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Youth Firestop

The goals of the Youth Firestop Program are to:

  • Stop curiosity fire setters frominjuring themselves and others
  • Reduce property damage caused by children playing with fire; and
  • prevent the child fire setter from becoming the adult fire setter.

Fire deaths, numerous injuries and property damage into the millions of dollars have been directly attributed to children lighting fires in Manitoba on an annual basis. Juvenile arson arrests exceeded adult arson arrests for the first time in history. The number of fires set by children is growing. In the time it takes to read this, a child may have changed his/her life and the life of his/her family with the strike of a match.

For more information on the Youth Firestop Program please contact Donica Franchewski at the Office of the Fire Commissioner at 204.945.7570 or 1.888.389.3473 (fire) or email at donica.franchewski@gov.mb.ca

How Does the Program Work?

The Youth Firestop Program relies on referrals from concerned parents or guardians, human resource agencies, police, local fire departments, school boards, etc.

First, the child and parent or guardian is interviewed to assess the level of concern with regard to the firesetting behaviour.

Next, the child may be called back to a local fire hall or school for a series of "educational visits" or may be referred to a community human resource agency.

Who Sets Fires?

Any child can be a potential fire setter. They may be motivated by a curiosity for fire. A crisis in a child's life may lead to fire setting as a way of expressing feelings of helplessness. Fire setting is a symptom of another problem.

Whatever the reason, most experts agree the best way to understand fire setting behaviour is to look at the reason for the behaviour. After the interview is completed and the level of concern is assessed. There are three ways to categorize fire setting behaviour and there are different strategies for each behaviour:

Little Concern - Curiosity Firesetter

  • Child is usually a boy
  • Fire usually set near home
  • Curious about the environment and finds fire fascinating
  • Child does not understand fire and the consequences of his actions Treatment: educational intervention

Definite Concern:

  • Child is usually a boy
  • May collect fire tools
  • Fire set close to home
  • Sets numerous fires for attention
  • Has experienced a crisis in personal life
  • Firesetting will continue until crisis is dealt with

Treatment: education and referral (counseling)

Extreme Concern:

  • Child is usually a boy
  • Frequently collects fire tools
  • Fire may be set far from home
  • Fire set alone or in group
  • Shows little remorse
  • Other motives, spite, anger, revenge, impulsiveness

Treatment: Refer for counseling

As a Parent, What can you do?

Teach your child about fire:

  • Fire is a tool for adults, it is not a toy
  • Big fires start small
  • Even adults must follow fire safety rules

Control your child's access to fire:

  • Keep all matches and lighters out of children's reach
    (out of sight, out of mind)
  • Pay careful attention to your child's activities, no matter where in the house they are playing
  • Never leave young children alone with an open flame

Create a home safe environment:

  • Install working smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them on a monthly basis
  • Plan and practice home fire escape drills
  • Regularly inspect your home for fire hazards

Set a good example:

  • Remember to praise your children for following your instructions
  • Remember, your child is learning by watching and imitating you
  • Set fire safety rules and stick to them

When to call for help?

  • If your child has played with fire on more than one occasion (unsupervised)
  • If your child has deliberately set a fire
  • If you suspect or find evidence that your child is fire setting

Where to go for help?

  • Contact your local fire department and ask about the Youth Fire Stop Program or you may contact the Manitoba Youth Fire Stop Program at 1-888-253-1488. The Manitoba Youth Firestop program is dedicated to preventing child-set fires. A program representative will work with you and your child to help ensure the fire setting stops!

Youth Firestop Resource Material

Firesetting and Youth Book Firesetting and Youth
A Book About Fire Setting for Children and Youth
Fire Setting and Youth is designed specifically as a resource for parents, educators and professionals to discuss fire setting with children and youth. Fire Setting and Youth talks about the attraction and implication of fire, in child friendly language with colored photographs illustrating concepts on each page.

Firesetting and Youth Activity Book Firesetting & Youth Resource Book & Activity Booklet

Price of the book and activity booklet is $15.00 plus GST and shipping.

For more information on the Youth Firestop Program please contact Donica Franchewski at the Office of the Fire Commissioner at 204.945.7570 or 1.888.389.3473 (fire) or email at donica.franchewski@gov.mb.ca