Smokers warned of home fire risks

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After two fires this week in Pendle – one resulting in a hospital admission – Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is urging smokers to follow steps to eliminate the risk of a fire in the home due to smoking.

Fires started as a result of smoking remains a significant cause of fires in buildings and continue to take their toll in terms of deaths and injuries.

One was on Bevan Place in Nelson on Sunday and the other was on Harrison Drive, Colne, on Wednesday. It was the Nelson fire where there was an injury which led to hospital treatment.

Pendle Station Manager Denise Odgers said: “The tragedy is that all of these fires could have been prevented if smokers had just taken a few simple precautions. If you’re smoking late at night or after a drink, your reactions tend to be slower and that’s the time you need to take extra care.

“Put it out, right out – make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.” And she revealed:

l Take extra care when you’re tired, taking drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep without realising that your cigarette is still burning.

l Never smoke in bed - if you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire.

l Never leave lit cigarettes cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire. Make sure before going to bed or leaving the house that all smoking materials are completely extinguished.

l Make sure children don’t have access to lighters and matchboxes - every year children die by starting fires with matches and lighters.

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

l Tap your ash into an ashtray – never a wastebasket – and don’t let ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray. Empty ashtrays outside the property not in internal bins.

Fit and maintain a smoke alarm – when a fire starts, you only have a few minutes to escape. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and dial 999.