Are you worried about a child or young person who may be:
- showing a great interest in fire?
- starting fires, large or small?
- showing evidence of burning items, for example in their bedroom or outside?
Talking to a young person early on is vital to stop the firesetting habit as soon as possible. Firesetting is dangerous and we can help to explain the dangers and consequences to the young person in a sensitive and informed manner with appropriate resources. Early intervention can greatly reduce the chances of it happening again.
The Firesetters scheme is not a punishment and should not be viewed as such. The objective is to achieve a ‘fire safe’ person and environment.
Referrals come from many different sources, such as concerned parents, school staff, and other agencies such as Youth Offending Teams.
The scheme is primarily aimed at young people aged up to 18 years although, on occasions, it is appropriate to extend the service to include adults.
Once a referral has been accepted, we arrange for a Safe and Well visit to be carried out as soon as possible at the young person’s home.
During this visit, we will help the householder to spot any potential fire hazards and demonstrate how to reduce and prevent the risk of fire. If required, smoke alarms will also be fitted, and a fire escape plan will be discussed for everyone living in the property.
Following this, two sensitive and informed advisors can arrange to meet the householder at their home, or another suitable venue, to go through the referral process.
These advisors will work with the young person and their family to address the fire play/firesetting behaviour. A variety of resources and techniques are used in each visit to encourage the young person to take ownership of their actions and consider the consequences for themselves, those with them at the time, their families and also the wider community.
While this is a confidential service, please be aware there may be occasions that we will need to share the information we receive during a visit with relevant partner agencies we work alongside. We work across the whole of Dorset and Wiltshire, and all referrals come to a central team initially.
To contact somebody confidentially about Firesetters, please email [email protected] to ask for advice or to make a referral.
In the meantime:
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach and sight of children.
- Never leave young children alone in the home, even for small periods of time.
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms on each floor of your home – if you suspect that a young person is setting fires, we recommend that you consider fitting a smoke alarm in their bedroom.
- Make sure you have an escape plan. How will you all get out of your home if there is a fire? Make sure everyone knows the escape plan and keep the escape routes clear of trip hazards.
- If there is a fire: Get out, Stay out and Call 999.
- Discuss what to do if your clothes catch fire – stop, drop and roll.