No Smoking Without Fire . . . ?
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to do something for themselves and their loved ones on No Smoking Day - 'Put it Out, Put it Right out.'
Since 2005 the Service has attended 304 fires caused by smoking. Four have resulted in death, the most recent fatality being in January this year.
"People know the health risks of smoking but they should not underestimate the threats associated with smoking in the home."
Ian Sloss, Head of Risk Reduction
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 10th by kicking their habit altogether.
Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss, said: "Fires caused by cigarettes and smoking materials is something we take very seriously and we continue to commit resources to campaigns and activities which will help reduce the number of these incidents from taking place.
"People know the health risks of smoking but they should not underestimate the threats associated with smoking in the home if cigarettes are not 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."
Across the county, statistics (see Notes to Editors) reveal fires caused by smoking materials are the biggest killers in accidental house fires. Nationally, someone dies every three days as a result of a fire caused by cigarettes.
"The best way to be sure of reducing your risk is to give up smoking," added Ian.
"However, we appreciate 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."
Meanwhile, Dan Tickle, Chief Executive of the charity, No Smoking Day said: "Three out of four smokers want to stop but they are not aware of the free, local help which is available to them. Your local stop smoking service can increase your chances of success by four times. Why not break free this No Smoking Day and feel fitter and healthier."
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