Curiosity about fire is part of a child’s growth process, which leads children to experimentation.
Fires often happen when children are bored or have inadequate supervision. Firesetting behavior in some children is a way of expressing frustration, abuse, and other emotional needs. The child could also have experienced a life changing event, such as divorce or the loss of a loved one.
Rockingham County Fire & Rescue provides Youth Firesetter Prevention and Intervention programs to help stop this behavior. There is no charge for these services and all information is kept confidential.
Factors influencing firesetting behaviors:
- Easy access to ignition materials (matches, lighters)
- Lack of appropriate supervision
- Lack of fire safety education
- Access to the internet
Types of Firesetters:
- Curiosity/Experimentation: Curious about fire, lack of understanding of consequences and has easy access to ignition materials
- Crisis/Troubled: Child has experienced a recent trauma and is expressing anger, sadness or other emotion
- Thrill-seeking/Risk-taking: Peer influenced or gang involvement, has easy access to ignition materials
- Delinquent/Criminal/Strategic: Child has a motive or willful intent to cause destruction
- Pathological: Child may have a physical or mental disease which causes them to use fire to cope. This child needs treatment in a hospital or residential program.
Who can refer a child?
- Law enforcement agencies
- Social Services
- Courts and Probation offices
- Fire personnel
What are some components of the firesetter program?
- Understanding fire behavior
- Consequences, choices and responsibilities
- Causes and effects of fire
- Fire and life safety
For more information contact 540-564-3175 and ask for the Fire & Life Safety Division