GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith and the Gloucester Fire Department wish to remind the public of safety tips regarding lighters and matches.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, 51% of fires started by children and teens between 2014 and 2018 were caused by matches and lighters.
“Children shouldn’t have access to lighters and matches, and we recommend parents take steps to store fire starting materials, like lighters and matches, out of reach of young kids,” Chief Smith said. “We also encourage parents to have a conversation with children about the dangers of matches, lighters and fire, and set a good example as adults by practicing safe habits when handling them.”
The Gloucester Fire Department is offering the following safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Parents, guardians and caregivers should never allow a child to play with a lighter or matches.
- Store all matches and lighters in places where children cannot reach, in cabinets or containers they cannot open.
- Never leave children under the age of 12 unsupervised.
- Instruct children to tell an adult when they see matches and lighters.
- Teach children never to pick up a lighter or match.
- Install and regularly test a smoke alarm, and make sure its batteries are working.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Plan a fire escape route with everyone in your household, and practice that route a minimum of twice a year.
- If a member of your household smokes, make sure matches and smoking materials are completely extinguished and wet them under a faucet before throwing them away.
- Teach children that fire is dangerous and should not be used by children.
- Set a positive example for children by practicing safe habits using matches, lighters, flammable liquids, etc. yourself.
- When a child is old enough, teach them the correct way to light a match, and do so during a necessary task, like lighting a birthday candle.
- If your child exhibits an excessive attraction to fire, has started a fire or has played with matches and lighters, address these tendencies immediately and explain how dangerous fire is.
For more information, visit www.mass.gov/service-details/prevent-children-from-playing-with-lighters-and-matches.