That simple quote from John R. Kramer, Fire Chief with the Monitor Township Fire Department says it all. Each year in John’s township alone there are five to six cigarette related grass/brush fires. At a cost of over $300.00 per hour, and a typical incident running between two and three hours, the cost can really start adding up to the tune of more than $3,600.00 per year. Take into account the fact that Michigan is divided up into 1,240 separate townships, and the approximate cost to tax payers in Michigan alone can be upwards of $400,000 per year.
That cost however is only if all the fires stay small and burn grass alone. Sadly this is not always the case. According to the American Burn Association, about 900 people in the United States die each year in fires started by cigarettes, and about 2,500 are injured. About 100 of the fire deaths each year are children and non-smokers.
The message? Well, the one John R Kramer wants to get across is to please stop flicking butts out the window. If everyone did just that he would not have had to spend his Tuesday May 19th 2015 putting out a fire that occurred on I75 here in Michigan just south of the Beaver Road exit. Luckily John and his team were able to put out the hay fire which was a direct result of a motorist tossing a lit cigarette into hay that was being transported on the back of another motorist’s vehicle.
The cost in this case was upwards of $10K for just that event. He also feels it is important to note that when he and his men are out taking care of cigarette fires, they cannot respond in a fast way to medical and fire emergencies that may be happening in your towns and communities. Cigarette related fires can be prevented. One way is to “Make The Switch” to an updated non-combustible nicotine delivery system. Save yourself some cash, and save the environment while you are at it!
Story by: Dawn Every