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Kids and fire safety

Published: 6th February 2006

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Commissioner Greg Mullins is urging parents who suspect that their children are playing with fire to seek help from the NSWFB and avoid a tragedy.

Commissioner Mullins said at least 3000 fires annually, which represents nearly 10 per cent of all fires in NSW, are believed to be started by children.

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

"These tragedies can be avoided. The NSWFBruns the Intervention and Fire Awareness Program which provides face-to-face and over-the-phone help for families to understand and manage children’s fire-starting behaviour.

"If you know or suspect that your child has been playing with fire, seek help immediately by calling the NSWFB toll-free number 1800 600 700.

"Don’t let the behaviour go unchecked. The next fire the child lights could result in a family tragedy,” Commissioner Mullins said.

The NSWFB recommends all families:

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

Under the Intervention and Fire Awareness Program, parents and carers ring a free and confidential service to arrange to talk to Fire Intervention Officers. The officers can also work directly with the families to help them understand the issues, suggest strategies and develop an action plan to help make their home safer. If necessary, the officers will refer families to other appropriate professional assistance.

If you require assistance call 1800 600 700