Each year more then 4,000 Americans die and more then 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could have been prevented.
- Children of all ages set over 100,000 fires annually.
- Children make up 20% of all fire deaths
- Over 30% of fires that kill children are set by chldren playing with fire
I was out walking with my son and our dog in the woods behind our home. As we were leaving the area a young 10-year-old boy came running up to me, in tears, screaming "please help us, call the fire department".
When I glanced over to where he had came from I noticed flames shooting from the dry grassy area he and two others had been playing.
I told the boys to leave the area immediately and I ran to call the fire department.
In no time the fire department arrived and extinguished the fire. We were all very lucky. Minimal damage was done. Had this happened when the forest was drier things could have turned out much worse.
Later, when questioned by the firemen, the boys admitted they had been playing with a lighter. They had set a small patch of grass on fire not realizing the consequences of their actions.
In another incident this past spring a wood chip pile at an industrial plant caught on fire - the cause is unknown. Although the fire was contained it came very close to erupting into a huge fire.
Why Do Kids Play with Fire?
Most kids under five are curious about fire. Often what begins as a natural exploration however can lead to tragedy.
Fire is fast. In less then 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. Unfortunately most kids don't think about what could happen.
In some cases, children set fires out of more then curiosity. This group of children are often classified as 'juvenile firesetters', that is, they use fire in a way that is dangerous or not approved by parents.
Be smart - do not play with fire, matches or a lighter. If you spot a fire leave the area immediately, tell an adult and/or contact authorities.
Play Survivor - see if you can escape a burning house.