We all know smoking kills, but in more ways than you might think. Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue issued a report recently which showed that all accidental house fire deaths in its region in 2012 were caused by smoking materials. In addition, one out of every 13 house fires was also caused by cigarettes.
The advice from Lincolnshire is not to smoke when feeling tired, especially if you’re in a chair or in bed. They also say you should be careful if you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking medication. Always use an ashtray, and empty it before going to bed, making sure it’s properly extinguished – even run it under a tap.
This then made me wonder about the most common causes of fires in the home. And here are some of them:
- Open fires: one good piece of advice is never to hang a mirror over a fireplace as this encourages people to stand too close.
- Chimneys: sweep them at least once a year – twice if you use logs.
- Candles and tea lights: never leave them unattended; never use them in children’s rooms; keep them away from curtains, furniture and drapes.
- Electrics: don’t overload sockets; don’t run cables under carpets or near heaters; always use appliances and plugs which confirm to the British Standard and have the ‘kitemark’ logo.
- Electric blankets: ensure your blanket has ‘overheat protection, has the ‘kitemark’ logo, and don’t use it if it’s damaged or singed. And never, ever use it with a hot water bottle.
Finally: one of the most important things, of course, is to have a smoke alarm in your home – and to test it every week. If you are asleep when fire strikes and you don’t have a smoke alarm, your chances of survival are severely reduced.