Be Cautious Of Improper Disposal of Smoking Materials

Back in early May 2018, you probably remember several large fires in our region:

  • Centreville fire damaged 13 townhouses and displaced 36 people
  • Centreville fire in a senior living community evacuated 75 apartment units and displaced several residents
  • A Fairfax bank fire that spread through and collapsed the roof

These three devastating fires have one thing in common—all were started by improper disposal of smoking materials. In fact, nearly half of all structure fires in Fairfax County this year were caused by improper disposal of smoking materials!

If you smoke, whether you are on a NOVA campus or at home, please keep in mind the below safety tips to properly dispose of your smoking materials:

  • Do not throw cigarettes into bushes, potted plants, landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, or mulch. Hot weather dries these areas out, causing them to become highly flammable.
  • NOVA provides safe smoking areas away from hazards and fireproof cigarette disposal containers across campus to safely dispose of cigarettes.
  • At home, completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away, as they can smolder and cause a fire.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn (i.e., mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.).
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
  • To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s sight and reach.

These fires are 100% preventable! Following these safety steps helps keep you, your neighbors, and local community free from accidental improper disposal of smoking material fires. For more information, visit the United States Fire Administration or your local county emergency resources.