West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is today, on No Smoking Day, warning that smoking kills - and not just because of the effects it has on health.
Every year thousands of fires in the UK are caused by cigarettes, lighters, and other smoking materials, such as pipes and cigars, and many of these could be prevented if smokers followed safety guidelines.
Area manager Scott Donegan said as the leading cause of fire-related fatalities, it's important to be aware of the potential dangers of smoking at home. “Smoking in your home puts everyone at risk, not only from second-hand smoke, but also by increasing the risk of a smoking-related fire,” he said. “These fires often involve mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, or rubbish which have been ignited from discarded cigarettes, ashes or matches.”
Taking steps such as never leaving lit cigarettes unattended, never smoking in bed, disposing of them properly in an ashtray filled with water or sand, and ensuring there is no flammable material close by can help reduce the risk of a smoking related fire.
AM Donegan added: “Often people think they have extinguished a cigarette, but it can carry on smouldering and cause a fire. No Smoking Day is an excellent opportunity for smokers to reflect on their habits and make changes that can improve the lives of them and their families. It's never too late to quit smoking and make your home a safer place.”
Safety tips for smokers:
1, Smoke outside where possible, especially after consuming alcohol as it can affect your judgement and make you more careless.
2, Never smoke in bed, especially when you are tired or have taken medication that can make you drowsy.
3, Always use a heavy, non-tip ashtray and make sure it is on a stable, flat surface – not on your lap or a cushion.
4, Make sure you buy child resistant lighters and matches and store them up high or in a locked cupboard, so they are out of reach of children.
5, Douse smoking materials with water after you’ve finished, or tip ash into a fire-safe container as it may still be smouldering.
6, Make sure your home has working smoke alarms installed to ensure that any fire is picked up quickly and can be dealt with before it gets out of control.
7, Empty ashtrays regularly and ensure there's no debris left behind even after pouring out excess ashes away.
8, Don’t smoke near curtains, furniture or any other flammable objects as it just takes one spark to start a fire.
9, It’s important not to smoke near oxygen equipment. If there is oxygen equipment in the room then it’s best to either refrain from smoking or leave the room.
10, When using e-cigarettes make sure you use the correct charger, buy from a reputable dealer and never leave them to charge unattended or overnight.
No Smoking Day started nearly 40 years ago in 1984 and is an annual health awareness day intended to help smokers who want to quit. For more information about quitting smoking visit Quit smoking - Better Health - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Anyone living in West Yorkshire who has fire safety concerns can request a free Safe and Well visit. As part of the visit the team will identify any potential fire risks in the home, help residents put together an escape plan and ensure they have working smoke alarms.