Juvenile Fire Safety Program
York County Youth Fire Safety and Intervention Collaborative
The mission of the York County Juvenile Fire Safety & Intervention program is to protect our communities from the dangers of child and youth fire setting through assessment, education intervention, collaboration with local public & private agencies, and referrals to community agencies as needed.
Nationally, more than half of all intentionally set fires are started by youths under the age of 18. When a child or adolescent sets a fire and receives no intervention, there is a better than 50% chance he or she will set a second fire. If, in fact, a second fire is set, the chances are better than 80% that the fire setting will continue.
Fires set by children are common and a problem affecting many families. While curiosity about fire is natural, fire setting is dangerous and deadly.
If your child is displaying fire setting behavior, you and your family are at higher risk for suffering the consequences of a fire. Remember, you are not the only parent to face this problem.
If you discover evidence of a fire set by your child, or your child talks about setting fires, or is curious about fire; contact your local fire department or contact us at 207-459-2463 for help.
About Our Program
The York County Juvenile Fire Safety and Intervention Collaborative is a partnership between local public and private partners who are working together for the safety of York County communities.
York County Youth Fire Safety and Intervention Collaborative is a program of the York County Emergency Management Agency.
Why Do Children and Adolescents Set Fires?
While curiosity about fire is common, fire setting is NOT! It is quite dangerous and deadly.
Most experts agree the best way to understand why children or adolescents set fires is to look at the motivations for fire setting.
Motives can include:
Curiosity or experimentation
A cry for help
Intent to cause destruction
Behavioral and emotional disorders
Easy access to matches and lighters
Children and teens know where to find lighters and matches in the home- even if you think you have them safety stored.
Failure to practice fire safety in the home
Young children, teens and adults often lack the understanding of the dangers associated with fire setting and safety rules around fire.
Easy access to information on the internet
Technology has made explicit media available to youths about a number of dangerous and often illegal activities for them to try and replicate.
Lack of Supervision
Consistent supervision by adults decreases the opportunity to set fires.
Fire Safety Tips
Regularly inspect your home for fire hazards
Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Develop and practice a home fire escape plan
Keep matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach including child-resistant lighters. A child-resistant lighter is not childproof, not even for a two-year-old.
Teach children of all ages that fire, even small ones, can spread quickly.
Set a good example for your children; children learn by watching and imitating adults. What you DO is more important than what you TELL a child.
Teach older children the proper techniques for using fire with supervision.
Talk to your children and adolescents about the legal consequences of firesetting.
Find out more about the laws in Maine by going to the State Fire Marshal's Website:
Links to Other Resources
National Fire Protection Agency site for kids – games, apps, activities
Site for games for kids on disasters – home fire safety and wildfires are included
National Fire Safety Prevention
Site on saving lives and property from wildfires
Site for kids from Smokey the Bear – games, activities, and fun
Home fires can start and spread quickly, which is why we all need to be careful and educated when it comes to fire safety. Just a little bit of planning can make a big difference for your family
An interactive website designed to engage children in fire safety activities