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Home : News : News
NEWS | Aug. 7, 2019

Cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities

By National Fire Prevention Association National Fire Prevention Association

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cigarettes are the leading cause of home fire fatalities in the United States. 

From hot ashes dumped into the garbage to a cigarette falling on to a couch cushion, carelessly discarded smoking materials kills 700 to 900 people, smokers and nonsmokers alike, per year.

The following safety tips will help to prevent these fires and possibly save lives:

·         Never smoke in bed or while sitting in furniture.

·         Always use large oversized, deep ashtrays with wide edges. While smaller ashtrays may be more attractive, they are not safe. Cigarettes can roll off the edge and the ashes can easily be blown away.

·         Water down your ashes, then empty ashtrays into an airtight metal container. Warm ashes dumped in waste cans can smolder for hours and then ignite into fire.

·         Do not leave cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended. Put out all smoking materials before you walk away.

·         Do not put ashtrays on the arms of sofas or chairs.

·         If you have a party with smokers, you should always check between sofa and chair pads because they can drop down and the butts can smolder for hours before you even know the fire has started.

·         Don’t leave burning cigarettes in an ashtray.

·         Keep lighters and matches out of sight and reach from children.

·         If you smoke outdoors, be sure to take in all ashtrays and cigarettes butts so wind does not blow the ashtrays contents around your property.

·         If you begin to feel drowsy while watching television or reading, extinguish your smoking materials in a safe container.

·         Close a matchbook before striking and hold it away from your body. Set your cigarette lighter on low flame to prevent burns.

By following simple safety precautions and becoming educated on the dangers associated with careless smoking you can help make your home a safer place.

For more information about smoke alarms or fire extinguishers, visit the National Fire Prevention Association website at or contact the Joint Base San Antonio Fire Prevention Offices at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, 210-221-2727; JBSA-Lackland, 210-671-2921; or JBSA-Randolph, 210-652-6915.

(Editor’s note: Images and information contained in this article were reproduced in whole or part from