Pasco County Youth Firesetter Intervention Program

Youth firesetting is often referred to as preventable arson. Each year in this country, fires set by children are responsible for more than 100 fire deaths, nearly 1,000 painful burn injuries, and hundreds of millions of dollars in property loss, according to the USFA. Children are often the victims of these fires. While curiosity about fire is natural, fires set by children are dangerous and deadly.

Successful Intervention Programs: 

There are four intervention services for the child, parent, and caregiver to address youth firesetting behavior. They include services by 1) fire service; 2) mental health; 3) social services counseling, and 4) juvenile justice.

Pasco County Fire Rescue offers the Youth Firesetters Intervention Program to help guide your family through arson behaviors by providing fire safety education and information to break the firesetting chain.

The program is strictly educational and should not replace professional counseling.

Remember, if you suspect that your child is setting fires, you are not the only parent ever to face this problem. Contact your local fire department immediately. Explain the situation to them. Many fire departments offer youth firesetting prevention and intervention programs. Whether they are from the fire department or the school system, parents, caregivers, and public educators can build an informed foundation by teaching fire safety at an early age. Teach children of all ages that fires, even small ones, can spread quickly.

Youth Firesetting Facts According to NFPA: 

• Fires started by children playing accounted for an average of 56,300 fires with associated losses of 110 civilian deaths, 880 civilian injuries, and $286 million in direct property damage per year between 2005 and 2009. 

• Younger children are more likely to set fires in homes, while older children and teenagers are more likely to set fires outside. 

• Males are more likely to engage in fireplay than females, as 83 percent of home structure fires and 93 percent of outside or unclassified fires were set by boys when age was coded as a factor. 

• Lighters were the heat source in half (50 percent) of child-playing fires in homes. 

• A child’s bedroom continues to account for 40 percent of child-playing home fires. USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data indicate, where age was cited as a factor in a fire’s ignition by lighters or matches, that 37 percent of these fires were started by juveniles 10 to 17.