Child Firesetter Program
Each year, many fires are started by children ages 3-7 who are merely curious about fire. Children tell us that they set many “small” or other fires before the fire that brings them to the attention of authorities. Whether a child is merely curious about fire, making a cry for help or engaging in delinquent behavior, it is extremely dangerous for children to play with fire.
Children who play with fire can be helped, but they must receive the right kind of help. It is not a phase that they will grow out of, it is not a matter of boys being boys or yelling at them or burning their fingers or other such methods. The reason a child plays with fire must be addressed. Each child must be evaluated and given the correct intervention treatment program. Treatment programs vary, typically containing one or more of the following components: education, psychological treatment or community service.
The Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program is a national standardized program to provide prevention education/intervention and referrals if warranted for the children and families of Mt. Lebanon to reduce the frequency and severity of fires set by children. Prevention education can quell the youth fire problem, but only when properly targeted, designed, and delivered. The behaviors causing the problem must be considered because what motivates their behavior is the surest clue to solving the youth fire setting problem.
The Department’s Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Specialists are certified through the Ohio Fire Academy and the Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program. Intervention Specilaists are trained in accordance to the National Fire Protection Association Standard 1035 regarding child fire setting. Intervention Specialists work confidentially to provide child fire setters and their families fire safety education and prevention.
To talk to a Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention Specialist, call the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department at 412-343-3402.