Juvenile Fire Play

Kids & Fire

The crime of arson has the highest rate of juvenile involvement of all other crimes. Juvenile fire setters continue to account for a disproportionate share of arson arrests according the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and USFA National Fire Data Center statistics and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Report.

The Westbrook Fire Rescue Department offers a limited juvenile fire setting assessment and intervention program where help is just a phone call away for parents of children who show an inordinate fascination with fire, or who are actively setting fires. Your fire department can intervene in problem fire setting behaviors. Call the Westbrook Office of Fire Prevention at 207-854-0644.

Safety & Prevention

Tips for reducing arson and fire setting opportunities:

  • Store matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children, preferably up high or in a locked cabinet.
  • Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children; they may imitate what you do.
  • Report suspicious activity near a house or other building to the local police.
  • Keep doors and windows locked when a building is unoccupied.
  • Keep leaves, firewood, overgrown brush and shrubbery and other combustibles away from buildings. Most arson fires are started outdoors. Don't make it easy for a youthful fire setter or juvenile arsonist to start a fire, or easy for an outdoor fire to spread to a building.
  • Finally, if you suspect a child is intentionally setting fires or unduly fascinated with fire, get help immediately. Your local fire department, school, or community counseling agency can put you in touch with experts trained to help in these matters.

Fire in the hands of children destroys - regardless of a child's age or motivation.