Arson Awareness Week is May 4-10, 2008

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The 2008 Arson Awareness Week campaign will be observed from May 4-10. This year’s theme is “Toylike Lighters – Playing with Fire.” Toylike or novelty lighters have been responsible for injuries, deaths, and accidents across the nation. Some local and state governments are taking action by banning their sale and limiting distribution. Children are attracted to novelty lighters because they look like toys.

This mistake has proven to be deadly. On September 25, 2007, 15-month-old Peyton Edwards and 2-year-old Breydon Edwards of Russellville, AR, died after setting fire to their apartment with a motorcycle-shaped lighter.

Children are not the only ones fooled by novelty lighters. Beaverton, MI, resident Laura Fowler purchased a novelty lighter for her 4-year-old child after mistaking it for a toy. In 2006, a South Carolina woman shot herself in the hand while attempting to light a cigarette with what she thought was a pistol-shaped novelty lighter.

Arson Awareness Week offers an opportunity for Fire Corps members to focus on the issue of toy-like lighters. Fire Corps members can play a critical role in teaching the difference between tools and toys, not only to children, but to parents as well. Educate parents on the difficulty children have in deciphering a novelty lighter from a toy and how they can take preventative measures by ridding their household of such items. Fire Corps members may also choose to advocate for the ban of novelty lighters in their region or state. Use Arson Awareness Week to launch your Fire Corps program’s efforts to help prevent tragedies and make our homes and communities safer.

Visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s web site at for more information.

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