Youth Misuse of Fire

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Overview

Unfortunately, children misusing fire is the leading cause of child fire casualties. Younger children are more likely to start fires in their home where older children and teenagers are more likely to start fires outside. To show the impact of fires set by youth in our community, consider these facts:

  • Over one million dollars of property loss has resulted from youth set fires in Colorado Springs over the past five years.
  • Over 1,000 children have been referred to the Colorado Springs Fire department for youth misuse of fire incidents over the past eight years.
  • Youth arson is on the rise and is the fastest growing juvenile crime in the nation.
  • Nationally, 85% of all children killed in fires, die as a result of a fire they started themselves.
  • Fire and burn-related deaths are the second leading cause of accidental death of children under the age of fifteen.

Educational Resources

The Colorado Springs Fire Department’s FireFactor2 program is an intervention program specifically designed to work with youth that have a propensity to misuse fire. This nationally recognized program continues to innovate how the CSFD can best deliver education and assistance these children and their families. Anyone in the community can make a referral for a child that you know is misusing fire. Your referral may save someone’s life.

To make a referral or if you are in need of additional information, contact us at firefactor@springsgov.com or 719-385-7376

After we receive a referral, we will schedule the initial firesetting risk assessment that the child and their caregiver attend. During this assessment, we will ask questions of the child and of the caregiver to determine what risk level the child is at for future firesetting behavior. The outcomes of the assessment range from educational intervention to a referral to mental/behavioral health or a combination of both.

Educational Class

Our educational class is offered 6 times per year (more frequent based on demand) and is taught by our Fire & Life Safety Educators, Firefighters and a burn survivor. This 3-hour class encourages children to take accountability for their actions, learn about good decision making, fire safety education and it ends with a phenomenal speaker who is a burn survivor and has an inspirational message for both the kids and their families.

To attend this class you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Completed a firesetting risk assessment
  • Children must be over the age of 8 and under the age of 18
  • Have the ability to participate in a 3 hour long class
  • A caregiver must attend with the child

Caregiver Resources

FireFactor+ is a program for the caregivers of youth that have been involved in a firesetting incident or that show a great interest or curiosity about fire. Typically held in conjunction to the FireFactor² educational class, this program provides important information from the fire department in regards to home fire safety, warning signs for risk-taking behavior as well as an opportunity to ask questions.

The CSFD has worked to develop a robust Mental Health taskforce made up of area providers who specialize in working with children who have a propensity to set fires. We have made sure that we have providers that will service any client regardless of financial abilities. We are more than happy to provide you with referrals to one of these professionals.

Contact us for more information on how to connect with our providers by calling firefactor@springsgov.com or 719-385-7376