Date: 6th April, 2022
More people in Dorset and Wiltshire die in fires in the home caused by cigarettes and smoking products than any other cause.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has seen 11 fire deaths caused by accidental fires in the home resulting from smokers’ materials in the last five years, which was half of all fire fatalities across the Service area.
Not smoking while tired, using a proper and secure ashtray, and stubbing cigarettes out properly can greatly reduce the risk of an accidental fire starting. As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, the Service is now reminding smokers to ‘Put it Out, Right Out’ whenever they light up, and to have working smoke alarms on every level of the home.
These simple steps can help prevent a fire in the home if someone smokes:
- 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 or cigar is fully extinguished once finished.
- 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. Place it on a level, hard surface rather than on the arm of a chair or sofa.
- Make an attempt to quit, using NHS support if you need it. If you don’t want to quit, consider vaping.
Safe and Well Manager Vikki Thomas said: “Fires ignited by cigarettes or smoking materials result in more fatalities than any other type of fire in the home. Every smoker should be aware of the risks they take every time they light up indoors, especially in bed or under the influence of alcohol. The risk of falling asleep before you ‘put it out, right out’ is just too great.”
She added: “If you decide to use e-cigarettes instead, then please make sure you use the correct charger and don’t leave anything on charge overnight while you’re asleep. Most importantly, whether you smoke or not, make sure you have smoke alarms fitted and test them regularly.”
More safety information can be found online at www.dwfire.org.uk/smoking-and-e-cigarettes
If you have any fire safety concerns, you can request a free Safe & Well visit, where someone will visit you to help assess the fire risk in your home and offer support and guidance. Call free on 0800 038 2323 or apply online at www.dwfire.org.uk/safe-and-well-visits