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Put it right out – carelessly discarded cigarettes pose serious risk to life

Date published: 13 March 2019


Make sure you put any cigarettes completely out to stop the risk of fire is the message from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters across Greater Manchester have attended 752 fires caused by carelessly discarded smoking materials since April 2014.

The warning comes as GMFRS marks No Smoking Day, today Wednesday 13 March.

The day aims to help smokers who want to quit.

In 2018/2019 firefighters have been called to 136 incidents caused by carelessly discarded smoking materials.

On Sunday 24 February, crews from Rochdale and Littleborough attended a first floor flat fire on New Road, Littleborough.

The occupier, who had been drinking, fell asleep while smoking in bed.

Firefighters used a hose reel to extinguish the fire, which involved a mattress and duvet.

Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor of Policing, Crime, Justice and Fire, said: “Our firefighters do an incredible job keeping everyone across Greater Manchester safe, at all times of day and night throughout the year.

“We can also help them to do this by making sure any smoking materials are put out completely after use.”

Crews from Salford, Moss Side, Manchester Central and Blackley also attended a fire at a high-rise building in Manchester where a resident had carelessly discarded a cigarette on Monday 18 February.

The cigarette fell onto a balcony on the fourth floor and caused a small fire.

The fire only caused heat damage but if left unchecked potentially could have developed and spread around the building.

Paul Etches, GMFRS’ Head of Prevention, said: “Thanks to the quick work of our firefighters thankfully neither of these incidents developed into something much more serious.

“If you smoke, please make sure you put your smoking materials completely out. Putting a small amount of water on your ashes or cigarette butts is a quick and simple way to make sure you are not at risk of a fire.

“It is much safer to not smoke, but if you do, please follow our advice and make sure you have a working smoke alarm.”

If you smoke, GMFRS advises you to:

  • Stub your smoking material out properly – put it out, put it right out
  • Don't leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe lying around. They can easily fall over and start a fire
  • Use a proper heavy wide-bottom ashtray, never a wastepaper basket
  • Make sure your ashtray won't tip over and is made of material that won't burn
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Fit a minimum of one smoke alarm on every floor of your home and make sure you test it often. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999

Incidents in the different boroughs that GMFRS have attended since 2014:

  • Bolton - 84 incidents
  • Bury - 42 incidents
  • Manchester - 202 incidents
  • Oldham - 49 incidents
  • Rochdale - 65 incidents
  • Salford - 78 incidents
  • Stockport - 70 incidents
  • Tameside - 48 incidents
  • Trafford - 44 incidents
  • Wigan – 70 incidents

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