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Juvenile Fire Setter Program

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Mission Fire Rescue Service has recognized juvenile fire setting as a serious problem. Fire setting can begin at a very young age and may continue into adulthood. Recognition and intervention early can greatly reduce the risk of future fire setting incidences. The process of intervention begins with education.

The Juvenile Fire Setter Program itself is designed as a voluntary program.  It is based on a strict protection of the privacy for the youth and the family. Through our interview process it is determined whether the child requires fire education or if counseling is the key.  The Fire Department will provide education, and the counseling is referred to the appropriate agency. Once again, counseling is a voluntary action.

Characteristics of a Juvenile Fire Setter
A key function is to distinguish between normal, curiosity-related fire behaviour and abnormal or problem behaviours.  The below are general guidelines only:

Curiosity Fire Setter
Typically, curiosity fire setters are young boys between the ages of three and ten years old. Their motivation for lighting fires may include boredom, lack of parental supervision, access to matches and lighters, as well as an overall curiosity about fire.  Because curiosity can lead to more serious fire setting, early recognition and detection are critical. They respond well to intervention.

Problem Fire Setters
Problem fire setters tend to be older males between the ages of seven and eighteen years old. Typically this group is of average intelligence, may have some learning difficulties, and often demonstrates poor academic and behavioural adjustment.  Referral for professional counseling is necessary as the underlying problems of these children must be addressed in order to alter their fire setting behaviour.

For information regarding this program, please email Fire Prevention Officer Michelle Bishop at mbishop@mission.ca or call 604-820-5398.