Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service can help if you know any children or young people who have a potentially dangerous fascination with fire.
Our SAFE (Fire Setters) programme is designed to nip these behaviours in the bud.
Even if they do not display any fire-setting behaviour, many children may have a natural curiosity about fire – the glow from a real flame, blowing out their birthday candles, or even watching an adult light a cigarette. It is not uncommon for children as young as two to show an interest in fire.
However, for some young people this interest develops into something more dangerous.
Without help and guidance, fire-setting behaviours can become increasingly serious and lead to injury, damage to property and tragically, death.
Anyone wishing to have a SAFE referral carried out with a child can call 0800 731 5958.
Warning signs - things to look out for:
- Small burn holes in carpets, beds and / or furniture
- Charred paper in sinks or wastebaskets
- Matches or lighters hidden in your child’s bedroom, i.e. cupboards, drawers, under the bed
- An unusual fascination with fire
- Unexplained fires in and around your home
Early recognition and confrontation of this behaviour through a Fire Setters referral can ensure it does not continue into adulthood.
Advice for parents / carers:
- Make sure matches are stored out of sight and out of reach of children and young people, even for short periods of time
- Search for lighters and / or matches in bedrooms and school bags
- Keep outbuildings, garden sheds and garages locked to prevent access to flammable items
- Explain to the child or young person that fire is a tool, not a toy
- Explain to children that fires can hurt and kill
- Make sure the home is fitted with smoke alarms. A smoke alarm will quickly alert you to any fire setting activity
- Make a home fire safety plan with your family and practise it