Juvenile Fire Stoppers
If you live in Bellevue and your child has played with fire, deliberately set a fire or you are unsure how to teach your child about fire safety, the Bellevue Fire Department can help. It is important to take the early signs of fire-setting seriously.
Through the Juvenile Fire Stoppers Program, personnel trained can assess fire setting behaviors, provide free fire safety education and recommend additional assistance if needed. Call 425-452-7881 for more information.
For your guidance, the Fire Department offers the following:
Fire setting is the term used to describe the behavior of children who have begun to use fire in a way that is dangerous or not approved by a parent or caregiver. A fire setter does not necessarily have a problem, he or she needs additional education about the danger and proper uses of fire. Through education, and in some cases counseling, children can gain the skills to change this dangerous behavior.
When fire setting goes beyond what you are able to deal with, call your local fire department. The Bellevue Fire Department can provide fire safety education for your family. Do not put off dealing with this behavior. Fire is a devastating and deadly force.
Motivations for Fire Setting
By determining the motivation for the fire setting, we can best determine how to deal with it. Most children fall into the following classifications.
About 70 percent of fire setters are in this group. The child is curious. The opportunity is there because the child has access to fire tools and is not supervised. He or she decides to “see what fire will do.” These children typically don’t think about or understand the danger of their actions.
Reactionary fire setters are usually older, upset about something and not very good at expressing themselves. They typically light a fire as a way to let grownups know they need help. Their fire setting is in reaction to a problem.
Usually teenagers, delinquent fire setters light fires for many reasons. Most of the time, it’s a prank or because of a dare. Sometimes it’s to cover up other crimes like vandalism or theft. Most fire setters in this group don’t realize they are breaking the law and could go to jail.
What you can do:
- Set a good example. If you smoke, be responsible in your use of matches and lighters. Children learn by watching you.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children’s sight and reach. Even toddlers can use lighters and matches to start a fire.
- Teach your children that if their clothing catches fire, they should not run, but “stop, drop and roll.” They should immediately stop what they're doing, drop to the floor and roll over and over until the fire is out.
- Teach children the safe and proper ways to use fire. Be sure they understand it should be used by a responsible grown-up.
- Smoke detectors save lives. Make sure you have working smoke detectors in your house, and practice your family escape plan.