Smokers are being warned to wake up to the deadly dangers of smoking and to â€˜Put it Out, Right Outâ€™ whenever they light up - especially when tired.
As part of the national Fire Kills campaign in April, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is highlighting that a third of all fatal house fires are caused by smoking.
Doug Underwood, Community Safety Team Manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Every six days in England, someone dies from a fire caused by cigarettes or smoking materials. Despite a fall in the overall number of fires caused by these products, itâ€™s still the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home across the country.
"Every smoker should wake up to the risks they take every time they light up, and drop the habit of smoking whilst in bed or under the influence of alcohol. The risk of falling asleep before you â€˜put it out, right outâ€™ is just too great. When smokers fall asleep with a lit cigarette in hand, their proximity to the resulting fire seriously lowers their chance of escaping in time.
"Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can render you unconscious, so invest in a working smoke alarm and test it monthly. It can give you the extra time you need to escape if the worst should happen."
In Norfolk in 2012/13 four people lost their lives due to an accidental house fire, three of these in fires caused by smoking materials. In Norfolk in 2012/13, 17% of all fires were caused by smoking.
Dan Roper, Cabinet Member for Public Protection at Norfolk County Council, said: "People often do not see the dangers in the things they do every day such as smoking, so the fact that so many people lose their life or are injured in fires caused by smoking may come as a shock.
"But by following the advice from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service you can help to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. And by having that working smoke alarm you are at least four times less likely to die in an accidental fire in the home."
These simple steps can help prevent a cigarette fire in the home:
- Never smoke in bed. Take care when youâ€™re tired â€“ itâ€™s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight
- Never smoke 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 extinguishedÂ
- 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 leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended â€“ they can easily overbalance as they burn down.
- Use a proper, heavy ashtray that canâ€™t tip over easily and is made of a material that wonâ€™t burn
In England in 2012-13, accidental fires resulting from smoking materials made up 33% of all fatalities in the home (60 out of 174). In addition, a further 3% (5) were from accidental fires started by cigarette lighters and matches.
Nationally only fires from cooking appliances and â€˜other electrical appliancesâ€™ caused more non-fatal casualties than smokersâ€™ materials.