Children Playing With Fire

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  • 30,300 public fire departments listed in the Fire Service Inventory (FSI)
  • Playing with Heat Source- including playing with matches, candles, and lighters and bringing combustibles into a heat source Intentional- includes deliberate misuse of heat source or a fire of an incendiary nature Age of Human Factor Person No best way of isolating the overlap Estimates differ depending on methods used, scaling ratios, and allocations of unknowns
  • When does fireplay turn into experimentation or reckless behavior? When does this behavior turn into delinquent behavior?
  • It is suspected that even though child was removed from code, firefighters are more likely to use this code for fires in which children are playing and are using the code for intentional fires to report fires in which adults are “playing” with or misusing fire.
  • In 2003-2006, municipal fire departments responded to an estimated 54,400 fires involving children playing with heat source, annually. More than 3 of every 4 of these fires were outside or other fires. Almost 1 quarter of these fires were structure fires.-Structure fires resulted in the majority of associated civilian deaths, injuries and direct property damage
  • Homes-leading property use involved in structure fires of this nature. 75% of civilian deaths 92% of civilian injuries 79% of direct property damage 2% of home structure fires were caused by playing with heat source 6% of Structure fires in nursery, elementary, middle, junior, and high schools were caused by playing with heat source (31% of school fires were contained trash or rubbish fires)
  • Outside and other fires fell 74% from 1980, 31% from 1995-novelty lighters Structure fires fell 76% from 1980, 58% from 1995 Home structure fires fell 81% from 1980, 57% from 1995
  • Both home structure fires and outside and other fires involving fire-play follow a similar trend, peaking in after school hours, before dinner. More structure fires involving child play occur during the morning hours between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. than do outside and other fires involving child-play. Conversely, more outside and other fires involving child play occur during the hours of 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., than home structure fires.
  • Top 6 leading items firs ignited for children playing with fire home structure fires Trash or rubbish fires were not in the top 6 leading areas for lighter fires, but was for match fires In home structure fires in general and home structure fires involving lighters: Nearly half of all civilian deaths, injuries, and direct property damage were associated with mattress and bedding material fires In home structure fires involving matches, nearly half of civilian deaths and more than one third of injuries and direct property damage were associated with mattress and bedding material fires
  • Top 6 leading area of origins for children playing with fire home structure fires Contained trash or rubbish fires were not in the top 6 leading areas for lighter or match fires In home structure fires, nearly half of civilian deaths and more than half of civilian injuries and direct property damage were associated with fires that began in the bedroom In home structure fire involving lighters, half of civilian deaths(61%), more than half of civilian injuries (73%) and direct property damage (62%) were associated with fires that began in the bedroom In home structure fires involving matches, one quarter
  • The “typical” fatal victim in fires that result from children playing with heat source are 4 years old or younger. The “typical” injured victim in fires that result from children playing with heat source are between the ages of 21-39 (38% of injuries)
  • Children 4 years and younger are more than 7 times more likely to die and almost 3 times as likely to be injured in a fire that was started by children playing with fire than the general public is. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old are more than 2 times more likely to die and almost 2 times as likely to be injured in these fires than the general public is.
  • 85% of reported home structure fires and 99% of associated civilian deaths involving children playing with heat source were started by children 10 years old and younger. This graph shows a breakdown for child play fires by age of the person starting the fire.
  • 50% of people who start reported fires by playing are 5 years old and younger 63% of all fatal victims of fires by playing are children 5 year old and younger
  • According to US Fire Administration Passed states: Washington Oregon Nevada Arkansas Louisiana Tennessee North Carolina Virginia Maine Introduced: Utah Kansas Michigan Pennsylvania New York South Carolina 14 failed CA AZ TX Ok IL KY Mississippi AL GA FL CT VT
  • Children Playing With Fire

    1. 1. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE Northeast Juvenile Firesetting Task Force November 19, 2009 Prepared by: Jennifer D. Flynn Given by: Marty Ahrens
    2. 2. PRESENTATION OVERVIEW <ul><li>NFPA’s Data Sources </li></ul><ul><li>Terminology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fireplay vs. Firesetting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition of Child </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NFPA’s Method for Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>The Stats </li></ul><ul><li>What’s being done about it? </li></ul>
    3. 3. NFPA’S DATA SOURCES <ul><li>NFIRS Version 5.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incident Based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collected by Firefighters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compiled by USFA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NFPA Annual Survey </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sample Survey </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. VARIABLES CAPTURED IN NFIRS
    5. 5. <ul><li>Fireplay </li></ul><ul><li>Level of intent: Low </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of malice </li></ul><ul><li>Firesetting </li></ul><ul><li>Level of intent: decidedly higher </li></ul>FIREPLAY VS. FIRESETTING Nuance between terms blends line between behavior that is rooted in curiosity and behavior that is delinquent Playing with Heat Source Intentional
    6. 6. TERMINOLOGY: CHILD <ul><li>Under 18? </li></ul><ul><li>Under 15? </li></ul><ul><li>Under 10? </li></ul>
    7. 7. HOW NFPA ANALYZES THE ISSUE <ul><li>Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Age does not have to be a factor for reporting these fires </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fires are underestimated if we limit analysis by age of firesetter, due to underreporting of this information in NFIRS </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. THE STATS ON CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE
    9. 9. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE 2003-2006 National Estimates Source: NFIRS 5.0 and NFPA Survey Fires Civilian Deaths Civilian Injuries Direct Property Damage (in Millions) Structure 12,400 (23%) 171 (98%) 867 (88%) $281 (98%) Vehicle 900 (2%) 3 (2%) 19 (2%) $3 (1%) Outside and Other 41,100 (76%) 1 (1%) 96 (10%) $3 (1%) Total 54,400 (100%) 175 (100%) 982 (100%) $287 (100%)
    10. 10. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE STRUCTURE FIRES BY PROPERTY TYPE
    11. 11. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE TRENDS FROM 1980-2006 1995-1 st full year of child resistant lighters
    12. 12. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE HOME STRUCTURE VS. OUTSIDE AND OTHER FIRES <ul><li>28% occur in June, July, and August </li></ul><ul><li>29% occur on weekend </li></ul><ul><li>Peak during after school hours, before dinner </li></ul><ul><li>25% occur in July </li></ul><ul><li>34% occur on weekend </li></ul><ul><li>Peak during after school hours, before dinner </li></ul><ul><li>Home Structure Fires </li></ul><ul><li>Outside and Other Fires </li></ul>
    13. 13. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE HOME STRUCTURE VS. OUTSIDE AND OTHER FIRES
    14. 14. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE CONTAINED TRASH OR RUBBISH FIRES <ul><li>NFIRS Version 5.0 has special coding rules for “confined or contained fires” </li></ul><ul><li>In 2003-2006, municipal fire departments responded to an estimated 900 contained home trash or rubbish fires. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>11% of all home structure fires involving child play </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1% of civilian injuries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No reported deaths </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One-third of school child-play structure fires </li></ul>
    15. 15. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE LEADING HEAT SOURCES IN HOME STRUCTURE FIRES
    16. 16. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE: HEAT SOURCES IN JULY OUTSIDE AND OTHER FIRES
    17. 17. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE LEADING ITEMS FIRST IGNITED IN HOME STRUCTURE FIRES
    18. 18. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE LEADING AREA OF ORIGIN IN HOME STRUCTURE FIRES
    19. 19. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE VICTIM CHARACTERISTICS IN HOME STRUCTURE FIRES
    20. 20. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE RISK OF DEATH OR INJURY IN HOME STRUCTURE FIRES
    21. 21. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE CHARACTERISTICS OF STARTER IN HOME STRUCTURE FIRES
    22. 22. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE CHARACTERISTICS OF STARTER IN HOME STRUCTURE FIRES
    23. 23. CHILDREN PLAYING WITH FIRE CIVILIAN DEATHS BY AGE OF FIRESETTER AND VICTIMS IN HOME STRUCTURE FIRES <ul><li>% of child playing fires by age of firesetter </li></ul><ul><li>% of civilian deaths by age of firesetter </li></ul><ul><li>% of civilian deaths by age of victim </li></ul>
    24. 24. WHAT’S BEING DONE ABOUT IT? <ul><li>Educational Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Public Service Announcements </li></ul><ul><li>Research on firesetting behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Child-resistant lighter legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Novelty light legislation </li></ul>
    25. 25. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS <ul><li>Learn Not to Burn ® Preschool Program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stresses positive, practical fire safety behaviors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multidisciplinary approach to reduce fire deaths and injuries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus: children ages 3 to 5 years old </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS <ul><li>PSA to teach preschoolers to tell grown-ups if they see matches or lighters </li></ul><ul><li>Effective strategies need to focus on curriculum, where kids interact with adults </li></ul>
    27. 27. RESEARCH ON FIRESETTING BEHAVIOR <ul><li>Studies demonstrate many young children who start fires may be in crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Age, gender, family type, and socioeconomic status are correlated with firesetting behavior </li></ul>
    28. 28. CHILD-RESISTANT LIGHTER LEGISLATION <ul><li>Consumer Product Safety Commission set mandatory standards in 1994 </li></ul><ul><li>Lighters must resist the efforts of 85% of the children to operate them in a specific test </li></ul><ul><li>More than 95% of the estimated half-billion lighters purchased annually in the U.S. are covered by this standard </li></ul>
    29. 29. NOVELTY LIGHTER LEGISLATION <ul><li>New descriptor code added to NFIRS in 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>As of October 2009, 9 states have passed and 6 have introduced legislation </li></ul>
    30. 30. IN SUMMARY <ul><li>There are several approaches to analyzing the issue, no one best way </li></ul><ul><li>Playing with heat source fires are on the decline, but there’s more work to be done </li></ul>
    31. 31. CONTACT INFO <ul><li>Jennifer D. Flynn </li></ul><ul><li>Research Analyst, NFPA </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>617-984-7477 </li></ul>

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