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    Child Sets LB Apt. Unit On Fire With Lighter; LBFD Stresses Safety Lessons For Kids & Adults

    (December 29, 2005) -- LBFD Battalion Chief/Public Information Officer Jeff Reeb provides the photos and info on this page to remind adults of what can happen in just moments when unattended children have access to matches and lighters.
    LBFD Photo, Battalion Chief/PIO Jeff Reeb

    What you see above is the aftermath of a Dec. 28 fire in a one-bedroom apartment in the 500 block of W. Third St. LBFD says a mother and her five year old son were displaced from their home when the young boy ignited closet contents with a cigarette lighter. Fortunately, the apartment had a functioning smoke detector which alerted the sleeping parent who took the child and escaped the flames

    Battalion Chief/PIO Reeb stresses that to keep your child safe, and to protect your home, practice the following prevention tips:

    • Step One: Explain The Properties Of Fire. Fire is a natural force like the wind or rain; we use it in our everyday lives. It can be a helpful force or a hurtful force. If we follow the rules, it is helpful, when we break the rules it can hurt us.

    • Step Two: Control Your Child's Access To The Hazard. Somehow homes tend to fill up with promotional matches and lighters. You must do a household sweep and find every pack and clicker. Store a small quantity that you can control in a secure spot. When you have small children treat matches like a loaded weapon. You would not leave a handgun in your silverware drawer, do not place matches there.

      Explain to your children that matches (lighters) are tools like any other tool in the home. As with a sharp knife, they are for adult use only.

      Always, always, have an adult present when open flames are present. Candles, fireplaces and backyard BBQs create wonderful memories. Keep it that way by never turning your back or leaving the area when flames are present.

      Watch what your children watch. As with other inappropriate content, correct misrepresentations of fire or careless acts portrayed in the popular media.

    • Step Three: Set A Good Example:

      Cooking: Set a good example by following the common sense rules. Have your child assist with placing hot pads, setting timers, and seeing the effects of heat on food.

      Campfires: Engage your child in clearing the space around the fire ring, gathering wood, rolling the paper, and placing the kindling. Have a bucket of water nearby and explain how it used to extinguish embers and brands, or even a persons clothing if an accident occurred.

      Candles: When ever you strike a match or a lighter follow the safety procedures. Close the book, dip the spent match in a cup of water or hold it until you can break it in two. Seat candles firmly in bases, and set them with at least one foot of clearance from combustible items.

    Battalion Chief/PIO Reeb adds, "Remember curiosity is a natural part of childhood. Satisfy your child’s curiosity about fire in a constructive manner. Their life may depend on it."

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