The number of fires set by children is growing. Youth Firesetting is a problem that needs community attention. There are effective educational programs in fire and life safety that have been developed for children. The Meridian Fire Department has trained Youth Firesetting Intervention specialists who can evaluate and educate a juvenile who is involved in the act of fire setting. Most appointments take place at the Meridian Fire Safety Center with the child and their guardian in attendance.
If your child expresses an unusual interest in playing with fire or has had an experience setting a fire, please contact the Meridian Fire Department.
Why Children Set Fires
Most experts agree that the best way to understand firesetting behaviors is to look at where and why children set fires. They believe there are two basic types of children who start fires.
Curiosity Firesetters: Usually are 2-7 years olds whose fascination with the fire leads them to "play" with it to find out how it feels, how it burns, and what is does. They do not understand fire's destructive potential.
Problem Firesetters: Can also be very young. but generally are 5-17 years old. In contrast to the curious firesetter, however, these juveniles light fires because of emotional or mental disturbances ranging from mild to severe. A crisis in a child's such as moving to a new area, a death or divorce could trigger firesetting behavior.
What you can do
National statistics indicate when programs are not provided for children involved in youth firesetting, there will be an 81% probability of the fire setting activity being repeated to achieve the excitement and/or attention.
By contrast, the national statistics indicate that when intervention programs are provided to the children who are youth firesetters then there is a 90% probability that the offenders will not repeat the activity.
There are effective educational programs in fire and life safety that have been developed for children. The Meridian Fire Department has trained Youth Fire Setter Intervention specialists who can evaluate and educate a child who is involved in the act of fire setting. Most interventions take place at the Meridian Fire Safety Center. The center is equipped with an actual burned-out room that allows an up close view of the destruction of fire.