Following three residential fires in Oshawa last weekend that was all related to misuse of smoking materials, Oshawa Fire Services warns of the dangers of careless smoking and urges the community if you smoke or live with someone who smokes to incorporate proper safety procedures while smoking and discarding smoking materials.

“Oshawa fire crews responded to three fires this weekend – all were the result of careless smoking or misuse of smoking materials. All of these fires were 100% preventable,” stated Oshawa Fire Chief Derrick Clark.

“It is with great sadness that we report that there was one fatality this weekend in one of the fires – our thoughts are with the families and friends of the fire victim,” said Fire Chief Clark. “It’s important we work to educate and enforce safety guidelines to prevent another terrible tragedy like this.”

Approximately 76% of all fires in Oshawa occur in a residence. According to the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office, careless smoking is the leading cause of fire injuries and fire fatalities and the fourth leading cause of preventable home fires in Ontario. Since 2017, smokers’ materials have caused 32 fires in Oshawa.

If you or someone you live with smokes, Oshawa Fire Services urges you to follow these safety tips:

Smoke outside whenever possible.
Never smoke in bed or when you are feeling drowsy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Never smoke while using assisted oxygen devices.
Dispose of smoking materials properly. Use sturdy, deep ashtrays and make sure cigarette butts and ashes are fully out. Never discard your smoking material in the garbage, potted flowerpots or beds, recycling, or other plastic containers.
It is best to dispose of cigarettes in a bucket of sand or water.
Before going to sleep, check under and around sofa cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.
Keep matches, lighters, and smoking materials out of the reach of children – up high and preferably locked up and never unattended.
Ensure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. It is required by law that all landlords and homeowners have working smoke alarms on every story of the home and outside all sleeping areas. Removing or tampering with smoke and carbon monoxide devices can result in fines of up to $50,000 for an individual and/or one-year imprisonment.

Mark your calendar to remember to test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are more than 10 years old. It is also important that everyone in your home knows what to do should a smoke alarm sound. Be sure that your family has an escape plan, complete with a meeting place, and practice it regularly.

For more information on Oshawa Fire Services and fire prevention, visit www.oshawa.ca/fire or follow @OshawaFire on Twitter.