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Some children engage in fire-play out of curiosity, without realizing the dangers. Some use fire-play as a bid for attention. Children in crisis may set fires intentionally, as a way of acting out their anger or frustration. With proper intervention, children who set fires can be helped.
If your child plays with matches or lighters and doesn’t respond to your efforts to redirect his or her interest, your child would most likely benefit from intervention. Parents who suspect, or find evidence, that their child is setting fires should approach them with concern for the consequences of fire setting behavior. Always reassure your child about any crisis that may be provoking the behavior, listen carefully when your child describes his or her feelings and get help!
The Jackson County Juvenile Fire Setters Network provides a county-wide intervention program that serves all the fire districts in Jackson County and provides a high level of service to the child and their families.
Fires are the number one cause of death in the home for children under five, and the National Fire Protection Association estimates that more than one third of those children died in fires started by themselves or by other young children. Fire is the number one cause of death in the home for children ages 5 to 14. Roughly one of every seven fatal structure fires is started by a child under age 15. In 1997, 55 percent of arson arrests involved juveniles. Detection and immediate intervention of a problem when the child is young is imperative.
The following list should help direct you to your local Fire Department. Ask for the department’s Prevention Division and/or Juvenile Fire Setter Network contact: