Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Stub It Out

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is warning smokers to stub it out as statistics have revealed that they are far more likely to hurt or killed as a result of a fire in their home.

Last year one in 20 house fires in Essex were started by smoking materials. More than a third of these fires stated in a bedroom, most commonly caused by people smoking in bed.

People who have a fire caused by smoking materials are far more likely to be hurt or injured. Last year in Essex people were nearly twice as likely to be killed in fire started by smoking materials and nationwide in 2011 more than a third of all fires which resulted in death or injury were started by smoking materials.

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.

“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.

“Every five days, someone in the UK 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.

“Smokers need to wake up to the risks that their habit puts them and their families at.

“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.”

For smokers not ready to kick the habit, it is important to follow these simple precautions to prevent a fire at 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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