Fire Fighters and educators agree that the best way to fight fires and save lives is with fire education. The Fire Prevention Bureau does just that for local children.

Every day Americans experience the tragedy of fire. The Cuyahoga Falls Fire Department encourages parents to teach children at an early age about the dangers of fire in an effort to prevent child injuries, fire deaths and fire-setting behavior in the future. In an average year the CFFD provides training to over 6,000 children  through classroom education in the schools, summer programs, and community events. The following information provides an overview on ways to control children's access to fire and how to talk with your child about the dangers of fire.

Control Children's Access

Children as young as two have the capability of lighting matches. That is just one example as to why it is important to follow these tips with young ones in the home:

  • Keep all matches and lighters out of the hands of children, ideally in locked drawers. Purchase "child-proof" lighters, but continue to utilize cautious storage techniques.
  • DO NOT leave children unattended for any amount of time near open flames including operating stoves and burning candles.
  • Teach children tell an adult immediately if they find matches or lighters.
  • Initiate a "do-not-touch" policy when coming across matches or lighters.

Curious Kids Set Fires

Children under five are curious about fire and children of all ages set over 100,000 fires annually in the United States. Often what begins as a natural exploration of the unknown can lead to tragedy. Children make up between 20% - 25% of all fire deaths and more than 30% of the fires that kill children are set by children playing with fire. At home, children usually play with fire in bedrooms, in closets and under beds. These are "secret" places where there are a lot of things that catch fire easily. Too often, child fire-setters are not given proper guidance and supervision by parents and teachers. Consequently, they repeat their fire-setting behavior.

Warning Signs

Kids may be experimenting with fire if you notice:

  • Evidence of fire play, such as burned matches, clothes, paper, toys, etc., or if you smell smoke in hair or clothes.
  • Inappropriate interest in firefighters and/or fire trucks, such as frequent, improper calls to the fire department or 9-1-1.
  • Child asks or tries to light cigarettes or candles for you or other adults.
  • Matches or lighters in their pockets or rooms.

Channel Curiosity

Turn kids' interest into safe outcomes:

  • Talk to your child or students in a calm, assured manner about fire safety.
  • Consider visiting a fire station if children are very interested in fire fighting and/or fire trucks. Have the firefighter talk about his/her job and the dangers of fire. Appointments may be made by calling (330) 971-8400.
  • Parents or guardians are encouraged to create opportunities for learning about fire safety at home. For example, when you cook, let your child get the pot holder for you; when you use the fireplace, let your child bring you the wood or tools; and if you use candles, let the child check to make sure the candle holder fits snugly.

Playing with Fire

If you suspect or see your child playing with fire, talk immediately about his or her actions. Explain again that fire is a tool for use only by adults, and that it is very dangerous for children.

Juvenile Firestoppers Program

The Juvenile Firestoppers Program, run by Children’s’ Hospital of Akron, is designed to address children who have a fixation with fire. The program is designed to review the child’s behavior and determine a proper course of action. Visit Juvenile Fire Stoppers at

Practice Fire Safety in Your Home

The best way for your child to stay safe is to learn fire safety with a trusted adult. Here are a few ways to bring fire prevention into your home:

  • Develop a home fire escape plan, practice it with your children and designate a meeting place outside.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level in your home and in all bedrooms.
  • Familiarize children with the sound of your smoke alarm.
  • Test the smoke alarm each month and replace the battery at least once a year.
  • Replace the smoke alarm every 10 years, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Supervise young children closely. Do not leave them alone even for short periods of time.
  • Keep matches and lighters in a secured drawer or cabinet.
  • Have your children tell you when they find matches and lighters.
  • Check under beds and in closets for burned matches or paper. This would indicate that your child is playing with fire.
  • Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Teach children the nature of fire. It is FAST, HOT, DARK and DEADLY!
  • Teach children not to hide from firefighters, but to get out quickly and call for help from another location.
  • Show children how to crawl low on the floor, below the smoke, to get out of the house and stay out in the case of fire.
  • Demonstrate how to stop, drop to the ground and roll if their clothes catch fire.

Fire Prevention Education

The City of Cuyahoga Falls offers several ways to teach the children of our community about the need for fire safety. Please consider having your child participate in educational programming including Safety Town and the Fire Safety House.

Fire Safety House

Children spend time in the Fire Safety House to learn home fire safety and escape. The Fire Safety House allows fire safety professionals the opportunity to illustrate various home hazards in a realistic environment. Children learn that fire fighters are their friends and that they should not be afraid of the masked figures they may see in a real fire situation.

Safety Town

This five-day event engages children enrolling in Kindergarten in a conversation with fire fighters about fire prevention. Plus, there is a lot of fun to be had! Sign up your child for this year's Safety Town!