Smoking leads to dozens of accidental fires in homes – here’s how to avoid them

Smoking in bed or after drinking are key factors in accidental fires – with almost 30 in Cleveland in the past two years.

Falling asleep with a lit cigarette in hand also means you will be close to any resulting fire and your chances of escape are reduced.

Phil Lancaster, director of community protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Every smoker should wake up to the risks they take every time they light up and drop the habit of smoking in bed or under the influence of alcohol. The risk of falling asleep before you ‘put it out, right out’ is just too great.

“It is also vital that you fit smoke alarms on every level of the home and test them once a week. Without a working smoke alarm, you are at least four times more likely to die in an accidental fire in the home.”

There were 14 smoking-related fires in Cleveland in 2014/15 and 14 in 2015/16.

Simple steps to help prevent a cigarette fire in the home include:

•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;

•Never smoke indoors when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire, you could be less able to escape;

•Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished;

•Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly;

•Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended;

•Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn.