North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is joining with partners at events across North Wales today, National No Smoking Day and urging smokers to realise the potentially deadly dangers of lighting up in the home.
Around half of all fatal fires in the region are caused by smoking materials and North Wales has a higher percentage of smokers per capita than the other two Welsh regions – in some counties, 30% of the population are smokers.
With a steady decline in the number of smokers, the overall number of fires triggered by cigarettes is getting smaller, but with around 50% of all fire deaths in the Service area attributed to cigarettes the proportion of fatalities is staggering.
Smokers not giving up should still be aware of the fire risks they face, cut out dangerous habits, install smoke alarms on every level of the home and test them weekly. A working smoke alarm means you are more than twice as likely to survive an accidental house fire.
“Without an early alarm system in place you could lose valuable escape time in a fire,” says Gary Brandrick, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
“Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can render a person unconscious. ”
“As well as the health dangers, people need to be aware of the deadly risks of smoking in the home and how smoking materials can very quickly and easily lead to a fire. When extinguishing cigarettes smokers must make sure they ‘put it out, right out’ and if possible refrain from smoking in the home at all.”
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 a 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. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol when smoking. It’s easy to lose your concentration when using any sort of drugs or drinking alcohol, combined with cigarettes and this could be lethal.
- 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.
(Pictured: Colin Jones, Crew Manager of White Watch, Wrexham with representatives from Smoke Free Wales (Jo Spooner, Chris Roberts, Angie Foster, Julie Cooper and Rachel Taylor) at an event in Queens Square today)