Belfast Telegraph

Seven fire deaths in Northern Ireland caused by smoking in the home, NIFRS reveal

Seven fire deaths in Northern Ireland last year were caused by smoking in the home, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service have revealed.

The figures have been released as NIFRS support the Proud to be a Quitter campaign for No Smoking Day today, Wednesday March 9.

This year’s theme 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 house fires caused by smoking materials and seven people lost their lives in house fires caused by smoking materials.

NIFRS Group Commander Kevin O'Neill 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."

NIFRS safety advice

•  Take extra care smoking if you are drowsy,  taking prescription drugs or if you have been  drinking. It’s too easy to fall asleep and not  notice that a cigarette is still burning.

•  Don’t smoke in bed. It’s too easy to fall asleep and set bedding on fire.

•  Always use proper ashtrays.

•  Make sure when you put out a cigarette,  it is really out.

•  Take responsibility and keep matches  and lighters away from children.

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