USFA Takes Aim at Smoking Fires at Home

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has launched a Smoking & Home Fires Campaign to put an end to the number one cause of preventable home fire deaths -- fires started by smoking materials. The campaign is designed to alert smokers and those who live with smokers about simple steps they can take to stop the fire before it starts in their home. USFA is encouraging smokers to "Put It Out. All the Way. Every Time."

"Most smoking-related home fires happen on beds, furniture, or in trash when smokers do not put cigarettes all the way out, toss hot ashes in the trash or fall asleep while smoking," said U.S. Fire Administrator Greg Cade. "What's important to remember is that smoking home fires can easily be prevented. It just takes a few seconds to light up – and a few seconds to make sure that cigarette is really out."

Every year, about 1,000 people are killed in smoking-related home fires. According to the USFA, one-in-four people killed in home fires is not the smoker whose cigarette caused the fire. In fact, 34 percent were children of the smokers and 25 percent were neighbors or friends of the smokers. Too often, the victim is the firefighter trying to save them. On Jan/ 12, 1992, a seven-year-old Maryland boy died as a result of a fire caused by smoking-related materials, as well as Kenny Hedrick, a volunteer firefighter, who was trapped and died in the basement of that home. Kenny's mother Cathy Hedrick, director of Survivor Programs for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation said, "The cause of this tragic fire that took the lives of two innocent victims was a smoldering cigarette in the family room."

The Smoking & Home Fires Campaign warns about the dangers of careless smoking and urges smokers to do it outside if they need to smoke. Inside the home, people should use big ashtrays with a stable base and really put the cigarette out, don't just tap it into the ashtray. People should especially make sure their cigarette is fully out if they are drowsy due to medicine or alcohol.

The campaign materials include a CD Toolkit with English and Spanish posters, brochures, fact sheets, public service announcements, PowerPoint presentations and an engaging video of a smoking-home fire demonstration. The materials are available online and can be ordered by visiting www.usfa.dhs.gov/smoking.

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