I would appreciate a response from your office that you have received this email and your intentions to support this bill. A similar bill [SB30] was passed by the Senate a few weeks ago on a voice vote.
Ronald J. Naab
Badger Firefighters Association
“To: Representatives of the Wisconsin Assembly
From: Fire Chief Gerald Minor – Pittsville Fire Company
Ref: AB 36 Novelty Lighter
Date: January 28, 2016
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Approximately eight years ago a group of second graders in my community came to me after a classmate of theirs died in a house fire – a fire started by a lighter. That fall the Weekly Reader came out with a story on Novelty Lighters – the lighters that look like toys and other objects and are very attractive to children. They asked me to make a law in Wisconsin so children could not get access to these dangerous lighters. We have been working on this legislation for all of these years. With the help of Representative Scott Krug (AB 36) and Senator Julie Lassa (SB 30) we are very close to this becoming reality.
I along with students from that original second grade class have traveled to Madison several times and testified in front of a variety of State committees to make this happen. These students are now freshmen in high school and are still working on this project – they are extremely dedicated to this cause. At present seventeen other States have enacted similar legislation.
Many fire and EMS organizations in Wisconsin have gone on record over these years to show the overwhelming support for this legislation. Those organizations that represent thousands of individuals in your home districts include: Wisconsin Fire Chiefs Association, Wisconsin Firefighters Association, Wisconsin EMS Association, Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin, , Wisconsin Fire Instructors Association, Wisconsin Fire Inspectors Association, Wisconsin Fire Investigators Association, the City of Milwaukee, Badger Firefighters Association, Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Fire Chiefs Education Association, to name just a few.
Several Health and Child Safety organizations, associations and corporations in Wisconsin have also come forward with massive support. They include Children’s Hospitals of Wisconsin, Columbia St. Mary’s, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Ministry Health Care, Safe Kids Wisconsin, Emergency Nurses Association, UW Health & American Family Children’s Hospital, Aurora Health Care Inc., Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Wisconsin Medical Society. The National Lighter Association Inc. has also supported this legislation by stating “there was absolutely no reason to distribute lighters that resemble toys and are potentially attractive to children”. Letter on file with Senator Lassa.
SB 30 (Novelty Lighter) was unanimously supported by the Senate and sent forward – AB 36 is a “mirror bill” that now awaits your vote. Representative Scott Krug will be discussing this very critical legislation in an upcoming caucus – attempting to move it to your floor for a vote very soon. This very simple legislation has but one purpose – TO SAVE LIVES. We in the fire service have been teaching children for decades that lighters are not toys – however the Novelty Lighter resembles a toy and is nothing but attractive to children (see attached photo) – there are also no safety devices connected to them. We are only asking to ban the sale of the lighters to anyone under the age of 18.Vendors must then display them in an area away from children where they must be age validated to sell – similar to cigarettes and alcohol. This ban will not effect the “bottom line” of any retailer.
According to documentation collected from the National Incident Fire Reporting System (NIFRS) In Wisconsin the lighter has been the number one cause of fires started between the ages of 1 to 18 for the past five years. Fire and EMS agencies want nothing more than to reduce those statistics. See attached Children’s Fact sheet from the US Fire Administration.
Saving Lives and protecting property is our business but quite often we need the help of many to make that happen – this includes parents, teachers and most definitely our legislators. I am asking for your support of Representative Krug’s AB 36 as it is currently written – you will make a difference in Wisconsin. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or Chief David Bloom (608-210-7261) Town of Madison Fire Chief – Legislative Liaison for the Wisconsin Fire Chiefs Association.