West Sussex firefighters highlight the dangers of e-cigarettes during national no smoking day today (March 12th).
The warning follows the investigation into a fire at a residential care home in Chichester last month attributed to the battery pack of an electronic cigarette.
The e-cigarette’s battery pack had ruptured and projected heated battery components across the room igniting nearby bedding. Although, thankfully, nobody was injured, the fire caused significant heat and smoke damage to the bedroom.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices which simulate tobacco smoking and are increasingly being used as aids to give up smoking. There are an estimated 1.3 million e-cigarette users in the UK.
Fie Investigation Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Mark Hayter, said: “This fire was not an isolated incident; other fire services have reported similar instances including a fatal fire in Derbyshire. The problem appears to be with batteries that are attached via a USB cable and have been overcharged.
“Of course, we don’t want to discourage anyone from trying to quit smoking. Smoking is still the biggest cause of fatalities in accidental house fires and we applaud anyone taking steps to cut down or give up. However, we would urge anyone using e-cigarettes to take particular care when charging them.
“E-cigarettes are no substitute for quitting smoking altogether. There are a huge number of sources of support for anyone who wants help to give up smoking. Call the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0300 100 1823 to find out what help is available close to where you.”
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offers the following safety advice with e-cigarettes:
. Always use the equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
. Only use the charger that has been supplied with the device
. Don’t leave e-cigarettes unattended while charging
. When charging keep the e-cigarette and battery pack away from soft furnishings or combustible materials
. Unplug the battery pack once fully charged
. Ensure you have a working smoke alarm fitted on each level of your home