SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Increase in Juvenile Fire Play Concerns Officials


June 27, 2011

(SitNews) - Several recent fire incidents in Alaska caused by juvenile fire play have state fire and law enforcement officials concerned. Alaska State Fire Marshal David Tyler reminds Alaskans that one of the leading causes for child fire fatalities is child fire play. Tyler adds "the Hooper Bay fire in 2006 was one of the most costly fires in the State of Alaska and it was caused by children playing with fire". An increase in these incidents seems to coincide with summer vacation from school.

Curiosity is usually the reason for child fire play, but in some cases there are far more troubling issues going on in a child's life that cause this behavior. There are Juvenile Firesetter Intervention programs in Alaska that can curb this behavior before a devastating fire takes place or another life is lost. The key issue for the success of these programs is early intervention. In many cases child fire play can be stopped by fire safety education instead of putting children through the judicial system. It is important for Alaskans to report incidents of child fire play to local authorities no matter how large or small they may be.

Some tips on preventing child fire play are:

  • Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach, preferably locked up.
  • Teach children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys.
  • Teach children about fire prevention and safety.
  • Do not leave young children unattended for long periods of time.
  • Report any child fire play to your local fire department as soon as possible.

Alaskans can help local authorities keep their communities safe by being aware and reporting any child fire play they see in their community. Parents and care givers need to be aware of what their children are doing at all times. It is important to remember that early intervention is critical to successfully stopping this devastating behavior.

Tyler adds, "Fire safe behavior can keep a fire from starting. Working smoke alarms, planning and practicing your fire escape plan and adding residential fire suppression sprinklers can ensure your family's safety in case of a fire."


Source of News: 

Alaska Division of Fire & Life Safety


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Stories In The News
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