Did you know that 54% of all arson arrests in the United States are children under the age of 18?
|Whether it’s a young child who is curious about fire or a teenager imitating something seen online, these behaviors are risky and may be deadly.
Children and teens do not understand the power of fire and can quickly find themselves in a dangerous situation.
Parents and caregivers should NEVER dismiss misuse of fire as “simple curiosity” or “kids being kids”. This type of behavior will likely continue and tends to escalate to larger and more serious fires. As a parent, YOU can be held financially responsible for any property damage or injuries caused by your child’s actions.
For young children:
- Teach them that matches and lighters are dangerous, and set clear rules that they are tools to be used by adults only, NEVER toys to be used by children.
- Teach them to tell an adult if they find matches or lighters, or see another child with them. This is one situation when “tattling” is ok.
- Teach them that they may be cited with a criminal offense for causing a fire and that their actions can have serious legal, financial, and emotional consequences.
- Monitor the internet sites your child visits.
- Check their bedroom and backpacks for matches, lighters, flammable liquids, fireworks, and other items that could be used to start a fire.
If you have a child or teen who is fascinated by fire or has misused fire, even once, contact your local fire department for assistance. We can provide a risk assessment intervention, fire safety education, referral to additional resources, and help you keep your family safe.
If you live within the boundaries of the City of Bend or Deschutes Rural Fire Protection District #2, please call the Bend Fire Department at 541-322-6309 to request assistance.
Example from Eugene Oregon on what Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Programs are like for kids who misuse fire and how the program not only holds kids accountable but helps prevent future fires. Click here for the link to the Jefferson Public Radio article from August 2015.