August 2021: Youth Firesetting Prevention Month

WHEREAS, according to the National Fire Protection Association, municipal fire departments responded to an average of 8,100 structure fires caused by playing with fire each year between 2014-2018. These fires caused an estimated 55 civilian deaths, 450 civilian injuries, and $112 million in direct property damage each year; and,

WHEREAS, youth firesetting has been identified as a leading cause of fire-related deaths in children by the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention and is vastly underreported; and, 

WHEREAS, children under 18 years old account for nearly 50% of arson arrests in the United States; and,

WHEREAS, half of home playing structure fires (52%) were started by cigarette lighters, 18% by matches, and 5% by candles; and,

WHEREAS, the bedroom was the most common area of origin for these fires; 39% of home fires involving play began in the bedroom, and these fires were responsible for about 54% of deaths and 57% of injuries; and,

WHEREAS, 43% of home structure fires involving play were started by a child under the age of six, while 39% of outside or unclassified fires involved children in the 10 to 12 age group; and,

WHEREAS, Community Risk Reduction (CRR) is a data-informed process to identify and prioritize local risks, followed by an integrated and strategic investment of resources to reduce their occurrence and impact; and,

WHEREAS, the community support from local, state, MI Prevention partners, and national partners to address community risks is recognized as invaluable to meeting the demands of fire, EMS, police, school systems, counselors, and community agencies across Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, the goal of MI Prevention's efforts is to reduce the occurrence and impact of youth firesetting through strong education with Michigan community agency collaboration and emergency responders, deliberate action, developing regional teams to unify actions plans and communication, and implementing a mainstream system for Michigan youths towards education in fire misuse;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim August 2021, as Youth Firesetting Prevention Month in Michigan.