News release text
Smoking can lead to serious fire risks inside and outside the home - that’s the message from Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) this National No Smoking Day (Wednesday 12 March).
Margate fire crews will be teaming up with the NHS and Kent County Council’s Public Health team this week (10 to 15 March) in Ethelbert Terrace, Cliftonville. They will be offering free fire safety advice and urging all smokers to think seriously about quitting and not just because of the long term health risks. Stub it out (copyright PHOTOPOLITAIN Foltolia)
Each year, there are around 150 fires in Kent and Medway started by cigarettes and smoking materials. Fires in the home caused by careless smoking often result in serious injury and can be fatal. Victims also suffer damage to their homes and cherished belongings.
Head of Community Safety, Stuart Skilton, said: “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 quickly start a fire, so make sure they are completely out before discarding them and install working smoke alarms on every floor of the home.
“Property can be replaced but your life can’t, which is why we are urging people to take extra care; especially when they are tired and stop dangerous habits such as smoking in bed. It’s very easy to fall asleep without realising your cigarette is still burning. The message is simple; if you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could easily doze off and set your bed or sofa on fire.”
It is not just accidental fires in the home that are causing concern - not many people think about their cigarette after they flick it from a car window or while walking down the street, but they cause devastating fires which can spread rapidly, destroying wildlife and nearby buildings as well as tying up valuable firefighting resources.
Stuart added: “We can’t ask you not to smoke, but we can ask you to smoke more safely.”
For smokers not ready to kick the habit this No Smoking Day, please consider making yourself safer by following these simple tips:
Don’t leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire. When you put it out, make sure it really is out
Use a deep, heavy ashtray which can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn
Don’t smoke in bed
Take extra care if you’re feeling tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking prescription drugs
Close all inside doors at night – closed doors help to reduce the spread of fire, giving you more time to escape
Keep lighters and matches out of reach of children
Don't discard cigarettes out of car windows as this can set light to grass verges and
grassland areas and is illegal
Fit smoke alarms in your home and test them weekly .
Ask the experts – for free fire safety advice contact Kent Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 923 7000 or visit www.3breaths.info.