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Firefighters warn of smoking safety risk

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 18, 2014

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Firefighters are warning people of the potential safety risks linked to lighting up after latest statistics reveal more than 230 smoking related house fires in three years.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has released the figures ahead of national ‘No Smoking Day’ tomorrow (March 12).

The most up to date statistics show that there were 234 residential blazes caused by smoking materials, lighters and matches between January 1 2011 and December 31 2013. This includes 13 deaths and 67 injuries.

Cigarettes and other smoking paraphernalia were the third most common cause of house fires in 2013.

E-cigarettes are also thought to have caused a growing number of blazes nationally in recent months with devices believed to have exploded while on charge.

One such incident occurred at a property on Rumer Hill Road, Cannock, during the early hours of March 7. Luckily, it did not result in a sustained fire and no-one was hurt.

No Smoking Day encourages people to kick the habit and has been running since 1983, when it was called Quit for the Day. The campaign is re-designed every year to help spur smokers into action.

Community Safety Lead Stephanie Court said: “The number of smoking related incidents has decreased significantly from 93 in 2011 to 68 last year which shows that the people of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are taking heed of our warnings and safety advice.

“However, any house fire caused by cigarettes or smoking paraphernalia is one too many and we will continue to work closely residents, particularly the most vulnerable members of the community, to further reduce this type of incident. I would urge anyone who is concerned about fire safety in their home, to book at Home Fire Risk Check (HFRC) and to encourage friends and relatives to do the same.”

The HFRCs are free and available to anyone who lives in Staffordshire or Stoke-on-Trent. People can arrange for crew members or trained technicians to visit their home at a time that is convenient for them.

They will speak to residents about safety in the home and, using this information, try to identify and minimise risk from fire. If a property does not have working smoke alarms, the Service will fit them.

To book a HFRC call Freephone 0800 0241 999, text 07528 983101 or visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp

In an emergency dial 999. For all other non-emergency enquiries contact: 08451 22 11 55 or log onto: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or www.direct.gov.uk/firekills.

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