Single, smoking men 'biggest fire risk'

A FIRE safety campaign has been launched targeting the highest cause of domestic blazes - single men who drink and smoke.

Elliot Furniss

A FIRE safety campaign has been launched targeting the highest cause of domestic blazes - single men who drink and smoke.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is using pubs, clubs and betting shops to get the message across.

Often living alone and or in shared houses, research shows that this demographic causes more fires than any other group.


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Firefighters are called out regularly to scenarios where, after enjoying a night out, single men return home and fall asleep while smoking in bed or, feeling peckish, they start to prepare food and then doze off.

Senior Divisional Officer Paul Bowers, who heads the service's community safety team, said chip pans were a “real hazard” in the home, without the added danger of being used by someone under the influence of alcohol.

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He said crews attended a dozen or so such incidents every month and warned that a burned pizza could create enough smoke to suffocate everyone in a house within minutes.

He said: “So not only are these people putting their own lives at risk, they are also potentially endangering their neighbours.

“We have gone back to basics with this campaign, underlining our safety messages as clearly and as starkly as we can for maximum impact among a group of the community who are not too good at looking after themselves.

“This group of the community can be quite cavalier about their own safety so we wanted to catch their attention in the simplest possible way by targeting areas where they hang out and in language they may relate to.”

nEssex County Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety visits. To make an appointment for firefighters to visit your home call 0845 601 2495.

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