Your Safety

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In Scotland, most fatal fires are started by smoking. You can cut the chances of this happening to you.

It only takes seconds for a fire to take hold, but a split second for you to make the right decision. If you are tired, have been drinking or taking drugs, you will also be less alert to the signs of a fire and less likely to wake up if a fire does start – particularly if you do not have working smoke and heat alarms in your home.

By stepping outside to smoke, you significantly reduce the risk of causing a fire in your home.

This information is also available in our Smoking and Alcohol leaflet. 

Put it out - right out!


  • Stub cigarettes out properly in an ashtray – make sure there’s no smoke
  • Pour water on cigar and cigarette ends before putting in a bin – ideally an outside bin


  • Leave a cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended
  • Balance cigars or cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray or anything else – they can tip and fall as they burn away
  • Empty a pipe into a bin – the ember can still be very hot even if it’s not smoking


Using a proper ashtray is a good start to stopping fires from smoking.

  • Empty and clean your ashtray regularly
  • Douse with water before putting the contents of the ashtray in the bin
  • Empty into a metal bin outside if you can
  • Keep paper, wrappers and other rubbish that could catch light out of your ashtray

Alcohol and sleepiness

Many fires started by cigarettes happen to people who have also been drinking and are sleepy.

  • Take extra care if you’ve been drinking alcohol
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Don’t smoke in your chair if you’ve been drinking or you’re feeling sleepy
  • If you do feel sleepy, smoke outside, standing up or at a window or outside door

Matches and lighters

Starting fires is what matches and lighters are for. Make sure they only start the ones you want. Here’s how:

  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children, and away from heat sources
  • Teach children not to play with matches and lighters
  • Teach children to hand any matches or lighters they find to a responsible adult
  • Buy safety matches (ones that only strike on the box)
  • Buy lighters with safety locks and that go out when you let go of them
  • Make sure matches are out before you put them down
  • Make sure lighters are out properly before putting them down
  • Don’t throw used matches straight in the bin
  • Put used matches in an ashtray or a metal or ceramic plate and empty it regularly
  • Get a flameless ‘spark’ lighter to light gas stoves and heaters

For more safety information check out: