by Pam Zubeck
While most kids are at day camps, movies, shopping or bowling during their spring break, some look for activities with a little more flash — and that could be dangerous for everyone.
Colorado Springs firefighters often see a spike in fires set by juveniles during spring break. Just last week the department put out three very damaging fires that were set by young children playing with lighters. The result was three families displaced and their homes uninhabitable, the department says in a press release.
So, waste no time in sitting the little urchins down and telling them a thing or two about fire safety, Springs firefighters say. And don't forget to do your part as an adult by keeping matches and lighters out of the reach of kids.
Here are a few sobering facts about local juvenile fire-setting:
· Between 2006 and 2010, more than 800 children between the ages of 3 and 17, have been referred to the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s Juvenile Firesetter Intervention program.
· Last year, 192 children were referred to the program, 25% increase from 2009.
· During the past five years, 274 fires have been set by juveniles here, resulting in an estimated $1 million in property loss.
· Statistically, for every reported fire set by a child, 10 additional fires are set by kids but are never reported.
Still not convinced? Here's another sad statistic. Nationally, a third of all children killed in fires die as a result of a fire they started.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department offers a free educational program to the community for those children who may show an interest in fire or fireplay. The program focuses on teaching children about the dangers and consequences of firesetting in addition to lessons in decision making, peer pressure, goal-setting and being role models for our community.
For more information about juvenile firesetting or the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s intervention program for children, please contact Brianna Goodwin at 385-7376.