Fire Programs


Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention Program
If your child has played with fire, deliberately set a fire or you are unsure how to teach your child about fire safety, the Galesburg Fire Department can help. It is important to take the early signs of fire-setting seriously.
Through the Juvenile Fire Setter Intervention Program, trained personnel can assess fire setting behaviors, provide free fire safety education and recommend additional assistance if needed. Call 309.345.3756 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.
Curiosity Fire Setters are usually under 7 years old who have a fascination with fire that leads to fire setting. They are seeking to find out how fire feels, how it burns, and what it does. Curiosity Fire Setters do not know the destructive potential of fire. Even though curiosity is a normal part of child development, curiosity in fire must be taken seriously.
Problem Fire Setters are generally over 5, but can be very young. Fires are set due to mild to severe emotional or mental disturbances or behaviors. A crisis in a child's life such as divorce, moving, or death could trigger fire setting behavior. Behavior traits may include poor peer relationships, cruelty to animals, and extreme mood changes.
Fire Setting Myths
It was only a little fire.
A home fire can double in size every 30 seconds. A small fire can quickly become out of control.
They were only curious, not a big deal.
While curiosity is a part of normal development, fire setting is dangerous and should be addressed.
If I punish my child for fire setting, they will not set another fire.
Children need to be aware of the dangers related to unsafe fire related activity.
It is just a phase every child goes though; they will grow out of it.
Fire setting is not a phase and needs to be addressed before it gets worse.
What to Look For
• Missing lighters or matches
• Burnt matches laying around
• Scorch marks on furniture, under bed, on clothes or toys
• Recent changes in behavior
• Problems at school, learning or disciplinary problems, or truancy
• Deliberate efforts to collect fire materials
• Child expressing interest or daydreaming about fire
• Failure to get help to extinguish a fire
• Closeness in proximity to fires, first to report fires
What You Can Do
• Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
• Explain to your child that fire is not a toy
• Plan and practice a home fire escape plan
• Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home
• Watch for signs of fire experimentation
• Set a good example of fire safe behavior
The Galesburg 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. Contact the Fire Department for more information.
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