Written by Thomas Flamm, IAFF Burn Fund Coordinator

The IAFF Charitable Foundation is serving on the frontlines to help increase prevention efforts and outreach to limit the number of fire incidents committed by juvenile fire starters.

With recent stories coming out of San Antonio, TX with law enforcement suspecting several teens for a string of fires plaguing the city since the New Year – the IAFF Charitable Foundation recognizes the emotional effect these incidents have on local communities.

Fire fighters, fire investigators and others connected to these types of cases are often left with too many questions. Why are these young people setting fires as a mechanism of expression? Why fire?

The explanations are often times complex, varied and hard to understand.

The IAFF Charitable Foundation is facilitating a focus group on juvenile fire setters and prevention efforts as a part of a grant it received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The focus group will meet April 2nd and 3rd. In addition, a larger summit will be hosted in June.
Fire fighters, burn care professionals, mental health practitioners and educators will gather to discuss a national, standardized database for local and regional juvenile fire setting programs to use as a resource.

The IAFF Charitable Foundation recognizes that in order to get at the root of the juvenile fire setter behavior that comprehensive data is needed to properly address the problem from an evidence based intervention standpoint. And to make it happen they know collaboration is essential.

A number of organizations and individuals are working on efforts, and one goal of the focus group will be how they can share information seamlessly.

The National Fire Protection Association finds younger children are more likely to set fires in homes, while older children and teenagers are more likely to set fires outside.