LAS VEGAS –
Las Vegas Fire & Rescue cautions families to be extra vigilant this holiday season when it comes to children and potential fire hazards.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, in the United States between the years 2005 to 2009, children playing with matches accounted for an average of 56,300 fires which caused 110 deaths, 880 injuries and $286 million in direct property damage.
Younger children usually were involved with fires inside the home (usually a bedroom) while older children set fires outside. Boys were involved more than girls and lighters were used 50 percent of the time.
Why do children do it? Most of the time, they are just curious or want to experiment with fire. Other times it is a cry for help because of some stressful situation in their life such as family divorce, bullying in school or abuse in the home. Older children usually do it for thrill-seeking. In some children it is from emotional or mental disorders. Lastly, it could be the willful intent to cause destruction.
Youth fire setting is often referred to as the preventable arson. With a little prevention, you can prevent a tragedy from occurring.
– From news release
- Matches and lighters should be treated the same as a gun in the home. They should be locked in place where children can never get to them. Never leave them out in the open or in place where children could retrieve them.
- Matches and lighters are tools that are used by adults. Do not use the word “play” with matches or lighters.
- Use child-resistant lighters, but remember that they are not child-proof.
- Instruct children to inform an adult if they find matches or lighters they should not touch them.
- Parents should never use matches or lighters for fun, especially in front of children. Children will mimic you and when they do unsupervised, tragic events can occur. Be a role model and demonstrate safe practices where fire is involved.