Release date: 7 March 2018
Crews from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service are raising awareness of the potential dangers of smoking at home.
They are urging people to stay vigilant when using smoking materials.
Government statistics show that despite the number of smokers decreasing, over a third of all fire deaths in the country are attributed to cigarettes – and working to reduce this number remains a key priority for the service.
To lessen the likelihood of a smoking related fire in the home, follow our safety tips:
• Make it a rule to never smoke in bed.
• Never empty ashtrays into the bin unless you are sure that they are fully extinguished.
• Never smoke near flammable liquids around your home.
• Never leave matches and lighters around for young children.
• Make sure you have a working smoke detector installed in your home.
However, the most effective way to keep you and your home safe from a fire caused by smoking materials is to quit. Although this can be extremely challenging, there is help available through West Sussex Wellbeing, who have more than 50 GP practices and community Pharmacies in West Sussex that offer support for those who want to stop smoking.
Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “The leading cause for smoking related incidents that we attend is from people not disposing of their cigarettes appropriately.”
Nicki Peddle, WSFRS Prevention Manager, said: “Quitting smoking is obviously the best way to prevent a smoking related fire and quitting is also of benefit to your health and financially. However we are encouraging people who do smoke to stub their cigarettes out properly and use an ash tray when doing so, always double checking that the cigarette is put out.”
In 2017, firefighters attended 34 home fires caused by smoking materials in West Sussex, with half of these incidents starting in the living room or bedroom. Careless disposal of cigarettes was noted as a factor leading to the fire in 62% of these incidents.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is at the heart of West Sussex County Council's Communities and Public Protection Directorate, working to support communities to become safer, stronger and more resilient through a combination of prevention, protection and response activities.