Space Heaters and Smoking Material Fire Safety..
With the first few major fires of the season having tragic results in and around Boston, we feel the need to write this article.
Two of the deadly fires were a result of improperly disposed of smoking materials while the other was a space heater. We have written article in depth about these topics but really need to reiterate the fact that these are quick moving and fast spreading. Many of which occur at night while these materials are unattended.
Let us start with the smoking materials.
This is the number one cause of death in home fires.
Many industries have made efforts to aid in the reduction of death and injury from these kinds of fires. The mattress and furniture industry have been required to use flame resistant materials in manufacturing. New fire safe cigarettes have been developed and are required to aid in reduction of fires starting in the first place. These measures cannot and should not replace the smokers properly disposing of lit or smoldering products. We need to change our mindset and not rely on companies to make things safer for our friends and families.
We all know the dangers that smoking has on our overall health yet many still continue to smoke. All too often while driving down the road someone will toss a lit cigarette they are done without the window. While seemingly innocent when it comes in contact with the dry under brush and fallen leaves this can spark a major problems for so many. This is not an ideal way to dispose of a lit object period.
With the holiday season upon us many of us will partake in joyous occasions which often includes alcohol. While we support good time these drinks do impede judgment, make you sleepy, and reduce awareness. Coupled with many do smoke socially this can be a recipe for a disaster. When you have a smoke right before bed, but you are tired all too often many will fall asleep with the cigarette in their hand or even more scary in their mouth. The images of someone sleeping with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth is often a funny thing yet is a very dangerous event. As they sleep and muscles relax those funny images become deadly. Cigarettes falling out of the mouth or hand unknowingly onto the floor. Allowed to go unchecked, smoldering on a dry article of clothing, carpet or bed can quickly get out of hand. Deaths in these types of fires are often NOT the individual that was smoking the cigarette.
Please stay aware and if you see something say or do something you may just save a life. Properly dispose of the smoking materials even if they are not yours.
Here are some tips from our friends at National Fire Protection Association
- If you smoke, smoke outside.
- Whenever you smoke, use deep, wide, sturdy ashtrays. Ashtrays should be set on something sturdy and hard to ignite, like an end table.
- Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out. Dowsing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
- Check under furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
- Smoking should not be allowed in a home where medical oxygen is used. ( Someone in Maine just had a home explosion due to this) .. Oxygen is flammable ….Very FLAMMABLE… Be smart and safe…. Others will be affected.
- To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you have to be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs. These are the second leading cause of home fires and injuries and the third cause of death. As Temperatures dip and the cold settles into the homes we all seek to stay warm, many of us turn to space heaters. While this is a great way to provide an infusion of concentrated heat into the areas of the home we are in or live in they can be very dangerous if not used properly.
- The second is the space heater.
- Keep them at least 3ft away from any and all flammable materials.
- This includes curtains, furniture, rugs, bedding, paper, Christmas trees, and holiday decorations.
- Turn them off when you are not home or cannot monitor properly i.e. when you are sleeping. Warm up the room and get an extra blanket to hold in the heat but turn that heater off when you go to sleep
- When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL).
- Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump into it and knock it over.
- Avoid using extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
- Supervise children and pets when a space heater is in use.
- Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
- The sale and use of unvented kerosene heaters is illegal in Massachusetts.
- We hope this will make you think about these two causes of fires and use even just one tip to save a life maybe even your own. Share this tip with anyone you know that smokes or uses space heaters. Have a safe and happy holiday season with your friends and family. Let us work together to create lasting memories we can all be happy about. Not the memories that bring sadness over the holiday season. Being with our loved ones is precious and every moment we can add to it should be treasured. DO NOT cut those memories short because of a careless mistake. Check back with us often for this and other important safety tips and tricks.