FIREFIGHTERS are urging smokers to kick the habit.
Crews are throwing their support behind the national ‘Stoptober’ challenge with the aim of reducing the number of smoking-related fires.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has joined forces with local organisations to form the Smokefree West Sussex Partnership and is urging smokers to kick the habit for 28 days.
In the last two years in West Sussex, two-thirds of all fatal house fires have been smoking-related.
Officials say smoking is still by far the single biggest killer in accidental fires in the home.
Nicki Peddle, safer communities manager for the service, said: ‘Smoking is still the most frequent cause of fire deaths in the home, both nationally and here in West Sussex, so we fully support this campaign and will continue to work with our partners to reduce the harm caused by smoking.
‘Of course, we know that not every smoker is ready to give up.
‘For those people, the best advice we can offer to prevent a fire breaking out is to dispose of their cigarettes carefully and safely and to avoid lighting up in bed.’
Firefighters will be attending Stoptober roadshows that are being held across the area.
The safety advice is to use a proper ashtray and never a wastepaper basket.
Cigarettes should be stubbed out completely.
For advice and support on quitting smoking call 0300 100 1823 or visit smokefreewestsussex.co.uk