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With cooler weather approaching and fun fall activities taking place, the Douglas Fire Department would like to remind parents and children of some fire safety tips. Young children, preschool age and kindergartners, are more likely to start fires by playing with matches or lighters.
Parents should educate young children because young children are naturally curious about fire. Young children who start fires by playing with matches and/or lighters are more likely to die in the fire. Young children are more likely to start fires inside the home, while teenagers are more likely to start a fire outside.
The following tips are offered from the Douglas Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Keep fire out of the hands of children. Parents should have clear rules and consequences for children who play with fire. Store matches and lighters in areas that are hard to reach for children or in a locked cabinet or container. Never leave matches or lighters in an area that is easily accessible to unsupervised children. Teach young children that fire can hurt them and that fire is hard to control. Discourage unsupervised fire starts and never assign a young child any tasks that involve the use of a lighter or match such as lighting candles or bringing a lighter to start a fire. Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement; they may imitate you. Use lighters that have child resistant features, but, remember child resistant does not mean child-proof. A child with an interest in fire can lead to fire starting and result in repeated fire setting behavior.
If a child expresses curiosity about fire or has been playing with fire, calmly but firmly tell the child that lighters and matches are for adults only. If you suspect your child is intentionally setting fires or unusually fascinated with fire, get help. Your local fire department, school, or community counseling agency can put you in touch with trained experts who know how to teach children about fire in an appropriate way. For more information, please call the Douglas Fire Department at 912-384-4815, www.cityofdouglas.com/fire, or visit www.nfpa.org.