Firefighters warn of smoking dangers

Crews are urging people who smoke to take extra care to avoid a potential fire. Picture: WSFRS
Crews are urging people who smoke to take extra care to avoid a potential fire. Picture: WSFRS
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Firefighters this month are raising awareness of the dangers of smoking at home.

Crews are urging anyone who smokes to take ‘extra care’ to avoid a potential fire, a West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) spokesman said.

Fires started by smoking materials, such as cigarettes, lighters and e-cigarettes, are still the most dangerous nationally – causing more deaths than any other type of fire in the home, the spokesman added.

In 2016, firefighters attended 30 home fires caused by smoking materials in West Sussex, with 43 per cent of these starting in the living room or bedroom.

Falling asleep or becoming distracted was noted as a factor leading to the fire in 27 per cent of these incidents, according to the spokesman.

He said: “In England in 2015 and 2016, accidental fires resulting from smokers’ materials and cigarette lighters made up 41 per cent of all fatalities in the home.”

Stopping smoking can be a huge challenge for many but there are numerous GP surgeries and pharmacies offering smoking cessation services.

Adrian Carter, WSFRS Intervention and Prevention deputy manager, said: “There are a number of very simple steps all smokers can take in order to protect their home and loved ones from a potential fire, from ensuring you never fall asleep with a cigarette in hand to double checking cigarettes are always put out properly.

“However, we always advocate that the best form of smoking fire safety is cessation.”

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For more information on fire safety in the home click here.

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