Cleveland Fire Brigade is urging people to stop smoking this No Smoking Day (Wednesday 13 March) and save your life; your money as well as your home and family. Smoking remains the single biggest preventable cause of premature death in the UK today – about 15 people die each day in the North East alone.
Households with a smoker are almost one and a half times more likely to suffer a fire than non-smoking households. Last year Cleveland saw a massive 76% reduction in accidental house fires caused by smoking with only seven occurring in 2012, however there has already been four fires caused by carelessly discarded cigarettes during January this year, so Fire Chiefs are urging people to quit, or for those who aren’t ready, to take extra care and follow fire safety advice.
Firefighters and Brigade staff will be out in force supporting its partners at various events advising the public about the risk of accidental house fires due to smoking and what they can do to prevent a fire, as well as the health and cash benefits of quitting.
Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection said, “People know the health risks caused by cigarettes but they should not underestimate the threats associated with smoking in the home if cigarettes are not extinguished properly. Smokers are putting themselves and their families at risk from fire and the best way to reduce this risk is to give up smoking.
“However, we do appreciate for some smokers, kicking the habit can be tough so for those who aren’t ready I would urge them to follow some safety tips:
- Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Put them out. Right out!
- Use a proper ashtray – never a wastepaper basket
- Make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of material that won’t burn
- Take extra care when you’re tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that can make you drowsy. It’s very easy to fall asleep without realising your cigarette is still burning.
- Empty ashtrays frequently – wet the contents before emptying them into a metal bin outside the home.
- Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of children. Use only one lighter/box of matches at a time so you will notice straight away if it goes missing. Where possible buy child-resistant lighters and matchboxes.
- Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire.
- 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 tip ash into a wastebasket.
- Always purchase legal cigarettes as they are reduced ignition propensity which helps reduce the risk of fire in your home.
Cleveland Fire Brigade offers residents a free Home Fire Safety Visit, where firefighters will come to your home and give valuable safety advice and 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.