Smokers urged by firefighters to quit to help prevent house fires

Careless disposal of cigarettes, cigars, matches and lighters are the single biggest cause of house fire deaths nationally and in Oxfordshire, also causing many thousands of pounds of damage in the process.

Top tips from firefighters include:

  • Smoke outside - avoid the danger of a fire starting inside your home by smoking outside only and at the same time this will help other members of your family avoid passive smoking
  • Put it out, right out and make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished
  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly - working smoke alarms can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Never smoke in bed - take care when you’re tired. It's very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set bedding alight.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
  • Carry out your own home fire risk check - you can do this online at 365alive.co.uk - it only takes a few minutes and you never know it could save your families lives
  • Make an escape plan - sit down and make an escape plan with your family so that everyone knows what to do if there is a fire at home
  • If you use an e-cigarette:


  • Never leave e-cigarettes on charge unattended for long periods
  • Do not mix components of different e-cigarette
  • Only use the charger supplied

Put it out, right out

David Heycock, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service Home, Road and Community Safety Manager, said: “Smokers who are not ready to kick the habit yet should still follow a few simple precautions to prevent a fire in their home and if possible refrain from smoking inside all together.

“When extinguishing cigarettes always make sure they are “put out, right out".  Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended and always use a proper ashtray that won’t easily tip over.

“Have an early warning system in place, working smoke alarms will give you and your family valuable time to escape in the event of a fire. I would like to encourage everyone to get into the ‘Test it Tuesday’ routine and test your alarms every Tuesday.”

Hear the advice

Councillor Rodney Rose, Oxfordshire County Council's Deputy Leader who also has Cabinet responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It makes clear sense for smokers to follow guidance regarding the disposal of lit cigarettes or cigars: not listening to the advice could result in a totally avoidable fire or even fatality."