Focus on Fire Safety: Smoking & Home Fires
Every year, almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials. Fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials are preventable. You can make a difference!
Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths in the United States. People close to where a smoking material fire starts are harder to save because the fire spreads fast. Most fires caused by smoking material start on beds, furniture, or in the trash.
In 2006, there were an estimated 142,900 smoking-material fires in the United States. These fires caused 780 civilian fire deaths and 1,600 civilian injuries.
Smokers aren’t the only ones who suffer from smoking home fires:
- One in four people killed in home fires is not a smoker whose cigarette caused the fire.
- Thirty-four percent are children of the smokers.
- Twenty-five percent are neighbors or friends of the smokers.
Older adults are at the highest risk of death or injury from smoking-material fires even though they are less likely to smoke.
What Can You Do?
If You Smoke, Smoke Outside
Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. It's better to smoke outside. If you smoke outside, put your cigarettes out in a can filled with sand.
Play Video - Putting cigarette out in can of sand. Photograph of a man smoking outside. Photograph of a cigarette extinguished in a can of sand.
Wherever You Smoke, Use Deep, Sturdy Ashtrays
Use ashtrays with a wide, stable base that are hard to tip over. If it wobbles, it won't work.
Photograph of a deep ashtray.
Make Sure Cigarettes and Ashes Are Out
The cigarette really needs to be completely stubbed out in an ashtray. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
Play Video - Stubbing cigarette out in ashtray. Play Video - Soaking cigarette butt under water. Photograph of cigarettes in an ashtray being soaked under running water.
Check for Butts
Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don't put ashtrays on them. If people have been smoking in the home, check for cigarettes under cushions.
Play Video - Demonstration of home smoking fire. Picture of a couch with a cigarette on it. Picture of a couch fire started with a cigarette.
Never Smoke in a Home Where Oxygen Is Used
Never smoke while using oxygen or are anywhere near an oxygen source, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
If You Smoke, Fire-Safe Cigarettes Are Better
Fire-safe cigarettes are less likely to cause fires. These cigarettes have banded paper that can slow the burn of a cigarette that isn't being used.
To prevent a deadly fire, you have to be alert. If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first. Smoking in bed is just plain wrong.
Practice Fire Safety
- Place properly installed and maintained smoke alarms on every level of your home.
- Check smoke alarm batteries at least once every year. You can use a familiar date, such as when you change your clocks or your birthday, as a reminder.
- Create an escape plan. Plan two ways to escape from every room. Practice the escape plan with everyone in the home.
- If at all possible, install residential fire sprinklers in your home.
Courtesy of http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/focus/