Smoking-related materials have been the top factor in fatal fires for many years. The best way to prevent such fires is to stop smoking so, if you’re caring for someone who smokes, start by encouraging them to quit. Find help and advice through the NHS – www.nhs.uk/smokefree
If you see any of the below in the home of the person you care for, you should take immediate action:
- Does the person smoke anywhere they may fall asleep, or do they frequently drop cigarettes on floors, furniture or clothing? Fire retardant covers, bedding or nightwear is available, and is especially helpful if the person has mobility issues.
- Does the person smoke near any oxygen-based equipment? Where possible, this should be prevented.
- Are their ashtrays overflowing? Make sure they are emptied regularly.
- Are their ashtrays within reach? Make sure they are easily accessible and on a safe surface, rather than the arm of a chair.
- Do they have enough smoke alarms fitted? There should be an alarm in every room where a fire could start.
- Does their smoke alarm actually work? Be sure to test regularly.
- If the person you care for has a personal alarm system, is it linked to the smoke alarms? This can be arranged for additional safety.
- Click here for more guidance on smoke alarms.
- Do they use paraffin-based products like emollient creams or use an airflow mattress? Additional safeguards should be put into place if so.
- How do they light their cigarettes? Lighters are safer than matches, as a dropped match can start a fire.
- Do they smoke alone? Encourage them to light up only if there is someone around to make sure they are safe.
If the person you care for isn’t ready to stop smoking, reducing risks is the next best thing, and e-cigarettes are much safer. A lit cigarette dropped on a bed or a chair can quickly cause a fatal fire, but no such risk exists with an e-cigarette.
If they switch to e-cigarettes, make sure they buy a good quality device, and learn to charge it safely – click here for more guidance.
We offer free Safe & Well visits, where we come to the home at a convenient time to see what we can do together to make you or the person you care for safer. We will fit free smoke alarms where required.
To request a free Safe and Well Visit, please call 0800 038 2323 or click here.