Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging smokers to stop smoking on National No Smoking Day (11 March) and reminding them that a working smoke alarm means residents are more than twice as likely to survive an accidental house fire.

“From a fire safety perspective, careless disposal of cigarettes is the single biggest killer in house fires across the country. Habits such as smoking while drinking alcohol in the home or lighting up in bed, are responsible for one in three of all accidental house fires resulting in deaths in England.

Some simple precautions:

• Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.

• Fit a smoke alarm on every level and test it regularly. A working smoke alarm 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 furniture alight.

• Avoid drugs and alcohol when smoking. It’s easy to lose your concentration when using any sort of drugs or drinking alcohol, combined with cigarettes and this could be lethal.

• Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended - they can easily overbalance as they burn down.

Neighbouring Fire Service, Wiltshire, has also issued a reminder about the danger of lit cigarettes in the home and recommended all properties have working smoke alarms.

Original sources

Yeovil Express

Wiltshire Standard

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.