Dramatic film encourages smokers to ‘put it out, right out’

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) has released dramatic footage of a real fire starting in a bid to encourage smokers to put cigarettes out properly when they finish smoking.

With No Smoking Day taking place on Wednesday 14 March, firefighters are urging smokers check their cigarettes are fully extinguished to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out.

The footage was filmed on CCTV in Bristol and shows a genuine fire which broke out after a discarded cigarette set fire to dried leaves in a plant pot.

The film shows a smoker finishing a cigarette outside, unwittingly leaving it to smoulder in a large pot. During the course of an hour the smoke can be seen before a fire dramatically breaks. The blaze quickly takes hold, destroying the plant pot, setting fire to a door and a chair and melting the CCTV camera before fire crews extinguished the blaze.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager, Stuart Matthews, said: “The footage is truly frightening and shows just how easy it is for a discarded cigarette to start a serious fire. Fortunately the fire in the film started during the day and in a busy area which meant we were soon receiving 999 calls. Crews were quickly on scene and able to deal with the fire before it caused more damage.

“However if this incident had involved a cigarette smouldering overnight in the bin of a family home, which then started a fire, the consequences don’t bare thinking about.”

Fires started by smoking materials, such as cigarettes or cigars, were the most common cause of deaths in fires in the home in the UK last year. In 2010 - 2011 a total of 96 people lost their lives in fires caused by smoking materials.

During No Smoking Day we’re encouraging those that don’t manage to quit the habit to take extra care - out advice is ‘put it out, right out‘. When you have finished a cigarette, make sure it is fully stubbed out and extinguished, using a suitable ashtray.

It is also important to ensure homes are fitted with smoke alarms, which provide an early warning that a fire has broken out and can give occupants vital extra minutes to escape the property, especially at night.

For more safety advice or details about Home Fire Safety Visits which are provided to the most vulnerable members of the community visit www.avonfire.gov.uk or call 0117 926 2061.

Safety advice for smokers:

  • Smoking outside is much safer;
  • Never light a cigarette if you have been drinking or taking prescription medication as you could fall asleep with the cigarette still burning;
  • Never leave a lit cigarette lying around as it can burn down, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire;
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children;
  • Use a deep ashtray made of non flammable materials which can’t tip over;
  • Never tap ash into a wastepaper bin as it could set light to other items; and
  • When you have finished smoking, put it out, right out.