Stop The Home Fires Burning
It's hard to know how many cigarette smokers are still out there; some statistics claim that there are more smokers than ever, while other statistics tell us that smoking is on the decline. In any case, cigarette smokers still abound, which leads us to the real subject matter of this article, yet another statistic that tells us that in home fires started by smokers, a full one-quarter of the people killed in such fires are non-smokers.
Smoking is the major cause of home fire-related deaths in the U.S. and has been for quite some years. Every year, 1,000 people are killed in fires that started in homes due to cigarettes or other smoking-related apparatus.
One such case occurred at 4:30 in the morning on Dec. 28, 2009 in the northeastern part of Mississippi. The cause of the fire was traced to careless smokers and nine people were killed. The age range of the victims ran from the oldest at 25 years, to the youngest, which was barely six months old.
Such fires are more common during the winter months when it's hard to banish the family smoker to the out of doors to feed his smoking habit. But the fact is that the greatest gift a smoker can give his family is to confine his smoking to the out of doors. Some smokers designate the family garage as a makeshift smoking lounge for the duration of the coldest winter months, and this is certainly better than smoking inside the house.
But if you must smoke indoors, take precautions. Make sure that ashtrays are large enough to hold an entire cigarette, in case you forget you've lit it and left it to burn. The ashtray should be sturdy, too, so that it won't have a tendency to tip over. Some states have Fire Safe Cigarettes. These cigarettes will self-extinguish if the cigarettes are not smoked for a specific period of time.
Of course, it should go without saying that smoking should never take place in a home in which oxygen is used for the treatment of medical conditions. Firemen have reported responding to home fires in which an emphysema patient dared to smoke while a nasal cannula sat upon his face, feeding him highly flammable oxygen.
The nature of cigarettes is that they burn at lower temperatures than do open flames owing from a match or a candle. When the smoldering end of a cigarette makes contact with flammable material, the tendency of the materials is to smolder long before breaking into flames. For this reason, many home fires break out in the wee hours of dawn. The forgotten cigarette had met flammable materials long before the fire broke out and way after the residents had gone to sleep.
Make a hard fast rule: don't ever smoke in bed. No excuses. This is the number one cause of home fires started by cigarettes: smoking in bed.