Curiosity about fire is part of a child’s growth process, which leads children to experimentation.
Fires often happen when children are bored or have inadequate supervision. Firesetting behavior in some children is a way of expressing frustration, abuse, and other emotional needs. The child could also have experienced a life changing event, such as divorce or the loss of a loved one.
Rockingham County Fire & Rescue provides Youth Firesetter Prevention and Intervention programs to help stop this behavior. There is no charge for these services and all information is kept confidential.
Factors influencing firesetting behaviors:
Easy access to ignition materials (matches, lighters)
Lack of appropriate supervision
Lack of fire safety education
Access to the internet
Types of Firesetters:
Curiosity/Experimentation: Curious about fire, lack of understanding of consequences and has easy access to ignition materials
Crisis/Troubled: Child has experienced a recent trauma and is expressing anger, sadness or other emotion
Thrill-seeking/Risk-taking: Peer influenced or gang involvement, has easy access to ignition materials
Delinquent/Criminal/Strategic: Child has a motive or willful intent to cause destruction
Pathological: Child may have a physical or mental disease which causes them to use fire to cope. This child needs treatment in a hospital or residential program.
Who can refer a child?
Law enforcement agencies
Courts and Probation offices
What are some components of the firesetter program?
Understanding fire behavior
Consequences, choices and responsibilities
Causes and effects of fire
Fire and life safety
For more information contact 540-564-3175 and ask for the Fire & Life Safety Division