Smile safePub goers across Kent and Medway are being encouraged to ‘Keep smiling after a good night out’ as part of a new fire safety campaign aimed at reducing accidental fires in the home.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has teamed up with brewers Shepherd Neame to promote the message that cooking food after a night of drinking alcohol, either at the pub or at home, is not a good idea.

The campaign has been influenced by the current social game of the FaceMat, which features a series of beer mat cards with different facial expressions that can be placed on the nose to give the user a ‘fun’ expression. On the flip side of the card is the safety message about the dangers of mixing alcohol and cooking, and uses the hashtag #smilesafe.

KFRS Community Safety Manager, Charlie Smith, said: “We want people to consider the consequences of cooking while under the influence of alcohol. Over half of all house fires we attend start in the kitchen. Every year deal with a large number of alcohol and drug related fires, the cause is usually people drinking alcohol and then falling asleep while cooking or smoking.

“The aim of our new campaign is for people to keep their smiles after a good night out, by raising awareness of the risks. The Primary Authority Scheme partnership with Shepherd Neame will really help us to reach as many pub goers as we can.”

Shepherd Neame’s Head of Property Services, Martin Godden said:  “We are delighted to support KFRS in its bid to keep drinkers safe, by distributing promotional beer mats and posters across our tenanted estate.”

There are common misconceptions about house fires. Many people believe that if there is a fire in their home, the smoke will wake them up, however:

  • Just three breaths of fire smoke can knock you unconscious
  • The smell of smoke doesn't wake up you up! The poisonous gases produced by a fire numb the senses and put you into a deeper sleep
  • A child can die from smoke inhalation in less than a minute
  • A household fire doubles in size every thirty seconds           
  • Charlie gave some sound advice: “The simple fact is that if you’ve been drinking, you attempt to cook food and then fall asleep, but a fire breaks out - you're in serious trouble.

"Combine these elements with the effects of alcohol and the chances of escaping from the smoke and flames diminish significantly. Drink affects people mentally and physically, increasing their likelihood of having a fire and slowing their reaction times when one breaks out. Survival is dependent on early detection - which means working smoke alarms."

Charlie has some top tips for people to follow, so they can keep smiling after a good night out:

  • Don't drink and cook - you could fall asleep and cause a devastating fire
  • Buy food on the way back from the pub, rather than attempting to cook when you get home
  • Make sure cigarettes are properly extinguished before you go to sleep 
  • Ensure a working smoke alarm is installed, as this will greatly increase the chances of escaping if fire breaks out in your home
  • Don't drink so much that you cannot take care of yourself, your family or your home
  • Don't drink and drive and take care if walking home.

In the event of a fire, get out of the property, call 999 and ask for fire and stay out