The North Logan Fire Department offers fire-setting intervention for children whose parents request assistance. Once the initial contact is made by the parent, we will arrange a time to meet, if necessary.

 

The reality is that fire department led intervention is successful only within a very narrow range of individuals. The primary factor driving the effectiveness of the program is the motivating factors behind the fire-setting. That said, for those who qualify within that range, the program has been shown to be over 90% effective.

 

Below is some information about what to expect and what should take place once the initial contact is made.

 

When you come to the fire station for your Juvenile Fire Setting appointment, please plan on spending a couple of hours with us. The firefighters will spend some time getting to know you and your child, and completing a short risk assessment to help determine the extent of your child’s fire play, the factors surrounding their behavior, and the likelihood that the child will continue to play with fire after their intervention. The firefighters will determine a course of action based on their assessment, but it will most likely involve some fire safety lessons, a few short videos, and a workbook to be completed at home. We would like to remind you that this is a non-punitive program. Participation in this program will not be placed on anyone’s permanent record or put a name in a database of offenders of any kind.

Remove all matches and lighters from the home until after your first visit to the fire station. Hiding these items is usually ineffective, so to be safe, get rid of everything until we determine the child’s risk level.

 

Test and inspect all smoke detectors in your home. Smoke detectors are the first line of defense in alerting your family to fire in your home. If your child lights a fire between now and your appointment, we want to be sure that your family can exit the home safely.

 

Do a quick sweep of the house and look for evidence of prior fire play incidents. Singed carpet, spent matches in strange places, burned items in places that the child frequents, missing matches or lighters, and unexplained burns or singed hair are some things to look for.

 

Make sure all of the exits in your home are easy to open and unobstructed.

Make sure all young children in the family know that they need to get outside if there is a fire in the house, and that hiding from fire or firefighters is dangerous.


 

“What is motivating my child to set fires and what should I do about it?”

 

 

Motivation
Children who set fires have several possible motives. Among these are:
• Most children are "Curiosity" fire setters who are driven by an instinctive fascination with fire and a normal desire to learn about and experience the world.
• "Cry for Help" fire setters account for a smaller but significant group. These children light fires as a response to the stress and pressure they are feeling in their lives.
• "Delinquent" fire setters are those that start destructive fires as a form of anti-social behavior. It could as easily have been a rock through the window as a fire for these adolescents.
• "Extreme" fire setters are a very small percentage of children who suffer some form of severe mental illness.

Assessment
A "reasonable person" assessment of the child's general health, their family and school conditions, and how well they have handled other problems, can be used to identify children that require additional assistance.

A child's past success at handling stress, their physical well being, and their self esteem are combined with their physical environment and parental support to produce their level of coping skill. A lack of coping skill can lead to increased stress. Increased stress can lead to reduced inhibitions. Reduced inhibitions can lead to fire play. Fire play can lead to disaster.

Education
• All Juvenile Fire Setters should receive basic fire education.
• "Curiosity" fire setters will gain the most from education.
• "Cry for Help" fire setters whose coping skills are insufficient should be referred to mental health professionals.
• "Delinquent" adolescent fire setters should be referred to the juvenile court system.
• "Extreme" fire setters may require both court and mental health intervention.

Parent Responsibilities
Supervision
• Matches and lighters must be kept out of the reach of children.
• Know where your children are and what they are doing.
• Teach children to be responsible for their decisions and actions.

 

Child Responsibilities
• Matches and lighters are tools and must be treated with respect.
• Fire doesn't discriminate. It will burn everyone and everything it touches.
• People and objects don't "un-burn."
• Big fires start small and move fast.

 

 

 

For assistance with a child that is setting fires, please contact the North Logan Fire Department through one of the following avenues:

 

North Logan Fire Dept.

2005 N 1200 E

North Logan, UT 84341

 

Main: 435-755-5739

Duty Officer (24hr/7days) 435-994-1530

 

 

Fire Marshal Office: 435-755-5739 x15

Fire Marshal Mobile: 801-558-0760

jkillinen@northlogancity.org