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SFMO: “Fire Challenge” Poses Health, Safety Threat to Young People

Department Offers Tips To Adults on Improving Fire Safety For Children
Friday, October 11, 2019 | 09:04am

NASHVILLE – As national news outlets report another young person being severely injured while taking a so-called “fire challenge”, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is reminding Tennessee parents, children, and educators that dousing yourself (or others) in a flammable liquid and then setting that liquid on fire carries potentially tragic and possible criminal consequences for all involved.

Since 2012, there have been several incidents of children sustaining severe burns after participating in so-called “fire challenges.” (The SFMO does not have any information about similar incidents occurring in Tennessee.) Participants douse themselves in rubbing alcohol or another accelerant before being lit on fire. The stunt is recorded and later posted to a social media site. Last week, a Michigan boy sustained second-degree burns after reportedly being lit on fire after being doused with a flammable liquid.

In addition to the obvious health risks, this harmful and dangerous activity could also be considered criminal as participants might also be charged by police.

“While today’s young people might seem savvy when it comes to the latest technology, social media, and video games, adults must remember that our children are still highly impressionable and can make choices that have harmful and dangerous consequences,” said State Fire Marshal and Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “We encourage parents to have early conversations with their children about the uses and dangers of fire. Teach them that fire is never something to ever be taken lightly.”

The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office shares the following fire safety tips for adults who have children at home:

  • Supervise children closely. Many accidental fires happen when young children are left alone, even for a short period of time.
  • Ask questions about what your child is watching. Be active and aware.
  • Set clear rules and consequences about fire misuse.
  • Keep flammable liquids as well as matches and lighters out of the reach of children. Remember, child-resistant does not mean child-proof.
  • Never use lighters, matches, or accelerants as a source of amusement for children; they may try to do the same.
  • If you’re a young person and you know about someone who is thinking about participating in a fire challenge, tell an adult immediately. Remember: See something, say something.