Kids can have a burning curiosity: Seattle’s Fire Stoppers program can help

To say 2020 has been a year like no other is an understatement. The pandemic still persists, local businesses are struggling, and so much of our lives remain disrupted.

With the onset of a new school year and most families still largely at home, parents have more to juggle than ever. With so many distractions at hand, don’t let basic safety take a back seat, especially when it comes to matches and lighters in your home.

Supervision, good role modeling, and proper match and lighter storage are some of the best things a parent can do to prevent a child-set fire. Treating matches and lighters with the same respect you give other dangerous tools around the house – knives, hammers, sharp appliances – also goes a long way.

Take a moment to consider the following.

Myth or Reality?

  • It is normal for children to play with fire.
  • If you burn a child’s hand, they will stop.
  • Firesetting is a phase the child will grow out of.
  • Youth firesetters are obsessed with fire.

Maybe not surprisingly, these are all myths. Let’s counter each one:

  • Fact: Curiosity about fire is common, playing with fire is not.
  • Fact: If you burn a child’s hand, you only create fear and scars. The reason behind fire use must be discovered and addressed.
  • Fact: Firesetting in children is not a phase. It is a dangerous behavior. You cannot afford to wait for fire behavior to change. It only takes one match to cause serious injury or death.
  • Fact: Very few children are obsessed with fire or would be considered “pyromaniacs.” There is almost always a reason behind the behavior.

If you experience a child-set fire, the Seattle Fire Department can help. Trained interventionists can meet with you and your child to talk about any incidents and provide educational resources to help prevent firesetting from continuing.

For more information, please call 206-386-1338, email firestoppers@seattle.gov or go to Fire Stoppers on the Seattle Fire website.

Keeping your family safe and well through these uncertain times is critical – please let us know if we can help.