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NSW Fire Brigades Community Safety Campaign, Kids and fire safety

Published: 1st February 2007

At least 3000 fires annually – or nearly 10 per cent of all fires in NSW – are believed to be started by children.

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Commissioner Greg Mullins said parents who suspected their children were playing with fire should seek help from the NSWFB.

"Unfortunately, some of the children who die or are injured in home fires actually lit the fire themselves," Commissioner Mullins said.

"Don't let the behaviour go unchecked. The next fire the child lights could result in a family tragedy."

The NSWFB runs an Intervention and Fire Awareness Program for children who are playing with fire. Fire Intervention Officers work with families to help them understand the issues, suggest strategies and develop an action plan. The program provides face-to-face and over-the-phone help for families to understand and manage children's fire-starting behaviour.

The NSWFB recommends families:

  • Teach children that fire is a tool not a toy and may be useful when used safely;
  • Keep lighters and matches secure;
  • Watch for evidence of fireplay, such as burns on bedding or clothing, or fire-starting devices in children's pockets;
  • Ensure children are supervised; and
  • Have and maintain smoke alarms, rehearse their escape plan and know how to call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency;