The fire service is urging Northamptonshire smokers to ensure that their cigarettes are put right out.
Smoking related fires are the biggest killers in accidental fires in the home according to national statistics, and cigarettes and other smoking products cause a quarter of all accidental fire fatalities in the home.
To help the public stay safe, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding smokers to ‘Put it Out, Right Out’ whenever they light up – as part of the National Fire Chiefs Council’s monthly campaign for April 2021 which raises awareness of the potential fire dangers that can arise from smoking.
People should also ensure that they install smoke alarms on every level of the home, and test them regularly. Without a working smoke alarm you are at least eight times more likely to die in an accidental fire in the home.
Darren Dovey, Chief Fire Officer at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue, said: “People might think that we rarely get called out to deal with fires that were started from smoking. But between the start of 2018 and the end of 2020 we attended 125 smoking related incidents in Northamptonshire.
“Tragically, there have also been three deaths over the last four years due to smoking related incidents. This is three more than there should have been, but it does highlight what can happen if safe practices are not followed.”
Without a doubt, quitting is the best way to remove the fire risk. There is plenty of help available to you should you want to try 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 at www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/ or by calling 0300 126 5700.
For those who do not wish to quit however, 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.
- Make an attempt to quit using NHS support if you need it. If you do not want to quit, consider vaping
Tina Collett, Prevention Team Leader for the Home Fire Safety Team at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue, added: “If smokers do not feel ready to quit yet, we would urge them to smoke outside if possible and ensure that their cigarettes are put right out and fully extinguished. We would also urge people to never smoke in bed; to avoid illegally manufactured cigarettes; to use a proper ashtray and never a wastepaper basket; and not to leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire.”