Juvenile Fire Setters Program
The Bedford Juvenile Fire Setters program was established to help reduce the number of fires started by juveniles within our community. With the cooperation of parents, the program can be very effective.
The program can be adapted for preschool-aged children to teenagers. It starts with the initial interview between Fire Department personnel and the child's parents/guardians usually via phone. Following the interview, Fire Department personnel will schedule an appointment with the parents/guardians and the child to evaluate the cause of the fire-setting behavior. The Fire Department then provides fire safety education and determines whether a referral to a specially trained health care professional is needed.
- 300 children die each year in juvenile related fires.
- Most fire deaths of preschool-aged children in the home occur between 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Fire is the leading cause of accidental death of children in homes.
What You Can Do
- The most effective intervention for curious children is proper adult supervision and fire safety education.
- Keep matches and lighters out of a child's sight and reach. Even toddlers can use lighters and kitchen matches to start a fire.
- Teach preschool children to tell an adult if they find matches or a lighter.
- Teach school-age children to give matches and lighters to an adult. Praise your child whenever he or she does so.
- Teach your child to say "no" when friends suggest playing with fire.
- Teach children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Talk about the ways adults use different tools (cooking tools, repair and building tools, and hobby tools).
What to Do if Your Child Sets a Fire
- As a parent or caregiver of young children, take any fire play seriously
- Immediately report all fires to the Fire Department by calling 9-1-1
- Depending on your child's age, talk (do not lecture or scold) about the dangers of fire
- Getting help will prevent youthful fire setting behaviors from becoming worse
Reasons Why Children Set Fires
- Stress in family or school
- Need for attention
- Peer Pressure
- Call the Bedford Fire Department at 817-952-2500. They have personnel with special training on how to help children who play with fire.
- Contact the counselor at your child's school to help you deal with a variety of behavioral problems.
- Contact the Bedford Police Department's Community Services Division for counseling services available for residents.
How the Community Can Help
- Ask retailers to display lighters out of reach of children
- Purchase childproof lighters
- Support measures that allocate more resources to children's programs that emphasize safety education