Cigarettes and alcohol raise fatal house fire risk, warns London Fire Brigade
In January, many people start thinking about New Year's resolutions, and, in a bid to become more healthy many give up smoking and drinking. However, most people don't realise that by cutting back on cigarettes and alcohol they will also reduce the chance of having a fire in their home.
London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Community Safety, Andy Hickmott, said: "Those who drink heavily or smoke are at greater risk of having a serious house fire. Health reasons aside - what better excuse do you have to stop smoking and cut back on alcohol? It could dramatically reduce the chance of you being injured or even killed in a house fire".
The Brigade's statistics speak for themselves:
Andy Hickmott went on to say: "When people are intoxicated they are more likely to take risks, their responses become slower and they can fall asleep easily - it's a lethal combination which can be deadly if a fire starts".
The most common causes of fires involving alcohol include cigarettes not being put out properly and candles or cooking being left unattended after people have fallen asleep.
A person affected by alcohol is not always in a position to escape from a fire and so can often be badly injured or killed.
Paul Paterson, 52, from Lewisham, knows only too well about the fire risks associated with drinking. Two years ago he suffered a serious house fire after he left his chip pan on after he'd had a few drinks. Paul said: "The fire destroyed my kitchen and the smoke damaged my whole flat. The whole situation was absolutely terrifying.
I'd say to anyone - if you're going out drinking: plan ahead. Either prepare some food before you go out that doesn't require any cooking or better still, get a takeaway, it could save your life".
The Brigade advises Londoners to keep the following safety tips in mind:
As part of the campaign to highlight the dangers of alcohol and smoking, the Brigade has also launched a new YouTube video - 'Diary of a Firefighter'. In his video diary, firefighter Ben Yong, from Kensington fire station, talks about the fire dangers associated with drinking and smoking.
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