Arson Awareness Week
May 06, 2008
May 4th through May 10th 2008 is "Arson Awareness Week",
and this year's national theme is "Toy Like Lighters: Playing
With Fire". Novelty lighters have become a serious problem
throughout the country because of their toy like appearance.
These lighters mimic common household items as well as children's
toys. Many attract small children with their visual effects,
flashing lights, and sounds. These lighters are not required
to have child safety features like a standard lighter. Novelty
lighters have been responsible for deaths, injuries, and property
loss throughout the United States. Alaska State Fire Marshal
David Tyler joins several other states in an effort to pass legislation
banning the sale of novelty lighters.
Above and beyond the novelty
lighter issue, Alaska is seeing an alarming increase in fires
started by young children playing with matches and lighters.
In Anchorage, a five year old boy lost his life in a fire that
was started when children were playing with a lighter. Three
months later in the village of Alakanuk, a sixty-four year old
man died in a fire started by a four year old playing with a
lighter. Three days later in the village of Wales, a five year
old boy was playing with a lighter and destroyed his home. His
father was injured in the fire.
Tyler said Alaskans need to
step up and protect these precious kids from the devastation
of fire. Young children are curious and don't understand the
destructive potential of fire. Many times they are not supervised
and the matches and lighters are within their reach. The following
safety tips from the State Fire Marshal's Office can help protect
- Teach young children that
fire is a tool, not a toy.
- Keep matches and lighters
out of reach, in high,( ideally ) locked, cabinets.
- Supervise young children.
- Ask young children to tell
you when they find matches and lighters, and put them away.
- Teach older children proper
techniques for using fire and fire tools.
- Praise your child for practicing
responsible behavior and showing respect for fire.
- Set a good example and use
matches, lighters, and fire carefully.
Fire safety should be a community
effort. The following are tips from the State Fire Marshal's
Office that the entire community can support to protect its children.
- Prevent curiosity firesetting
in the first place by providing fire and life safety education
for children throughout the year.
- Organize and coordinate community-based
screening, assessment,and intervention programs.
- Identify and provide for the
child's and family's needs (fire safety education, counseling,
social services, etc.) using community resources.
- Assist parents/caregivers
and all who work with children to better understand children's
involvement with fire, along with when and where to go for help.
- Have a Fire Escape Plan, Practice
it, and Check your smoke alarms. Help us help you!!
The Ketchikan Fire Department
has more information regarding fire safety and emergency preparedness.
You can stop by Station #1 at 319 Main Street or Station #2 (Next
to The Landing) for more information.
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