East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is supporting No Smoking Day which takes place on Wednesday 11 March 2015.
The annual campaign is run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and encourages hundreds of thousands of smokers to make a quit attempt on No Smoking Day.
This year’s No Smoking Day theme is ‘Proud to be a Quitter. In life we’re told never to give up, to keep going – but when it comes to smoking, being a ‘Quitter’ is a good thing. It is using inspirational stories of ex-smokers to highlight the life-changing benefits of quitting.
To receive information and support on stopping smoking visit nosmokingday.org.uk and join the conversation of Twitter using the hashtag #NoSmokingDay.
Smoking safety advice
Steve Wright from the Community Safety Team at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said:
“More people die in fires caused by smoking than in fires caused by anything else. Tobacco is manufactured to stay alight, meaning it can remain smouldering and start a fire. The best way to rule out any chance of these kinds of fires is to give up smoking – and that’s why we support No Smoking Day.”
There are other measures you can take which can reduce the chances of fire due to cigarettes.
· Never smoke in bed. Take care when you're tired - it's very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
· Never smoke when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire you could be less able to escape.
· Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.
· Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
· 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.
· Consider buying child resistant lighters and match boxes
Looking after someone who smokes?
If you look after someone who smokes, help them stay safe. Over the past years a number of fire deaths in East Sussex have involved elderly/immobile persons setting themselves alight, with ignition normally caused by smoking materials. Warning signs are often obvious - with tell-tail signs of near-misses include visible burn and scorch marks.
• Whenever possible, it is always safer for someone else to light their cigarettes
• Remove matches & lighters and replace with a non-flame cigarette lighter
• Encourage smokers to cover their lap with a fire retardant cover or wear a smoking apron
• A proper ashtray must be used and emptied – keep it within easy reach
• Discourage smoking in bed. If this is not possible consider getting fire retardant bed covers
• Ensure smoke alarms are fitted, work properly and are tested regularly
• Smokers are suitably monitored
• Smoking only takes place in recognised and designated areas
• Check that a water-type fire extinguisher is readily available and people are trained to use it
• Smoking on airflow mattresses should be avoided, but if not possible cover with fire resistant bedding
There are many examples of fires which have been caused by cigarettes or other smoking materials. The following cases can be found in our Black Museum.
With tragic results, an elderly gentleman accidentally dropped a burning match on to his lap, igniting his clothing and the chair he was sitting in.
This fire was thought to be most likely caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette that ignited some rubbish between a garden shed and a fence.
Carelessly discarded smoking materials caused this fire. The occupier managed to safely evacuate the property but re-entered the premises after realising his pet dog was still inside. The occupier and dog then had to be rescued by fire service crews and were subsequently treated for suffering smoke inhalation.
This fire was caused by a child playing with a disposable lighter setting fire to curtains. Fortunately a sprinkler system had been fitted and the fire was prevented from spreading.