Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Smokers: stub it right out

Smokers need to make sure they stub it out, that is the warning from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service after national statistics reveal that more than one person a week dies in a fire caused by smoking.

Last year in the UK 55 people died in accidental fires started by cigarettes, cigars or pipes and another eight people were killed in accidental fires started by cigarette lighters. Many of these fires are caused by carelessly discarded smoking materials so the best way to stay safe is make sure you put it out, right out.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick, Community Safety, said: “Our best advice for smokers would be to give up, you will receive tremendous health benefits and be much safer from the risk of fire.
“But those not ready to kick the habit need to make sure that they are aware of the fire risks and that they take extra care when they’re having a smoke.

“People shouldn’t underestimate the dangers associated with smoking in the home. Cigarettes burn at up to 700 degrees centigrade and can easily start a fire.

“More than one person a week dies in a fire caused by cigarettes or smoking materials, it’s still the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home across the country.

“For those that cannot give up make sure that you extinguish all smoking materials properly and never leave a cigarette or cigar burning unattended. Make sure you put it out, right out.”

Smokers should to follow these simple precautions to prevent a fire in their home:
•    Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.
•    Take extra care when you’re tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep 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 down.
•    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 fully extinguished.
•    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.
•    Use child safe matches and cigarette lighters and keep them safely out of the reach of children
•    Fit and maintain a smoke alarm - a working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

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