Smoking and e-cigarettes
Did you know that smoking is the biggest cause of death from fire in the UK?
Over the last five years, we have attended many fires caused by smoking. And whether this is from cigarettes or e-cigs, and quite simply, stubbing it out could make a big difference to whether you are the next smoking-related fire our crews attend – so next time you light up, make sure your cigarette is properly out before you dispose of it.
Take smoking outside
We know that telling you not to smoke indoors is perhaps not something that you are likely to follow because everyone has their own habits and routine, but what we can do is tell you how to do this safely.
Ideally, if you are going to smoke, doing so outdoors is best, but make sure that if you do smoke inside your house you are not doing so in bed, as cigarettes can easily ignite bedding. While there is flame-retardant bedding available, we would never advise relying on this.
Top smoking safety tips
- Always keep matches, lighters, and cigarettes out of reach of children
- Never smoke if you have taken medication, drugs, or drunk alcohol which makes you feel tired or drowsy
- Never smoke, or let someone else do so in the same room as you if you use oxygen equipment or an airflow mattress
E-cigarettes and vaping
E-cigarettes might be the latest trend, but we doubt it’s trendy to find out that your habit has caused a fire in your home. The devices, which operate by being charged, must never be left unattended when on charge, otherwise you could get more than you bargained for – a fire.
In April 2018, a mother and her three children were asleep at their home on Scholars Way in Mansfield when the smoke alarms in the property sounded in the early hours of the morning.
Firefighters from Mansfield, Blidworth, and Ashfield were mobilised to the scene, and Fire Control gave fire survival guidance to the family, who were in the front bedroom.
The fire had been caused by an e-cigarette lighter which was charging overnight, and thanks to the property having working smoke alarms, they were able to call 999 and nobody was injured.
The e-cigarette had ignited and highlighted the importance of taking care when using these goods.
Top e-cigarettes tips
- Only buy e-cigarette devices from reputable retailers
- Check that your device carries a CE certification, and contact Trading Standards if you have any concerns
- Do not use counterfeit goods - batteries and/or chargers are unlikely to have current protection and could lead to batteries exploding
- Never mix components of different e-cigarettes
- Do not overtighten the atomiser when connecting to the charger
- When the charge is complete, disconnect the battery and remove the charger from the USB port/socket - this is usually indicated by a light on the device
- Only use chargers designed for use with the specific device. Some chargers may overcharge the product, leading to an increased risk of fire
- Never leave an electronic cigarette charging unattended, and never leave them charging overnight
- Never use damaged equipment or batteries
- Store batteries and chargers in a cool dry place at normal room temperature. Do not leave them in hot places such as direct sunlight
- Do not immerse batteries or chargers in water or otherwise get them wet
- Never carry batteries, keys, or coins in the same pocket or bag
- Never use a vaping device close to medical oxygen, flammable emollient creams, or airflow mattresses
- If using disposable e-cigarettes, only use chargers designed for use with the device and never leave them unattended or charging overnight
Tips for employers
- Facilitate opportunities for supervised charging of devices by staff in designated areas
- Advise staff and patients of the approved safe use of e-cigarettes and regularly audit/enforce, agreed protocols
- Ensure systems for review of any incidents related to recharging e-cigarettes(should they occur) are in place to promote learning