To mark National No Smoking Day, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service has issued a reminder on the danger of lit cigarettes in the home.
Watch Manager Neil Chamberlain, of the community safety department, said: “Unfortunately, it is far too easy to accidentally leave a cigarette burning in an ashtray, or to fall asleep while smoking.
"It’s a sad fact that more people die in smoking material related fires than any other - while cigarettes are the cause of less than ten per cent of all fires, they actually account for around a third of all fire deaths.”
“A cigarette can burn at up to 700°C - imagine leaving something that hot on or next to a settee, bed, carpet or curtains.
"It is absolutely vital that you always make sure that cigarettes are properly extinguished - your life, and the lives of others in your home, could depend on it.”
The best way of protecting yourself and others in your home from this risk is to give up smoking altogether, says the service, failing that, only ever smoke outside.
If you have to smoke indoors, remember:
• Make sure cigarettes, cigars and pipes are properly extinguished when you have finished smoking.
• Don’t leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily over-balance as they burn down, and this could lead to a fire starting.
• Never smoke in bed.
• Use a proper ashtray that won’t tip over easily and is made of material that won’t burn.
• Never tap ash or empty an ashtray into a wastepaper basket.
• Empty ashtrays frequently, damping down the contents with water before disposing of them into a metal bin outside the home.
• Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking. You might fall asleep and set your bed or sofa on fire.
• Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
• Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home and test them weekly.
For further home fire safety advice, visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk