As adults, we often reminisce about our fondest childhood memories and the innocent fun we had as children. Our generation entertained ourselves with activities such as playing outside until it was too dark to see, begging our parents to watch just one more cartoon on a Saturday morning, running door to door gathering all of our friends to play hide and go seek or the all-time favorite of joining our friends by the community pool to laze away the hours on a hot summer day. The youth of the current generation are very different in terms of what they consider to be entertainment. The information age has made video games and social media the "all stars" of the entertainment arena for youth in the present day. As a result, children, including youths, often have difficulty differentiating reality from fantasy which can become deadly when including fire into the equation. Parents should take the generation gap into perspective and find opportunities to discuss with them the dangers of fire and the devastation it can cause in the aftermath.
In 2014 there was a cyber epidemic among teens known as "Take the Fire Challenge". This event challenged children to videotape themselves or others as they lit the flammable liquids they had applied all over their bodies. The videos were then posted online which showed surprise, followed by confusion, and fear as fire caused extreme pain and injury. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was quick to react and developed educational materials for parents to utilize to discuss the danger of this type of action and try to prevent future occurrences. Our awareness of the dangers and benefits of social media is tied to our ability to continue saving lives and property, through fire prevention education and every other life-safety effort we can provide.  The material can be found on the website: http://www.nfpa.org/firechallenge.
According to NFPA online, http://www.nfpa.org, between 2007 and 2011, an average of 49,300 fires involving playing with fire were reported to U/S. municipal fire departments per year. These fires caused an annual average of 80 civilian deaths, 860 civilian injuries and $235 million in property damage. Children were responsible for a vast majority of these incidents.
We, as parents, need to be diligent to teach our children of all ages matches and lighters are tools, not toys! Parents should never use lighters or matches in a playful manner; if your children mimic your playful manner, then tragic events can result.
• Always supervise young children.
• Never leave matches or lighters within reach of children. Keep matches and lighters out of reach in high, locked cabinets.
• Use child-resistant lighters, but remember that they are not childproof.
• Instruct young children to inform an adult if they find matches or lighters.
The WSMR Fire Prevention staff is here to help with any Fire Safety needs that you may have.
Please contact us at one of the following numbers: (575) 678-6986, (575) 678-3585, (575) 678-7866, (575)678-3182 or (575) 678-4020.
 Osmonson, Kathi. "What Are They Thinking?", Speaking of Fire Youth Firesetting – Special Edition, Fire Protection Publications, Oklahoma State University, 2016: 0.
 Campbell, Richard. "Playing With Fire", National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division, March 2014: iii.
 Campbell, Richard. "Playing With Fire", National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division, March 2014: 1.