Thirteen and Cleveland Fire Brigade (CFB) are working in partnership to remind local residents of the dangers of smoking in their home.
On No Smoking Day (11/3/2020), the organisations talked to customers, family members and carers to help them look out for warning signs that someone is at risk of accidental fire.
CFB advised that last year cigarettes were reported as the cause of 16% of accidental fires in the home, which could have been easily prevented.
People at risk of causing smoking-related fires are often those who live alone, including the elderly and those with mobility problems, but also those who have been drinking alcohol.
Thirteen’s building safety manager John Waines said: “The safety of our customers is our priority. The best way to prevent smoking related fires is to stop smoking for good, but we know it’s not that easy, so please if you have to smoke, smoke responsibly and be safe.
“Often smokers fall asleep with a lit cigarette in their hand and it is so easy for clothes, bedding or furniture to catch fire. It’s much safer to smoke outside, but people should always make sure cigarettes are put right out and disposed of properly.
“We receive many calls, which often result in the fire brigade having to attend our customers’ homes, where smoking has been the cause of setting off the fire alarm, which is not only putting themselves at risk, but also other customers living within the same building.”
Steve Johnson, area manager prevention at Cleveland Fire Brigade said: “In Cleveland we have the lowest rate of accidental home fires in the UK, but there is always room for improvement.
“Smoking places a heavy burden on public services and it’s a key contributory factor in fires in the home. The only way to eliminate this risk is to quit, this also has numerous health and financial benefits.
“We are delighted to be working with Thirteen on this initiative, our number one priority is keeping our communities safe.”