London Fire Brigade

Smoking in bed warning during National Bed Month

26 March 2015

London Fire Brigade is warning of the dangers of smoking in bed after a man narrowly avoided injury when a discarded cigarette set his bed alight last week.

Firefighters were called to the bedsit in Enfield, last Thursday morning. Four residents evacuated before the arrival of the Brigade after being alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm sounding.

Half of the bedsit was damaged in the blaze and fire investigators believe the fire was caused by a cigarette that hadn’t been extinguished properly, igniting the bed linen and mattress.

Mark Hazelton, Community Safety Group Manager for London Fire Brigade, said:

“The occupant was extremely lucky to escape uninjured as the fire completely destroyed his bed. Had the fire happened when he was asleep the outcome could have been very different. Fires caused by smoking materials including cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and pipes, result in more deaths than any other type of fire.

“Everyone loves their bed, but people should avoid putting themselves at risk and never smoke in bed or last thing at night where they may fall asleep.”

The fire occurred during National Bed Month, a campaign aimed at reminding people of the importance of getting a better night’s sleep. To ensure you sleep easy and to prevent smoking related fires in your bedroom, follow the Brigade’s top smoking safety tips:

• Never smoke in bed.
• Don’t smoke in a soft chair or sofa if you think you may fall asleep.
• Use a proper ashtray which can’t tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn. Never use improvised ashtrays e.g. paper cups, tall glasses, foil dishes etc.
• Stub cigarettes out properly and always dispose of them carefully. Make sure smoking materials are cold before emptying ashtrays. Preferably wet them, before throwing stubs into a bin.
• Only smoke legally manufactured cigarettes. Counterfeit cigarettes are more likely to cause fires and are less likely to self extinguish.
• Never smoke if you use medical oxygen or an air flow pressure relief mattress