Last year seven people lost their lives in house fires caused by smoking materials, it has been revealed.
The figures were released by Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) as they announced their support for No Smoking Day, today, Wednesday March 9.
This year’s theme, ‘Proud to be a Quitter’, is about celebrating the achievement of stopping smoking and whilst many people may be thinking about the health benefits from quitting smoking, NIFRS is reminding people that quitting smoking may help to protect themselves and their families against smoking related fires in the home.
In 2015 NIFRS attended 69 accidental dwelling fires caused by smoking materials and tragically 7 people lost their lives in house fires caused by smoking materials.
Kevin O’Neill, Group Commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “People know the health risks of smoking but they should not underestimate the risks associated with smoking in the home if cigarettes and smoking materials are not extinguished properly. It is vital that smokers understand how dangerous smoking at home can be. Be proud to be a quitter on No Smoking Day, but don’t forget to stub out fire risks in the home.
“Unfortunately our Firefighters witness first-hand the damage and devastation caused by fires in the home started by smoking materials. These types of fires can spread rapidly and within moments, through a house. Property can be replaced, but a life cannot.
“Giving up is obviously the best way to reduce the risk of a smoking-related fire, however we appreciate for some smokers, kicking the habit can be extremely tough therefore I would remind them to be extra careful if they are smoking or disposing of smoking materials in their home.
“Make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly before going to bed and be extra careful if you have been drinking alcohol or are feeling drowsy. Never smoke in bed or leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended as they can easily overturn and set fire to surrounding materials. Young children are attracted to matches and lighters and these should always be kept out of their reach.
“As Firefighters we want to keep people safe from the dangers of fire. We are using this No Smoking Day to remind people that quitting smoking is not only good for your health but will also improve home fire safety for you and your family. Home fire safety is one habit Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service would urge you never to quit.”