Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention Program


Why Children Set Fires

Most experts agree that there are two (2) types of children who start fires:

Curious Firesetters usually are 2 to 7 years old and have a fascination with fire and want to "play" with it to find out how it feels, how it burns and what it does. They do not understand the destructive potential.

Problem Firesetters can also be very young, but are usually between 5 to 17 years of age. Unlike curious firesetters, these children light fires due to mild to severe emotional or mental disturbances. A crisis in the child's life could trigger firesetting behavior. Or, a more serious disturbance could be the cause.

The number of fires set by children is growing. It is a problem that needs the attention of parents, teachers, counselors and community leaders, in cooperation with fire and law enforcement officers.

What You Can Do!


Teach your Children About Fire

  • Fire is a tool we use to heat our homes and cook our food.
  • Fire IS NOT a toy.
  • Fire is dangerous -- it can kill.
  • All fires -- even small ones -- can spread quickly.
  • Even adults must follow special safety rules for fire.
  • Control Your Child's Access to Fire.
  • Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of children -- even a 2-year old can operate a cigarette lighter.
  • Never allow anyone to use lighters or matches in a unsafe manner in your home.
  • Never leave stoves or lighted candles unattended.
  • Teach children to bring to your attention any matches or lighters they find.

Parents / Teachers / Leaders Set a Good Example


  • Install and maintain smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Plan and practice fire escape drills in your home.
  • Regularly inspect your home for fire hazards.
  • Always think "safety" when making or using fire.
  • Point out to your children the safety rules you and others are following throughout the day.

Teachers, Counselors and Community Leaders...

  • Teach fire safety in preschool through high-school programs.
  • Participate in training to learn about juvenile firesetters.
  • Help raise awareness in your community about juvenile firesetters.
  • Know the resources in your community to help juvenile firesetters -- or help develop a juvenile firesetters program.

For more information, contact Manchester Fire Department Office of the Fire Marshal - 860-647-3267.