Most smokers have been warned about the negative health effects associated with smoking cigarettes. However, cigarettes pose an additional danger that every smoker should acknowledge. Cigarettes are fire hazards, and are the leading cause of house fire deaths in the United States. There were 1,660 injuries and 800 deaths from fires originally started by cigarettes in 2005. If you are a smoker, you should be aware of the fire dangers associated with cigarettes and take precautionary steps to protect your own safety and that of others.
How do cigarette fires begin?
Usually, fires caused by cigarettes start when a smoldering cigarette falls from an ashtray onto the carpet or a piece of furniture. The cigarette may remain smoldering for a long period of time before the furniture actually catches fire. By that time, the smoker may have left the room, and therefore the fire goes undetected until it is too late. Fires can also start when a motorist throws a cigarette out a car window and sparks fly into a dry ditch or someone’s yard, or if a smoker throws a cigarette butt onto the ground and does not fully extinguish it.
Many victims who die in fires or suffer fire injuries are young children who are unaware of fire safety and evacuation procedures. Often young children will hide under beds or in closets in the event of a fire and do not understand that they need to leave the building. Fire victims often die of smoke inhalation rather than from burn injuries, and the inhalation of dangerous fumes can begin to occur even before the victim is aware of the fire.
Remember some common sense guidelines to prevent fires caused by cigarettes and fire-related injuries.
- Always make sure your cigarette is properly extinguished.
- If you smoke indoors, always fully extinguish your cigarette in an ash tray, and never position ashtrays near or on top of flammable materials.
- Don’t throw your cigarette butts out the window of your vehicle, off the side of a building, or off of a stoop or porch. The smoldering cigarette may land on or may release sparks onto a flammable source.
- Utilize cigarette disposal containers outside commercial buildings and ashtrays at restaurants.
- Talk to children about fire prevention, safety, and evacuation. Point out safe evacuation routes and explain why children should never hide in the event of a fire.
To learn more about fire prevention and the legal issues surrounding fires, visit the website of NYC personal injury lawyers Orlow, Orlow & Orlow, P.C.