This is a voluntary program that addresses a child's or teen's fire setting, fire play, fire experimentation or interest in fire. Most children express a natural and normal curiosity about fire in their early life, but how much is too much? The truth is that for children there is no safe or OK amount of involvement with fire. If you know your child is doing something with fire, it's important to deal with it right away. Curiosity about fire can result in devastating injuries and loss of property if the behaviour is ignored. The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service can help.Purpose of the Program
The purpose of this intervention program is to help children/teens and families address fire safety and the appropriate use of fire through education and awareness. This is accomplished through an interview and evaluation process to determine the nature of the fire play or fire setting concern and to address ways in which that behaviour can be positively, effectively and safely handled.Educational Intervention
The education intervention is a structured series of activities designed to meet seven objectives:
- Increase the youth’s understanding in fire-related topics
- Generate awareness about the seriousness of fire play and fire setting
- Replace misconceptions about fire with practical facts
- Underscore the need to be responsible for your actions
- Explore areas of concern such as peer pressure, risk-taking and communication skills
- Learn to develop viable plans and realistic goals relating to peer pressure and risk taking.
- Provide referral to other agencies. (Parent/Legal Guardian permission is required)
All Fire Safety Specialists with the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service have the training and the experience in dealing with youth fire play occurrences. The steps are listed below.Step 1
: (15 minutes)
Initial information about your concerns will be taken over the phone and an appointment is scheduled as soon after the event as possible. Step 2:
During the first appointment the Fire Safety Specialist will:
- gather information about the fire play/setting incident
- help complete a parent and child questionnaire
- provide family and child fire safety homework assignments
Step 3: (1 – 1.5 hours)
During the second appointment the fire safety specialist will:
- explore the details of the fire incident in greater detail
- explain components of fire behaviour
- discuss fire play consequences
- present facts relating to burns and burn prevention
- work towards a greater understanding about the dangers of fire
- present acceptable uses of fire and set age appropriate boundaries
- This is accomplished through discussion, posters, videos, activities and props in order to keep participants actively involved. All methods are age appropriate and a firm but caring manner is used.
A 3 month and 1 year follow-up will be completed. This is done in order to determine if the youth has or has not engaged in other unsafe fire play/setting behaviour and to address any other fire related concerns the parent or youth may have. Follow-ups are done via phone or letter.
All information is treated as strictly confidential. However, in situations where referral to another agency is desired, the parents/legal guardians’ written consent will be obtained before any information is shared.
The two most important things a parent can do is to eliminate their child's access to fire materials and their child's opportunity to use them:
- Keep track of ignition sources, such as matches and lighters
- Smokers should stick to only carrying one lighter and keep it on their person or lock it away at all times.
- Ignition sources for candles incense and the barbecue should be locked away.
- Children should be instructed not to touch matches or lighters they find outside and to tell a responsible adult where they saw it. The adult should dispose of or destroy it right away.
- Demonstrate fire-safe behaviours and a respect for the destructive power of fire. Your kids will do what you do so make sure you model the safe and appropriate use of matches and lighters.
In order to access this potentially life-saving service, please phone the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service Fire Prevention Division at 604-853-3566 or email the Youth Fire Prevention Team.