If you or someone in your home smokes tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.), it is extremely important to follow practice fire safety.
Be very careful of how cigarettes and ashes are discarded. Be certain that they are no longer burning or even hot. Soak them in cold water, and then discard them. Never smoke in bed or in a chair, especially if you feel drowsy. Before going to sleep, check around areas where smoking has occurred, for smoldering cigarettes and ashes. Use large, deep, sturdy containers for ashtrays. Make sure that the container is placed on a stable surface so that it cannot be tipped over. Keep all smoking materials, matches, lighters and ashtrays out of reach of children. Don't leave burning cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended. Put out all smoking materials before you walk away. Watch very carefully where smokers have been. Check furniture and particularly cushions for any smoldering ashes, as well as carpeting. If you smoke, choose fire safe cigarettes, as they are less likely to cause fires. And, NEVER smoke in a home where oxygen is being used!
If you must smoke, smoke outside. But, even if you do go outside, still be very careful. Mulch, shrubs, and leaves can catch on fire from burning ashes or a discarded cigarette, especially if the weather has been dry. Discard the ashes and burning cigarettes properly.
Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test smoke alarm batteries every month and change them at least once a year. And, develop and practice a fire escape plan. In case of a fire, crawl or stay low to the ground, beneath the smoke, and use the escape plan you have worked out. Get out and stay out!
To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you have to be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs. Injuries and deaths due to fires caused by careless smoking are fully preventable.
Fire safety is something that everyone needs to be aware of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Do not wait until it is too late, practice fire safety every day! If you have any questions or comments about this article, or any other fire safety subject, please feel free to call the Fire Company at 215-646-2555 or stop into either fire station any Monday night. The Fire Prevention Committee is available to present programs upon request. Visit the Fort Washington Fire Company on the Internet at www.fwfc.org:2020.