Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service offers its free, confidential FireCare service to any child up to 18 years old who is playing with or setting fires.
In most cases FireCare involves only one or two home visits to the family by two advisors; we aim to educate the whole family about fire safety. However, for young people with more complex problems, we can make a series of visits, referring to other support services when appropriate. We are happy to deliver sessions in conjunction with staff from other organisations already involved with the family; eg the Youth Offending Teams and Family Support Workers.
How to refer: We will accept referrals from anybody, but the permission of the parent/guardian must be given. To make a referral, complete the online referral form (linked below), or post to Tina Illston, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, 12 Geoff Monk Way, Birstall, Leicester, LE4 3BU.
What do we mean by fire setting?
Fire setter is a term to describe people who start fires deliberately. Children’s natural fascination with fire can lead to devastating consequences if left unchecked. Many fires in the home are started by young unattended children playing with matches or lighters. Did you know that around 50% of the fires attended by our service have been caused deliberately? It is a sad fact that the majority of these fires are caused by children or young people. It is crucial to address this problem at an early age; if left unchecked, the 9 – 13 year olds who are responsible for most small nuisance fires, such as bin fires, may progress to committing serious arson offences.
How can parents reduce the risk of their children being fire setters?
- Education – fire is not a toy, it is a tool. It is dangerous and can kill. Only adults should use fire and even they have to follow safety rules.
- Teach children to alert adults when they see matches or lighters lying around.
- Control children’s access to fire: Keep matches and lighters away from children. Never leave candles or fires burning when children are unattended, even for a few minutes.
Set a good example:
- Always use safety rules when making or using fire, and point out the rules during the course of your day
- Fit smoke alarms, test them and ensure they have working batteries
- Draw up a ‘fire plan’ (home fire escape drill) and practice it with the whole family
- Reassure children that if a fire does start for any reason, they must not be frightened to tell an adult and they should all ‘get out, stay out, and call the fire service out’.
- Regularly inspect your home for fire hazards.