Children and Fire:- Identifying and correcting firesetting behavior
Is Child fireplay a problem? The National Fire Protection Agency reports that fires set by young children in the United States annually result in: 95,000 fires. Over 300 deaths 3,000 injuries $300 million in property damage: Is juvenile arson a problem? The FBI Crime Index reports that juvenile and adult arson cause an annual average of 560,000 fires, 750 deaths, 3,700 injuries, and $1.5 billion in property loss. 55% of all arson arrests in the United States are children under 18. Nearly half of these are age 15 and under 6.8% are under age 10. The crime of arson has the highest rate of juvenile involvement.
What can parents do?
Teach young children that fire and fire tools are for grown-ups to use. Keep matches and lighters out of reach in high, ideally locked, cabinets. Ask young children to tell you when they find matches and lighters, and then make sure you put them away.
Teach older children proper techniques for using fire and fire tools – how to safely strike a match or light a candle with supervision. Praise your child for practicing responsible behavior and showing respect for fire. Set a good example – use matches, lighters, and fire carefully.
Fire is dangerous and can be deadly. Even small fires spread quickly. Never leave stove or candle fires unattended. Install and maintain smoke alarms for early warning. Plan and practice a home fire escape.
If you know of a child firesetter in need of assistance or If you want more information about child firesetting and juvenile arson, Contact:
Fire District 6 Public Education Coordinator
8800 NE Hazel Dell Ave Vancouver, WA 98665
Fire District 6 offers a juvenile firesetter intervention program to children. Trained personnel offer a juvenile firesetter intervention program that includes an interview, education and follow-up with the child to help stop firesetting behavior.