The Newport News Fire Department adopted the Youth Firesetter Prevention Program in 1984 to address the problem of fires set by children.
About Youth Firesetters
A Youth Firesetter is a child typically between the ages of 4 and 14 who exhibits an unusual interest or curiosity in fires, or a child with a history of fire play.
For the curious firesetter, fire play often results from the child's natural curiosity and is usually a 1-time careless accident. The lack of adequate supervision, coupled with the availability of matches or a lighter, is all a child needs to be encouraged to play with fire.
For the child with a history of repeated fire play, firesetting becomes a way to express feelings of anger, frustration, or loneliness. Therefore, the problem often occurs during a crisis at home, such as a divorce or death, or a crisis at school.
About the Program
Educating children on fire safety and preventing future firesetting behavior is accomplished by identifying the motivation for fire play and then redirecting the child's creativity and energies. The program is provided as a free service by the Public Education Bureau of the Newport News Fire Department.
The Youth Firesetter Prevention Program involves confidential session(s) between the parent(s), child, and a Public Educator. The program consists of:
An interview with the parent(s) and child to obtain a case history for a better understanding of the problem
Identifying the motivation for the firesetting behavior
Educating the child on the consequences and dangers of fire and fire play
Discussing fire safety topics through various activities
An evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of the firesetter program
Referrals to local counseling agencies (when necessary)
Follow-up sessions (when necessary)
Please call the Public Education Bureau at 757-975-5400 for program information.