Sidmouth smokers urged to extinguish fire risk

PUBLISHED: 16:13 09 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:43 18 June 2010

SMOKING related fires are the biggest killers in accidental home fires so this year Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is supporting No Smoking Day 2009 and giving smokers yet more reasons to quit on March 11th and beyond.

SMOKING related fires are the biggest killers in accidental home fires so this year Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is supporting No Smoking Day 2009 and giving smokers yet more reasons to quit on March 11th and beyond.

Fire statistics reveal that from April 2008 to February 2009 there were 12 casualties across both counties in accidental house fires started by cigarettes or smoking materials.

In response to the serious fire risks caused by smoking Former BDO World Darts Champion and England International, John 'Boy' Walton is fronting the Fire Kills No Smoking Day campaign. He quit cigarettes in January this year and is urging others to do the same. He says:

"I started smoking at a young age and know how hard it is to give up. Unfortunately, fire safety is rarely taken into consideration when smoking but I realised just how important it is after one of my fellow darts players lost everything in a house fire. Thankfully no-one was at home at the time, but it highlights the need for people to be aware of fire danger from smoking, and for everyone to recognise how important it is to fit and maintain smoke alarms."

The best way to reduce your risk is to give up. However, for smokers finding it tough to kick the habit the advice from the fire service is to be cautious when smoking at home and to 'put it out, right out' after finishing a cigarette.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service's Home Safety Manager Claire Rice says:

"People shouldn't underestimate the dangers associated with smoking in the home if cigarettes aren't properly extinguished. The economic price of a house fire is immense and you can't put a cost on the lives of loved ones. I would encourage smokers to give up this No Smoking Day or at the very least pay careful attention to smoking materials."

Dan Tickle, Chief Executive of the charity No Smoking Day says:

"70% of smokers want to stop, but aren't aware that there is free, local help available to them. Your local stop smoking service can increase your chances of success by four times. Why not take the first step this No Smoking Day and feel fitter and healthier."

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service will be hosting several events in the Devon area. In Plymouth crews will be at the Piazza, at the No Smoking Day event set up by the NHS, giving advice out with the education appliance.

Asda at Newton Abbot, Morrison's in Paignton and the Haldon Centre in Torquay will all see crews teaming up with the Primary Care Trust to give advice to shoppers.

As part of the services ongoing no smoking advice, on 2nd March a local basketball team and fire crews teamed up to stand on the first step of a ladder as part of Plymouth Smoke Free Alliance.

For smokers not ready to kick the habit this No Smoking Day, it is important to follow these simple precautions to prevent a fire at home:

* Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.

* Take extra care when you're tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It's very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning.

* Never smoke in bed - if you need to lie down, don't light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire.

* 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. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.

* Tap your ash into an ashtray, never a wastebasket containing other rubbish - and don't let the ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray.

* Fit and maintain a smoke alarm - a working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

* Ask the experts - Fire and Rescue Services in England offer free home fire risk checks to identify potential fire risks and advise what to do to reduce or prevent them.

If you are in any doubt about the safety in your home apply for a free home safety visit on 0800 73 11 822 where fire crews will visit your home and give safety advice and it can also result in free smoke alarms being fitted. Smoke alarms save lives.

For further information on fire safety visit www.direct.gov.uk/firekills


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