Wake up to the deadly risk
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are warning smokers that they must wake up to the deadly dangers of smoking - especially when tired - as part of the Fire Kills campaign.
Cigarettes and other smoking products cause just over a third of all accidental fire fatalities in the home.
While people are currently staying home to save lives and play their part in reducing the strain on the NHS, it is important to remember that smoking is the single most common source of ignition in accidental fire fatalities in the home, often because of careless behaviour such as smoking in bed or not taking care after drinking alcohol.
And when smokers fall asleep with a lit cigarette in hand, their proximity to the resulting fire seriously lowers their chance of making an escape.
That is why Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding smokers to ‘Put it Out, Right Out’ whenever they light up, to keep themselves and their families safe in their homes.
Head of the Service’s prevention department, Nick Evans, said: “On average, someone dies from a fire ignited by cigarettes or smoking materials every five days. 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 wake up to the risks they take every time they light up and drop the habit of smoking whilst 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 at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them at least monthly. A working smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape if the worst should happen.”
These simple steps can help prevent a cigarette fire in the home:
• 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
• Fit a smoke alarm and test it at least monthly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
• 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.