FIRE SAFETY - Smoking is No. 1 cause of US home fire deaths
Smoking is the number one cause of home fire deaths in the U.S. Every year, men, women and children are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials. Most victims of smoking-related fires never thought it could happen to them. These fires can affect not only the smoker, but others living in or next to the home at the time of the fire.
You can make a difference. Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services and the U.S. Fire Administration are working to help prevent home fire deaths and injuries caused by smoking materials.
About 1,000 people are killed every year from smoking material home fires. People close to where a smoking material fire starts are harder to save because the fire spreads fast. Most fires caused by smoking materials start on beds, furniture or in trash.
Fire caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials are preventable. Here's what you can do to help:
• If you smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. It's better to smoke outside.
• 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. Ashtrays should be set on something sturdy and hard to ignite, like a table. If you smoke outside, put your cigarettes out in a can filled with sand. Do not dispose of trash or debris in ashtrays.
• Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Put it out, all the way, every time. The cigarette really needs to be completely stubbed out in the ashtray.
• Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.
• Check for butts in chairs and sofas, which can catch on fire and burn fast. Don't put ashtrays on them. If people have been smoking in the home, check for cigarettes under cushions.
• Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used. Never smoke while using oxygen or anywhere near an oxygen source, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
• 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.