Tennessee State Fire Marshal Warns Consumers About Smoking Dangers

Monday, September 21, 2015 | 12:37pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) reminds Tennesseans that if they smoke, they should always remain alert while smoking and use caution and care with all cigarettes. 

Fires caused by smoking materials have taken a heavy toll on Tennesseans and Tennessee fire departments. The National Fire Incident Reporting System shows that during a five-year period (2010-2014), Tennessee fire departments responded to 3,478 smoking-material fires.  (Smoking materials are lighted tobacco products but do not include matches or lighters.) Those fires resulted in 71 civilian deaths, one fire service death, 91 civilian injuries, 22 fire service injuries and $37.2 million in direct property damage, records show. 

The SFMO offers these safety reminders for anyone who currently smokes or is considering smoking:

  • To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy, or have consumed alcohol.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside. Never smoke in bed.
  • Never smoke where medical oxygen is used. Medical oxygen can cause materials to ignite more easily and make fires burn at a faster rate than normal. It can make an existing fire burn faster and hotter.
  • Wherever you smoke, use deep, sturdy ashtrays. If ashtrays are not available, use a metal can or pail.
  • Never empty smoking material directly into a trash can. Place away from anything that can burn.
  • Do not throw out cigarettes into vegetation, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, mulch, leaves, and other similar items—they can easily catch fire.
  • Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out. Put them out in water or sand.
  • Before going to bed, check under furniture cushions and around places where people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, and other smoking materials up high out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet.
  • Use caution with electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). Charge the device as directed by the manufacturer.  Only use the charger supplied with your device. Do not mix and match components from different manufacturers or from other devices.  Do not leave unattended while charging. Do not over tighten the battery to the charger. Remove the battery from charger when fully charged. Clean the connections at least once a week.