An open letter form the Chief Fire Marshal of Burlington County Robert Carr
Like you, all of us at Phoenix are concerned about children learning fire safety. Through public awareness, education and counseling, children can be taught not to play with fire or use it intentionally for destructive purposes.
Child and adolescent firesetting is an old problem that, until recently, has not been properly addressed. I urge you to take action. Learn how to make your home safe from fire with simple, proven techniques. You can learn these techniques from your local fire department or by contacting Phoenix at 609-702-7156
I especially urge my fellow firefighters around the country to live up to our pledge to serve and protect our individual communities. Help bring the fire-safety message to our citizens. Together, we can make a difference.
THE TELLTALE SIGNS OF RECURRENT FIRE SETTING BY CHILDREN
1. Fires of unknown orign found in your home
2. Small burn-holes incarpets, chared paper in sinks or wastebasket
3. Matches or lighters hidden in you child's closet or his or her bed.
4. An unusual fascination with fires and burning buildings that comes up in the child's conversation
Don't let any of these behaviors go unchecked. Children who play with fire are more likely to continue this behavior as adults.
WHAT IS CHILD AND ADOLESCENT FIRE SETTING?
Each year, thousands of deadly fire are started by children. Most of these fires could have been prevented if parents had been better informed about the hazards of leaving cigarette lighters and matches within the reach of young children. Sadly some of the deadliest fire are not started accidently, but intentionally by troubled adolescents. Such tragedies can be prevented through a program including family education, fire-safety awareness and counciling reguarding juvenile fire play.
No single group is more familiar with the problem of child and adolecent fire setting than our nation's firefighters. They witness the ulgy results of deadly fires every day. They see how most fires could have been prevented.
WHY DO CHILDREN SET FIRES ?
Children are naturally curious about fire. Indeed, most are fascinated by it. They find a pack of matches or a lighter and, through imitation or experimentation bring about a tragedy.
Other children may start fires intentionally. Many experts believe that this group sets fires because they experiencing some sort of emotional strain--perhaps a divorce, an impending move, or a death in the family.
More often than not, these children intentionally set fires more than once. But no matter what circumstances cause children to set fires, the results can be tragic.