In 2011, fires started by smokers using plant pots as ashtrays caused over $1.1 million in residential losses.
The City of Red Deer encourages residents to take proper precautions with planter pots in and around their home. “Be a responsible smoker,” said Wes Van Bavel, fire prevention officer. “Remember, planter pots are not ashtrays.”
When used as an ashtray, a dried out plant pot works to insulate the lit cigarette. The soil heats to ignition temperature and begins to smolder. Smoldering can continue for several hours, consuming more plant pot material. When sufficient oxygen is available, the material can break into flame. If other combustible material is in close proximity to the planter, or flowerpot, it may become involved resulting in a serious fire.
The following tips will keep your family and property safe: do not use planter pots as an ashtray; keep an ashtray in areas where someone might be smoking around potted plants; if you have dead plants in pots in and around your home, discard them properly or take the soil from the pots and spread it in your yard or garden and keep your plants well watered and maintained.
The Home Safety Program is a free service in which Red Deer Emergency Services personnel visit residences within Red Deer from May to October each year offering a comprehensive fire and injury home safety check.