In 1995 a Juvenile Firesetter’s Intervention Program was developed in response to the many calls in concern for youth curiosity fires and other fire related incidents
The Juvenile Firesetter’s Intervention education is a collaborative curriculum taught by the Fire and Police Departments with the common goal of reducing the number of deaths, burn injuries and property destruction caused by juvenile firesetting. We provide fire safety education, prevention and intervention to children with an interest in fire or explosives, and to those who have been involved in a firesetting incident with or without legal charges. All Staff working with your child have been certified through the National Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Specialist Program.
As a parent, we know you share our concern for the safety of your child, your family and your community. Our goal is to make the necessary resources available to you to end your child’s dangerous fire setting behavior. In situations where the behaviors or concerns appear to be more serious, the program offers a referral for an appropriate behavioral health evaluation with an experienced behavioral health professional.
To enroll your child into the Fire Prevention/Intervention program, please contact the Fire Prevention Office at Rochester Fire Department, (603) 330-7185 or the Juvenile Division Coordinator at Rochester Police Department, (603) 330-7149.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Should I be concerned that my child plays with fire?
A. Yes. It is natural for children to be curious about fire. It is not ok for your child to use it.
Q. Why do children play with fire?
A. Children set fires for many reasons; sometimes they set fires out of curiosity, sometimes out of boredom or to fit in with peers. They also sometimes light fires to seek attention or cry out for help.
Q. My child’s fire was just a small fire, what’s the big deal?
A. All big fires start out small, it is not the size of the fire that matters, but the fire setting actions that need to be of real concern.
Q. If my child sets a fire can he/she be charged with a crime?
A. Yes. In NH a child as young as age 10 can be charged with Arson.
Q. If my child is charged with Arson, will he/she go to jail?
A. Not in every situation, many courts may order your child to complete a juvenile firesetter education program, do community service or pay a fine.
Q. If my child does not complete the Juvenile Firesetter Program, what will happen?
A. If court ordered, your child may be referred back to the court, where new sanctions may be imposed that may include placement.
Q. Is fire setting a phase that the child will grow out of?
A. Fire setting is not a phase. Studies show that fire setting is a progressive behavior and if the child does not receive qualified fire safety education and intervention services, the child will continue to light more fires, and those fires will be more risky, more destructive and could be deadly.
Safety and Fire Prevention tips
- Remove or put out of reach any lighters or fire paraphernalia.
- Talk to children at all ages about fire safety.
- Teach children about “stop-drop-and roll” (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out).
- Discuss with your children what to do in a fire emergency, including where to go with 2 points of exit from their rooms and home and a meeting location.
- Make sure you have working fire alarms in your home- test them regularly so you know if they are working.
- Make sure you have working fire extinguishers and teach children about their use.
- If you use any fire source such as candles or fireplaces in your home, teach children not to touch them and keep all flammable materials away.
- Establish clear rules and consequences about unsupervised and unauthorized uses of fire.
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