Smoking Fire Safety

Cigarettes are the number one cause of fatal home fires in the United States, averaging 900 deaths per year over the past ten years. Cigarette fires also kill people who do not smoke.

Fire safety experts recommend the following steps for smokers to reduce their risk of fire:

  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Choose fire-safe cigarettes. They are less likely to cause fires.
  • Close a matchbook before striking and hold it away from your body. Set your cigarette lighter on "low" flame.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays placed on something sturdy and hard to ignite, like an end table.
  • Don't leave cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended. Put out all smoking materials before you walk away.
  • Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out by dowsing in water or sand.
  • If smokers have visited, check under furniture and cushions for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
  • Don't smoke if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or taken medicine or other drugs.
  • Never smoke in bed. Replace mattresses made prior to the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard.
  • Don't smoke in a home where oxygen is used.
  • 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.
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test smoke alarm batteries every month and change them at least once a year. Consider installing a 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke alarm, which is sealed so it cannot be tampered with or opened.