June 07, 2014 03:28
Firefighters were dispatched to a residential fire (13601 NE Halsey) this afternoon. The fire started in the basement on a mattress. Fire crews arrived within minutes to pull the burning debris outside before it could spread to the remainder of the house. This fire was started by a child misusing fire. No one was injured during this incident.
Consider the following when addressing fire behavior concerns with your children:
Keep matches and lighters in a safe place - Access is the number one reason kids play with fire. Keep matches and lighters safely stored, locked up if necessary.
No Secrets - Don't make the storage location a secret. Have kids help determine a safe place and ask for their help in keeping matches and lighters there at all times. Nothing makes a child more curious than a secret.
Set the right example - Kids will do as you do, not do what you say. They will only know how to be as careful with fire as the example you set (that's why most child fire misuse occurs after the July 4th holiday).
Treat matches and lighters like tools - Matches and lighters are dangerous tools that need the same care as things like power saws, sharp knives, and loaded guns. If you store and treat them like dangerous tools, kids will learn to see them as tools.
Teach your child about safety - Many parents say "...my child knows better!" The simple fact is, most kids do not know better because no one has taught them. Schools don't necessarily teach fire safety nor do firefighters. Talk with kids to know what they do know.
Dangerous Firesetting - All firesetting behavior is dangerous, but when a youth begins setting fires in response to their stress or crisis, help is needed quickly. Kids may not realize why they are acting the way they do (asking them why they set a fire will likely result in "I don't know").
Need Help? - If you need help or have questions about this behavior, contact the Youth Firesetting Intervention Program at Portland Fire & Rescue. You can reach a specialist at 503-823-3741.
Photos courtesy of Dick Harris (PFR)