More people die in fires started through smoking than any other cause. Tobacco burns at very high temperatures - it's designed to stay lit. This is why cigarettes can so quickly start a fire.
Take extra care when you're tired, taking prescription drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It's very easy to fall asleep without realising that your cigarette is still burning.
- if you need to lie down, don't light up. you could easily doze off and set your bed or sofa on fire.
- don't leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended - they can easily overbalance as they burn down, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire. when you put it out, make sure it really is out.
- every year children die after starting fires with cigarettes, matches and lighters which they shouldn't have been touching. where possible, buy child-resistant lighters and matchboxes.
- only use a proper, heavy ashtray which can't tip over easily and is made of a material that won't burn. it's a good idea to put ashtrays outdoors before you go to bed.
Smoking with dementia
- Try to discourage smoking if possible. However, for those who do smoke, ensure there are plenty of ashtrays around. Preferably large, heavy ones with a little water in the bottom.
- A Kent Fire and Rescue Service Safe and Well Visit can help with devices to support people who smoke – call 0800 923 7000 to book a visit.
Smoking and incontinence pads:
- those who smoke and use incontinence pad have a greater fire risk as these pads can be highly flammable
- consider obtaining a small fire resistant blanket to place over the lap when smoking
Smoking in bed:
- this carries the highest risk – it is very easy to fall asleep and drop the cigarette
- consider placing a fire resistant blanket on top of the bed and some fire proof carpet or tiles around the bed to reduce the risk of accidental fire
Regularly reinforce the need to extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly.