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Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service Urges Smokers to ‘Put it Out, Right Out’ on No-smoking day 10 March.

Smokers are today (10 March) being urged to quit their habit or realise its danger, as statistics reveal that cigarettes and smoking products are the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home (CLG Fire Statistics, 2007).

Despite this shocking wake-up call, less than half (40%) of smokers are aware that smoking is the biggest cause of deaths in accidental house fires,around 43% in the West Midlands region (2009 Fire Kills Survey conducted via Opinion Matters on behalf of the Fire Kills campaign amongst a nationally representative sample of 2433 UK Adults in England).

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging smokers across both counties to cut out dangerous habits such as smoking in bed and to make sure they properly extinguish their cigarettes. The Service is also encouraging people to install smoke alarms on every level of the home and test them weekly.

A smoke alarm that works means you are more than twice as likely to survive an accidental house fire (CLG Fire Statistics, 2007).

Community Safety Manager, Launa Walker says:
“Without a working smoke alarm you lose valuable escape time in a fire. Just two to three breaths of the toxic smoke in a fire can render you unconscious - it affects your ability to breathe, just like drowning.”
“People need to be aware of the risks of smoking in the home and how smoking materials can very easily lead to fires. When extinguishing cigarettes smokers must make sure they ‘put it out, right out’.”

Dan Tickle, Chief Executive of the No Smoking Day Charity, says:
"Seventy per cent 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, healthier and safer in your home.”

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
  • Fit smoke alarm and test it weekly - a working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999
  • Never smoke in bed, take 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 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.
  • Close all inside doors at night - closed doors help to reduce the spread of fire, giving you more time to escape.

Ask the experts - Fire and Rescue Services in England offer FREE Home Fire Safety Checks to identify potential fire risks and offer tailored fire safety advice (with smoke alarm installation where necessary) to vulnerable groups, which can be booked by calling FREEPHONE 0800 032 1155.

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