fall in the overall number of fires caused by these products, it’s still the biggest cause of accidental fires in the home across the country.
“Every smoker should be aware of the risks they take every time they light up and try drop the habit of smoking indoors, especially in bed, or under the influence of alcohol. The risk of falling asleep before you ‘put it out, right out’ is just too great.
“Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them weekly. Working smoke alarms can give you the extra time you need Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999 if the worst should happen.”
For more information on safe smoking visit our website or follow us on social media @DerbyshireFRS.