As we move into the New Year, the State Fire Marshal’s Office would like residents to consider smoking safety. 

Nationally from 2012-2016, an average of 18,100 home structure fires were started by smoking, killing an average of 590 people per year. 

If you smoke, the State Fire Marshal’s Office recommends that you take the following precautions to reduce the risk of fires: 

• Smoke outside. Flammable materials in your home can ignite if they contact a lit cigarette or ashes. It is always safer to smoke outside. 

• Make sure cigarette butts are fully extinguished in deep, sturdy ashtrays. If ashtrays are not available, use a metal can or pail filled with sand or water. 

• Do not throw cigarettes into vegetation, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, mulch, leaves or other similar items — they can easily catch fire. 

• Never smoke around medical oxygen. Medical oxygen can cause materials to ignite more easily and make fires burn at a faster rate than normal. It can also make an existing fire burn faster and hotter. 

• Never smoke in bed. Mattresses and bedding can catch fire easily, and there’s a risk that you might fall asleep with a lit cigarette. 

• Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches and other smoking materials out of the reach of children. 

For more information, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-596-3929.

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