Shocking statistics from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have revealed that people under the influence of alcohol or drugs account for 40% of those rescued from accidental house fires.
"The statistics speak for themselves – people who are drunk are putting themselves at increased risk of being involved in a fire."
Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss
The statistics from April 2009 to July 2011 show that 131 incidents occurred when people in the affected properties were drunk or had taken drugs. Alcohol was also a factor in 30% of the deaths.
The most common incidents occur when drinkers start preparing a late night snack and then forget about their cooking or they light a cigarette and then fall asleep whilst it is still lit.
Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss said: "The statistics speak for themselves – people who are drunk are putting themselves at increased risk of being involved in a fire. A high percentage of these people have to be rescued, or in some cases have died, which indicates the severity of the fires they are involved in. Drinking makes you less alert and more careless, neither of which are a good combination when it comes to fire safety.
"Sometimes the incidents involve social drinkers but we are frequently coming across people who are alcohol dependent. We’d urge drinkers and those who care for people who are alcohol dependent to get in touch with us to arrange a free Home Fire Risk Check. We realise that we can’t stop people from drinking but we can put some prevention measures in place to reduce the risk of a fire occurring.
"As well as putting fire prevention measures in place we also work alongside our partners in the council, police and health service to encourage sensible drinking - putting fire prevention measures will certainly help to reduce the number of incidents but we need to address the root causes of alcohol and substance misuse in order to see a significant difference."
The Service is currently running a cooking campaign targeted at men who start cooking late at night after drinking alcohol. Posters with an image of a man asleep with a bottle of beer whilst his cooker is on fire, under the strapline ‘Don’t Make fast Food Your Last Food,’ have been distributed across the County as part of the campaign.