Fire risks caused by smoking highlighted
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service are reminding residents of the fire risks associated with smoking with 33 fires in Northumberland over the past 12 months caused by smoking materials.
Smoking is the single biggest killer in accidental fires in the home with a third of all deaths in fires at home caused by cigarettes, often as a result of careless behaviour such as smoking in bed or not taking care after drinking alcohol.
Don’t leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around; take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs, or if you’ve been drinking; never smoke in bed; keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach; consider buying child resistant lighters and match boxes; make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your house.
Paul Hedley, chief fire officer at Northumberland Fire and Rescue said: “We want to remind our residents to stay safe when smoking at home.
“More people die in fires in the home caused by cigarettes and smoking products than any other. There can be catastrophic consequences when smokers fall asleep with a lit cigarette in hand as their proximity to the resulting fire seriously lowers their chance of making an escape.
“If you smoke at home, make sure you stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. Put them out. Right out.”
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member with responsibility for the fire and rescue service said: “It is of course each individual’s choice, however, every smoker should be aware of the risks they take every time they light up.
“When smoking in the home, it’s important to remember to use a proper ashtray, never a wastepaper basket, and make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn.
“Make sure you have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them monthly. Working smoke alarms can give you the extra time to escape if the worst should happen.”
If you would like help to stop smoking you can contact the Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on 01670 813135 or visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/stopsmoking
Remember, if you see a fire, Get Out. Stay Out. Dial 999