If you smoke, put it out.
All the way. Every time.
Smoking is the leading cause of fire fatalities in our state. Tragically, smoking-related fires claimed the lives of 14 people in 2006 and 9 people in 2007. Fire agencies reported 465 fire incidents in 2007 caused by cigarettes resulting in more than $1.4 million dollars in dollar loss.
Human factors, such as smoking in sleeping or lounging areas, smoking while using medical oxygen, and smoking while in a mind-alter state, increase the risk of fire occurring. Most often, fires begin when upholstered furniture, mattresses, or bedding is ignited.
When children live with smokers, there is an increased risk of child-set fires because of the availability of matches and lighters.
Here are some safety tips to follow if you smoke or if you live with a smoker:
- The safest place to smoke is outside of the home. Use a sturdy ashtray or a can filled with sand to collect ashes.
- Use ashtrays with a wide, stable base that are hard to tip over. If it wobbles, it won’t work.
- Put it out – all the way, all the time. The cigarette needs to be completely stubbed out in the ashtray.
- Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.
- Chair and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don’t put ash trays on them. If people have been smoking in the home, check for cigarettes under cushions.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used. Oxygen makes any fire burn hotter and faster.
- Use reduced ignition strength cigarettes that are less likely to cause fires.
- If you are drowsy or falling asleep, put it out. Never smoke in bed.
- Properly install and maintain smoke alarms on every level of your home and in all sleeping areas.
- Have an escape plan. Plan two ways to escape from every room and practice your escape plan at least twice a year.