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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Save a Life – Stop Smoking

02/03/2011

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging smokers to do something for themselves and their loved ones on March 9th for official No Smoking Day – ‘Put it Out, Put it Right out.’

"People have to understand the danger they are putting themselves and loved ones in. If you don’t behave responsibly with cigarettes and how you use and dispose of smoking materials then you are tempting fate."

Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss

Since 2008 the Service has attended 119 smoking-related fires, 41 people have been injured in those fires and six people required rescuing. Five have resulted in death, the most recent fatality being in December 2010 in Burton.

This year, supported by the national charity No Smoking Day, the Service is urging smokers to modify their behaviour, or if they are able to, mark the event on March 9th by kicking their habit altogether.

Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss, said: "People know the health risks of smoking but they shouldn’t underestimate the threats associated with smoking in the home if cigarettes aren’t extinguished properly. While property can be replaced a life cannot.

"People have to understand the danger they are putting themselves and loved ones in. If you don’t behave responsibly with cigarettes and how you use and dispose of smoking materials then you are tempting fate. The best way to be sure of reducing your risk is to give up smoking."

"We appreciate though that for some smokers, kicking the habit can be extremely tough so our advice is to always be cautious when smoking at home and to put it out, right out, after finishing a cigarette."

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.
  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning.
  • Never smoke in bed - if you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire.
  • 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 sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.
  • Tap your ash into an ashtray, never a wastebasket containing other rubbish – and don’t let the ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray.
  • Fit and maintain a smoke alarm - a working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
  •  Ask the experts - Fire and Rescue Services in England offer free home fire risk checks to identify potential fire risks and advise what to do to reduce or prevent them.