THE Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is supporting the ‘Take the Leap’ campaign for No Smoking Day on Wednesday, March 14.
NIFRS is highlighting that in addition to all the health benefits of taking the leap and stubbing out the habit for good, there are also clear fire safety benefits - keeping families safe in their homes from the dangers of fire.
Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, explained: “Cigarettes and smoking materials are not only bad for your health - they are also deadly fire hazards that could end up costing you your home, or worse, your life. In 2011 our Firefighters attended 97 accidental fires caused by smoking materials. Sadly two people lost their lives, 35 people were injured and 19 people were rescued from these types of incidents.
“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 very rapidly and within moments can develop into very serious fires.”
He added: “As an organisation we are totally committed to the safety and wellbeing of our community. By ‘Taking the Leap’ and using No Smoking Day this year as an opportunity to stub out the habit for good you will not only improve your health but additionally you will also improve your home fire safety, keeping you and your family safe from the dangers of fires started by smoking materials.
“For those that choose not to ‘Take the Leap’ I would remind them to be extra careful if they are smoking or disposing of smoking materials in their home. Ensure you have stubbed out cigarettes properly before going to bed, in an ashtray not a bin, and be extra careful if you have been drinking alcohol or are feeling drowsy. Never smoke in bed or leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended as they burn downwards and can easily overturn and set fire to something.
“A working smoke alarm should also be fitted in all homes to alert people to a fire and people should have a fire escape plan in case a fire breaks out. We offer a free Home Fire Safety Check and firefighters will visit your home to look for fire risks and can fit free smoke alarms if required.”
For additional fire safety information log on to the NIFRS website – www.nifrs.org - or to book a free Home Fire Safety Check call 028 9260 0477.