Recent fires in Gloversville and Johnstown were the result of juvenile fire setting. Far too often, our Glove Citues fire departments battle fires that are started by children. These fires need to be prevented.
One of the leading causes of residential fire deaths and injuries for children younger than the age of 10 is playing with a heat source, such as matches and lighters. Each year, nationwide, hundreds of fires are set by children who are responsible for hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. While curiosity with fire may seem like natural exploration, fires set by children are dangerous and deadly. Fire setting may be a symptom of a problem that is manifested through stress and crisis in children's lives, a cry for help, thrill seeking, a willful intent to cause destruction or by those who suffer from mental or emotional problems. Parents, caregivers and educators must assist with avoiding tragedy by preventing children from starting fires. Ways to help do this include:
Both fire departments offer juvenile intervention education. If assistance is needed for a child who is misusing fire, or if there are questions or concerns, call the Gloversville Fire Department at 725-3124 or Johnstown Fire Department at 736-4079.
BETH WHITMAN-PUTNAM, Gloversville fire chief, and
BRUCE HEBERER, Johnstown fire chief