West Sussex firefighters support Stoptober challenge

FIREFIGHTRRS are urging smokers to take the Stoptober challenge in an aim to reduce the number of smoking-related fires.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging smokers to take part in the national campaign, launched by the Department of Health, which aims to encourage smokers to kick the habit for 28 days, starting on the date of their choice in October.

Jackie Boyle, commmunity fire safety officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Nationally, smoking is still the most frequent cause of fire deaths in the home, accounting for around a third each year, so of course, we are fully supportive of this campaign.

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“For those who don’t feel they are ready to kick the habit, the most important piece of advice we can offer to prevent a fire breaking out it is to make sure that you dispose of your smoking materials safely and that when you have finished that you put it out, right out.”

West Sussex Fire & Rescue offer the following safety advice:

. Stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully

. Use a proper ashtray - never a wastepaper basket

. Make sure your ashtray can’t tip over and is made of material that won’t burn

. Take extra care when you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that can make you drowsy - it’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning

. Don’t smoke in bed - if you need a lie down, don’t light up. It’s too easy to doze and for bedding to catch light

. Keep all matches and lighters well out of the reach of children

. Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended - they can easily overbalance and start a fire

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offer free home fire safety checks. Find out if you are eligible by calling 0800 328 6487.

For advice on quitting smoking and to find out more about Stoptober visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober