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Children and fire

Children are curious about fire and flames. Some can be so fascinated they’ll put lives, including their own, in danger.

Arson (deliberately starting fires) is a serious problem. If you’re responsible for a child, you’re legally responsible for any illegal actions carried out by that child. So if you think your child may be lighting fires deliberately, you must do something about it.

Our Firesetters scheme helps young people understand and control their feelings and the circumstances that led them to firesetting. At the same time we teach them fire safety awareness. All our advisors are trained professionals employed by Kent Fire and Rescue Service. They normally work in pairs and will provide information, support, advice and training to you and your child.

Advisors can visit you at home if you like, or we can arrange to meet you at a community centre or similar location where the young person feels comfortable. How long the visits last and how many times we meet depends on the circumstances and problems involved – your advisor will discuss this with you.

Call our Firesetters team on 01622 692 121, or email firesetters@kent.fire-uk.org for advice on how to deal with the problem.

Help children stay safe

Every year in the UK around 30 children are killed and more than 900 injured in accidental house fires.

This is often because there’s no smoke alarm, or because no adult is there to help the children and they don’t know what to do.

By taking the safety precautions described in this guide you will be helping to keep your family safe. Young children can be curious about fire and flames, so it’s also important to teach them how dangerous fire can be and how quickly it can get out of hand.

Don’t avoid talking to your children because you don’t want to frighten them. If a fire starts without an adult around, children need to know exactly what to do.

Get them involved with making your escape plan, and practise it regularly to keep it fresh in their minds.

Make sure babysitters or childminders know about your fire escape and where the door and window keys are kept.

Firefighter Fred

If you child has any questions about fire safety, they can send a message to Firefighter Fred, who will give them all the information they need in a friendly and easily understandable way.

Is your home safe for children?

A child can start a fire in moments, if they’re able.

  • Don’t leave children on their own in a room where there’s a fire risk.
  • Keep matches and lighters where children can’t see or reach them.
  • Place candles and tea lights where children can’t reach them.
  • Put a childproof fireguard in front of an open fire or heater.
  • Don’t let children play or leave toys near a fire or heater.
  • Put child locks on cupboards containing anything that could be used to start a fire (for example, matches, candles, flammable liquids and so on).
  • Keep portable heaters in a safe place where they can’t be knocked over when they are being used or stored.
  • Keep your escape route clear of toys and other obstructions.
  • Never leave children alone in the kitchen when you’re cooking, and never let them play near the oven and hob.
  • Consider using plug guards in sockets, so children can’t stick anything into the holes.

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