Stop turning your cash into ash

Cleveland Fire Brigade is urging smokers to set themselves a challenge to quit on this year’s No Smoking Day which takes place on Wednesday 9 March. The Brigade is reminding them the habit is not only bad for your health but it can also threaten your home, the things you own and, most importantly, you and your family’s life.

Careless disposal of cigarettes is the biggest killer in house fires across the country. Habits such as smoking whilst drinking alcohol in the home or lighting up in bed are responsible for one in three of all accidental house fires resulting in death in England. Last year in Teesside, 18 fires were caused by smoking materials which resulted in seven casualties and one fatality.

To mark No Smoking Day this coming Wednesday the Brigade is teaming up with partners at a number of local events to remind people of the benefits of quitting smoking and the dangers of second hand smoke. Advice and information on how to quit will also be available as well as fire safety advice.

Firefighters will be speaking to students at Teesside University, Clarendon Building on Wednesday 9 March between 10am-3pm where state of the art software will show people a “fast forward style insight” into how they might look as a smoker when they get older.

Crews from Redcar will be speaking to people in Redcar Primary Care Hospital and shoppers visiting Asda in Hartlepool will also get chance to get helpful advice and information. On Monday 7 March, there is also an event at Stockton Riverside College.

Tracey Bell, Health and Wellbeing Services Manager for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Every year 106,000people die from smoking related illnesses in the UK and that’s bigger than the population of Hartlepool. Not only do we want to reduce the risk of fire for our residents but we want to promote healthier living and improve the local environment.

“For the two thirds of smokers who want to quit, help is available and statistics show you are four times more likely to succeed in quitting with the right help. We understand that some don’t want to or are finding it hard to break the addiction and we would urge them to take precautions to reduce the risk of fire when smoking which include:

  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep without 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 do
  • Buy child-resistant lighters and matchboxes – every year children die by starting fires with matches and lighters. Keep these where children can’t reach them
  • 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 not still burning when you are finished – put it out, right out
  • 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
  • Install and maintain a smoke alarm – when a fire starts, you only have a few minutes to escape. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and dial 999.

Cleveland Fire Brigade offers residents a free Home Fire Safety Visit, where firefighters will come to your home and give valuable safety advice. They can help make an escape plan which will be tailored to you and your family’s needs. Free smoke alarms will be supplied and fitted if needed. Call us on 01429 874063 to arrange a visit at your convenience.

For further safety information and news about the Brigade visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk or join us on Facebook or Twitter.