My son decided to start a fire in his room a few weeks ago. Luckily there was no damage or injuries as a result. As part of the fire prevention program that we are working with him on, we went to the local fire department as a family and had the amazing opportunity to speak with the Fire Captain about fire safety and what happens when people play with fire.
The Fire Captain is referring my son to the Junior Fire Starters Program where he will get a hard look at what happens when kids play with fire. And he has offered my son the ability to join the Junior Explorers Program in a year, after completing the Junior Fire Starters Program and receiving good grades.
The Junior Explorers programs for fire and emergency services is a hands-on program that allows men and women between the ages of 14 and 20 to learn about experiences, opportunities, and community service activities that they can be a part of. These programs are designed to a) help these young adults decide if this is the career path that interests them, and b) to challenge these young adults to become responsible citizens.
Just some of the things Junior Explorers learn include:
- Team Building
- Leadership Skills
- Emergency Response Policies & Procedures
- Emergency Call Protocols
- Personal Skills
- Proper Equipment Usage
What an amazing opportunity for my son! He’s not super thrilled about this right now, but I think it’ll grow on him. As long as he does what he needs to do, he’ll eventually have the opportunity to ride on the fire truck and go out on calls with the fire department! As him mom I know I’ll worry every second about him, but I think that this is something he’d be really great at!!
A few facts about fire/starting fires that I didn’t know:
- Most juvenile fires are started by White males between the ages of five and 18.
- Approximately 50% of fire related crimes are committed by individuals under the age of 18.
- 77% of fire-play fires are started outside.
- 46% of home fires started by playing with fire are started by children five years old or younger.
- 40% of the above home fires are started in the bedroom.
- 97% of fire associated deaths are home structure fires.
I recommend taking all children to the local fire station to speak with the Fire Captain to learn more about fire safety and (especially) reasons not to play with fire. Stop the problem before it ever starts! If you have a child who has played with fire, I recommend asking your local Fire Captain about Junior Fire Starters programs in your local area. These programs are generally free to families (I haven’t found one yet that charges) and can really do a lot of good to help deter a child from continued fire play, and can potentially reduce damages and deaths significantly.