August 13, 2014
Valdosta, GA - The Valdosta Fire Department is teaming-up with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Phoenix Society to warn Valdosta citizens of the dangers associated with the “Fire Challenge” trend on social media outlets. The dangerous challenge involves teens pouring a flammable liquid, such as a hand sanitizer, nail polish remover, or rubbing alcohol on their chests, and then setting them on fire.
"We do our jobs every day trying to make sure we keep people safe, and for people to intentionally light themselves on fire, whether it's a game or a challenge, is crazy to us", says Captain Carl Smith, of the Valdosta Fire Department.
The Valdosta Fire Department says they are lucky to have no "Fire Challenge" cases reported locally, but with kids headed back-to-school, where they could potentially share their ideas or their videos, they hope to keep it that way.
Wednesday, the VFD held a demonstration to show the damage "The Fire Challenge" can have on your body.
"It's hard to see the flames, but the alcohol base, that's in a lot of these products, is what's actually causing the fire, and without the people around you being able to see you're on fire, they may not be able to assist you, they may not even know you're on fire", says Smith.
The Valdosta Fire Department says not only can the flames spread to clothing, or curtains, or even a pilot light, which could cause a major fire, but the damage these fumes do to the body can be life-threatening.
"It can go in and effect your airway, causing it to constrict, and close, and then you just basically go unresponsive, and it's hard for EMTs to intubate you or save you, or anything", says EMT, Sergeant Doug Bennett.
The Valdosta Fire Department also says they will be working with police to make sure no "Fire Challenges" are filmed locally. Anyone caught could face multiple charges.