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STUBBING OUT CIGARETTE FIRES AT HOME; SPONSORED FEATURE; Follow some simple safety steps to reduce the risk to you and your family this festive season.

EvEry hour, of every day, ry EvEry hour, of every day, there is a house fire in Scotland. Of those that sadly lead to loss of life, it is smoking that is the leading cause.

So, if you're a smoker - or someone else in your household is - it's vitally important to make sure you use and dispose of cigarettes correctly.

With Christmas parties, late nights and drinking more alcohol, staying cigarette-safe is even more important at this time of year.

Find out how you can avoid a fire in the home with these essential tips

PUT IT OUT - RIGHT OUT

If not stubbed out properly, cigarette ends can smoulder undetected for hours and cause a real fire hazard.

When you've been smoking, make sure to stub out your cigarette or cigar until there is no longer any smoke. You can then pour water on to the ash and butts to ensure there are no burning embers.

You should also never leave burning cigarettes unattended for any length of time, even if it's resting in an ashtray - they can easily fall after burning away and end up on sofas, carpets and other surfaces. ASHTRAYS Although a proper ashtray is a good start for preventing fires from smoking, it's also important to keep it in a safe condition.

You should always clean out and wash your ashtray regularly, to avoid a build-up of unsafe materials. Additionally, any ash should be covered with water before being placed into the bin - and you should use a metal bin, stored outside, where possible.

Never toss additional rubbish, such as paper or wrappers, into an ashtray as they can quickly catch fire.

ALCOHOL AND SMOKING

ALCOHOL And SmOking You are more likely to lose your life in a fire if you drink and smoke, and men are twice as likely to be victims as women.

People can fall asleep on the sofa or in bed with a lit cigarette and this can cause a serious fire.

These fires are more likely to happen at night - between 10pm and 3am - so it's important to:

Never smoke in bed

Always take extra care when smoking if you have been drinking

Never sit down with a lit cigarette when you're feeling tired after drinking - stand up by an open window or go outside, instead.

If a fire does break out, a working smoke alarm could be your only chance of waking up as your responses can be impaired by alcohol.

Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen.

MATCHES And LIGHTERS

Unattended matches or lighters - especially when left around children - can also cause fires in the home.

Always buy safety matches, keep lighters away from heat and make sure they are properly out before putting them down. You should also avoid throwing used matches straight in the bin.

A home fire safety visit only takes about 20 minutes and could save your life. Arranging a visit is easy:

Call 0800 0731 999

Text 'FIRE' to 80800

Phone your local Fire Station

Visit online at www.firescotland.gov.uk

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 23, 2015
Words:523
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