Smoking & Fires in the Home

If you smoke, Put It Out. All the Way. Every Time. Every year, almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials. The U.S. Fire Administration is working to help prevent home fire deaths and injuries caused by smoking materials. Fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials are preventable.

If you smoke or live with someone who smokes, learn the facts. A lit cigarette left alone in a room, or accidentally dropped onto a chair or bed, or hot cigarette ashes or matches tossed away before they are completely out – all can cause a large fire in seconds.

Putting out a cigarette the right way only takes seconds, too. It is up to you to make sure your cigarette is put out, all the way, every time.

One-in-four people killed in home fires is not the smoker whose cigarette caused the fire.

  • More than one third were children of the smokers.
  • Twenty-five percent were neighbors or friends of the smokers.

I’m a smoker or live with a smoker… What can I do to make sure our home is safe from fires caused by smoking materials?

  • The safest place to smoke is outside of the home. Use a sturdy ashtray or a can filled with sand to collect ashes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don’t put ashtrays on them. If people have been smoking in the home, check for cigarettes under cushions.
  • NEVER smoke while using oxygen or anywhere near an oxygen source, even if the source is turned off. Oxygen makes any fire burn hotter and faster.
  • If you smoke, use reduced ignition strength cigarettes, commonly referred to as “fire-safe cigarettes.”
  • If you are drowsy or falling asleep, put it out. Smoking in bed is just plain wrong.
  • Place working smoke alarms on the ceiling of every level of your home. Get a smoke alarm that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames, and a smoky
    fire that has fumes without flames. They are called “Dual Sensor Smoke Alarms.”
  • Have an escape plan and practice it. Plan two ways to escape from every room. Practice the escape plan at least twice a year.

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