The best way to prevent smoking-related fires is to stop smoking. It has been the top factor in fatal fires for many years. So if you're caring for someone who smokes start by encouraging them to quit. You could save their life in more ways than one. Find help and advice through the NHS.NHS Smokefree
If the person you care for isn't ready to stop, reducing risks is the next best thing – and e-cigarettes are much safer. A lit cigarette dropped on a bed or a chair can quickly cause a fatal fire. A vape? No problem. If they switch to e-cigs, make sure they buy a good quality device, and learn to charge it safely.
If you see any of the below in the home of the person you care for you should take immediate action:
As a carer, we understand that you have a lot of responsibilities. But by taking action, you can save a life or prevent serious injury.
We can talk to the person you care for about all of this in a home fire safety visit – we visit at home for free, and provide expert, personalised advice. Visits can be arranged at any time (24/7), and we even fit free smoke alarms if the person you care for needs them.
Talk to the person you care for and get their consent, then organise a potentially life-saving chat about fire safety.
If you are a support worker providing care there are some extra steps you need to take:
Complete the Person Centred Fire Risk Assessment at the bottom of this page – this will help you identify areas of risk to the person you care for.
Report the risks to your line manager and ask them to discuss a referral for a free home fire safety visit with the client.
Communicate with the person’s family or other supporting agencies to consider how Telecare can help to keep vulnerable people safer.
Please consider their needs and make sure they know and understand the escape plan for where they live.
Make sure that fire risk is included in the care plan for your client including things like using fire retardant bedding, appropriate management of emollient creams, and how to care for people who smoke.
It's also a good idea to get some training on how to recognise fire risks – there's a good free online course available here.e-Learning with Telecare Services Association
This will help you to spot signs that may indicate the person you care for is at risk of injury from fire and what steps you can take to reduce those risks.
If any of these signs are combined with limited mobility – for example, if the person you care for is bed bound or spends most of their time in a chair – the person is particularly at risk. Learn more about escape plans from homes here, and from workplaces (like residential care homes) here.