This April, firefighters are focusing on raising awareness of the dangers of smoking at home, urging anyone who smokes to take extra care to avoid a potential fire.
Fires started by smoking materials, such as cigarettes, lighters and e-cigarettes, are still the most dangerous nationally – causing more deaths than any other type of fire in the home – and reducing the number of smoking related fires is a key priority for WSFRS.
While there are many tips and tricks to keep yourself and your home safe from a smoking materials fire, the most effective form of smoking fire safety is to quit.
Stopping smoking can be a huge challenge for many but there is help available. Across the county there are numerous GP surgeries and pharmacies offering smoking cessation services, and firefighters will be visiting two of these this month to offer safety advice and guidance to smokers; West Meads Surgery in Bognor Regis and The Brow Medical Centre in Burgess Hill.
Adrian Carter, WSFRS Intervention & Prevention Deputy Manager, added: “There are a number of very simple steps all smokers can take in order to protect their home and loved ones from a potential fire, from ensuring you never fall asleep with a cigarette in hand to double checking cigarettes are always put out properly, even in an ashtray. However, we always advocate that the best form of smoking fire safety is cessation; if you have ever considered quitting or would like to stop smoking there is help available across the county.”
In 2016, firefighters attended 30 home fires caused by smoking materials in West Sussex, with the majority (43%) of these starting in the living room or bedroom. Falling asleep or becoming distracted was noted as a factor leading to the fire in 27% of these incidents.
More people die in fires caused by cigarettes and smoking products than any other. In England in 2015/16, accidental fires resulting from smokers’ materials and cigarette lighters made up 41% of all fatalities in the home.
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.