Arson Awareness Week highlights dangers of children and fire - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Arson Awareness Week highlights dangers of children and fire

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

All this week Las Vegas and the entire country are promoting Arson Awareness Week. Juveniles in the U.S. accounted for almost 50 percent of arson arrests between 2005 and 2010, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Preventing youth fire setting is the theme for 2013, which covers children playing with matches and lighters. Tim Szymanski with the Las Vegas Fire Department says kids are curious and you've got to teach them the dangers early.

"Parents should treat lighters and matches just like they do a loaded gun," said Szymanski. "They just shouldn't be anywhere that a child can get to them."

Szymanski said using child-resistant lighters helps, but parents should realize they are not child proof. The older the child, the less effective child-proofing becomes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, children playing with matches accounted for an average of more than 56,000 fires which caused 110 deaths, 880 injuries and $286 million in property damage. Those figures are nationwide from 2005 to 2009.

On this awareness week fire experts remind parents they should never use matches or lighters for fun, especially in front of children. Children often mimic the behavior of adults around them, which can lead to tragic events.

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