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Danger of discarded cigarettes

01 March 2011

Jersey Fire and Rescue are asking smokers to think about quitting for National No Smoking Day after statistics show that the careless disposal of cigarettes is the single biggest killer in house fires across Britain.

Smoking while drinking alcohol at home or lighting up in bed are responsible for 1 in 3 (36%) of all accidental house fires resulting in deaths in England. Last year’s statistics in Jersey show that 1 in 7 (13%) fires attended were smoking related.

Although the number of fires triggered by cigarettes have decreased as a result of a decline in smoking, more than a third of all fire deaths in Britain are still caused by cigarettes.

To coincide with National No Smoking Day (9 March 2011), the States of Jersey Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Kills campaign are urging smokers to realise the deadly dangers of lighting up in the home. Smokers are being reminded about the fire risks they face and asked to 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.

For smokers not ready to kick the habit, it is important these simple precautions are followed 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

Advice about home fire safety is free from Jersey’s Fire and Rescue Service. Islanders are advised not to try to tackle fires but to get out, stay out and call 999.


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