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Youth Firesetter Prevention Program & Resources

For Families

If a child you care about has played with matches, lighters, fireworks, candles, has set a fire, or has shown a curiosity of fire that worries you, please contact your local fire department and ask if they participate in the Youth Firesetter Intervention Program.  (Click here for Juvenile Firesetting Contacts). These contacts can change, so contact your local department and ask about their prevention efforts.

The Youth Firesetter Intervention Program provides a simple risk assessment for your youth to help understand their situation. It also provides fire safety education for the child and other family members. Everything is confidential and intended to help you keep your family safe from fire.  This is not a punitive program; no information will be shared with law enforcement. The goal is to help families learn about the dangers of fire setting and provide assistance and support to families with firesetting concerns.

Until your appointment, you can make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on each level of the house and outside the sleeping areas. Test each one to make sure they are working. Look through the house and remove or secure all fire starting tools including matches, lighters, and barbecue lighters. The child can help you do these things to keep your family safe.

Most programs work with children 5 – 17 years of age. Younger children may be seen based on the situation. If a child is facing charges, the fire department may wait until the case is settled because attendance in an Intervention Program is often ordered as part of the deferment, parole or sentencing.

Fire setting can be a symptom of another challenge a child is facing. If the child is at high risk of continuing their dangerous behavior with fire, you will likely be encouraged to seek the assistance of a mental health professional to address the underlying cause of their behavior. If your insurance does not cover the costs, your local health department can often find assistance.

 

For Fire Departments

The Office of State Fire Marshal provides basic training and resource materials to initiate a Firesetter Prevention Program. Below are the materials you will need.  Our office is also available to provide this training to your department in a 4 hour block, at no charge. If you would like to set up this training for one or several people contact:

Andrew McCormick
Education Specialist
Phone: 801-256-2370 or amccormick@utah.gov

For reports on a state and national level, or to track the data of your department’s Youth Firesetting instances, visit: https://www.yfires.com/

The following Youth Firesetter Prevention Program materials are available from the 2019 Utah Fire Marshal Winter Fire School:

(start here) Youth Firesetting Intervention Introduction2019
Parent Interview Form and Key                             &                            Youth Interview Fire and Key

Use these forms for the interview with the family members.

Note to Parents & Workbook (kids) 2019                                           Note to Parents & Workbook (Teens)                  Juvenile Firesetter Media Kit
Matchbook Guide – National Program Overview                                                               
2019 Winter Fire School Presentations

Youth Firesetting Intervention Introduction2019      YFSP part 2 who starts fire and why        YFSP part 3 how the interview process works         YFSP part 4 case studies & conclusion

Note: downloading and viewing these presentations does not equal participation in the Fire School Juvenile (Youth) Firesetter Prevention Class are provided solely for review purposes. For more information, contact the Utah State Fire Marshal’s Office.