Children and Fire

Teaching Children Fire Safety

Parents are encouraged to teach children at an early age about the dangers of fire play in an effort to prevent injuries, fire and fire setting behavior in the future.

  • Children under five are curious about fire.
  • Children of all ages set fires.
  • Children make up a significant number of fire-related injuries.
  • Many fires that harm children are a result of playing with fire.
  • At home, children usually play with fire in bedrooms, closets and under beds. These are "secret" places where there are a lot of things that catch fire easily.
  • Often, child fire setters are not given proper guidance and supervision by parents and teachers. Consequently, they repeat their fire setting behavior.

Practice Fire Safety in Your Home
  • Supervise young children closely. Do not leave them alone, even for short periods of time.
  • Keep matches and lighters in a secured drawer or cabinet.
  • Have your children tell you when they find matches or lighters.
  • Check under beds and in closets for burned matches, evidence your child may be playing with fire.
  • Develop a home fire escape plan, practice it with your children and designate a meeting place outside. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Teach children the nature of fire. It is FAST, HOT, DARK, and DEADLY!
  • Teach children not to hide from firefighters, but to get out quickly and call for help from another location.
  • Show children how to crawl low on the floor, below the smoke to get out of the house.
  • Teach children to get out of the house and stay out in case of fire.
  • Demonstrate how to stop, drop to the ground, and roll if clothing catches fire.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home.   
  • Familiarize children with the sound of your smoke alarm.
  • Test the smoke alarm each month and replace the battery at least once a year.
  • Replace smoke alarms every ten years, or as recommended by the manufacturer. 

Should you know of a child who you believe is at risk for fire-play or fire-setting, contact our department immediately. We can put parents or guardians in touch with a juvenile fire-setting program. All information remains confidential. Our goal is to protect, not to punish.