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Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting
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Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting

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Overview of the issue of youth firesetting, and the elements involved in addressing it effectively.

Overview of the issue of youth firesetting, and the elements involved in addressing it effectively.

Published in: Education, Health & Medicine
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  • Even though each of our educational interventions is individualized to the specific family, youth and situation, I have found that these are the common factors we repeatedly address with our families.
  • Even though each of our educational interventions is individualized to the specific family, youth and situation, I have found that these are the common factors we repeatedly address with our families.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Introduction to Child & Adolescent { Lisa Van Horn Seattle Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division SOS FIRES, Youth Intervention Programs Firesetting
    • 2. The Problem Fire and burns are the leading causes of unintentional home injury death for 1 to 14 year olds, and the second leading cause of death for children less than one. (Burn Institute, 2009) There were an estimated 13,900 child-play structure fires reported in 2002, with 210 deaths, 1,250 injuries, and $339 million in direct damage. (U.S. Fire Administration, 2006)
    • 3. The Problem Over 50% of all arrests for arson in the United States involve juveniles under the age of 18 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2007). Of those juveniles arrested for arson, 33% were under the age of 15 (OJJDP, 2007).
    • 4. The Problem Property damage from juvenile-set structure fires was $328 million during 2006 (NFPA, 2009). School fires account for over $200 million loss annually. More than half are intentionally set (NFPA, 2009).
    • 5. Common Myths & Misunderstandings  The bigger the fire, the more serious the firesetting.  Juveniles who set fires are pyromaniacs.  Juveniles who set fires have an urge or obsession with fire or deep emotional problems.  Firesetting is related to bedwetting and cruelty to animals.  Firesetting is a difficult behavior to treat.  Playing with fire is a normal part of a child’s development that they will grow out of (boys will be boys)  Punishing or scaring juveniles will make them stop playing with fire. None of the above statements are accurate assumptions.
    • 6. Characteristics of Firesetting Gender  Mostly males (>75%)  Increasing percentage for females 13-17 years
    • 7. Characteristics of Firesetting Age Any, but spikes at:  Mid-late toddlerhood (3-5)—increased cognitive curiosity, motor skill development, power struggles w/parents  Early adolescence (12-15)—experimental behavior, peer influence, independence through defying authority
    • 8. Characteristics of Firesetting Family Characteristics Any, but greater likelihood of:  Minimal problem-solving abilities.  Lack of structure & rule enforcement in the home.  Greater chance of parental discord.  Higher levels of problem history (domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse).
    • 9. Characteristics of Firesetting Psychiatric Diagnosis (DSM-IV, APA 1994*) Firesetting may occur more often in children with:  Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)  Conduct Disorder  Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)  Disruptive Behavior Disorder NOS *Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) American Psychiatric Association, 1994
    • 10. A Note About Typology No consistent “profile” has been found of a child or adolescent who sets fires. It can be any child. There is considerable diversity among the children, and their families, who are involved in firesetting behavior. Typologies are best viewed as a way of framing the possible motivation for firesetting, and organizing the proper intervention response. Typologies are not particularly useful in an intervention program protocol. Response designators of “simple” and “complex” may be more appropriate.
    • 11. Firesetting Typologies Curiosity Expressive Delinquent Strategic Pathological
    • 12. Curiosity Firesetting Characteristics     Often preschool and elementary age children. The most common firesetting typology All family types, ethnicity, socio-economic levels Motivation is curiosity and experimentation.
    • 13. Curiosity Firesetting Influencing Factors:  Exposure to fire activity (caregivers may smoke, use a fireplace, etc.)  Access to fire starting materials  Lack of supervision  Lack of structured time  Lack of fire safety education  Parenting abilities may be limited
    • 14. Curiosity Firesetting Behavior exhibited:  Typically use matches or lighters  Burn items easily found in the home  Younger children set fires in hidden locations (closet, under bed).  May try to extinguish (older) or ignore (younger) the fire.  Without intervention, will often repeat the behavior.
    • 15. Seattle Fire set by five year old boy playing with novelty lighter while mother slept. Eight people displaced.
    • 16. Seattle Double fatality fire by five year old boy playing with lighter while mother slept.
    • 17. Seattle Fire caused by teen lighting fireworks outside a family home daycare.
    • 18. Expressive Firesetting Characteristics:  All ages, but usually pre-teen or older  All family types, ethnicity, socioeconomic levels  Motivators-psychological pain, anger, revenge, need for attention.
    • 19. Expressive Firesetting Influencing Factors:  Limited family support and/or involvement  Recent stress or crisis  Access to matches/lighters  Inappropriate supervision  Unable to identify or express feelings in constructive manner  Lack of problem solving skills
    • 20. Expressive Firesetting Behavior exhibited:      May be multiple, progressive firesetting Often have little remorse May or may not try to put the fire out May lie about or deny involvement Fires may be symbolic of the situation
    • 21. Seattle Bed fire set by young boy assessed with complex firesetting behavior.
    • 22. Seattle House fire started by 14 year old girl with gasoline in response to family situation.
    • 23. Seattle School fires, seemingly minor, started by youths later assessed as complex firesetters with significant emotional issues. Referred for psychological evaluation and mental health follow-up.
    • 24. Delinquent Firesetting Characteristics  Usually teenaged  Often carry a lighter at all times for no good reason  Fire may involve accelerant/flammable liquids  Commonly seen as school fires, dumpsters, fireworks
    • 25. Delinquent Firesetting Influencing Factors:  Limited family support and/or involvement  Often risk-takers or kids who complain of being bored  Lack good judgment and social skills  There is often peer pressure or peer involvement-may brag about it  Don’t understand the possible legal consequences.
    • 26. School dumpster fire
    • 27. Flammable liquid fire
    • 28. Seattle Group of adolescent boys shot a bottle rocket onto neighbor’s front porch.
    • 29. Seattle Port-a-potty fire
    • 30. Strategic Firesetting Characteristics  Usually teenaged  May use fire to get even or to attack someone—premeditated.  Usually in trouble at home, school and work  Uncooperative, no remorse  Set to harm or destroy, often well planned and sophisticated.  Often associated with peers or gangs. May have police record.
    • 31. Seattle Intentionally set fire on porch of targeted household.
    • 32. Seattle Stolen vehicle fire. Likely juvenile gang related.
    • 33. Pathological Firesetting Characteristics        Usually teenaged Rare, with medical or neurological considerations Usually long history of firesetting and psycho-social problems Often methodical and purposeful fires May show a distinctive pattern, even ritualistic Often proud of it, and will gladly show their scars May have many fire-related materials like matches, lighters, candles, etc.  Social problems, difficulty establishing relationships  May present as expressive firesetter when young
    • 34. What Works to Stop Firesetting?
    • 35. Things we know that don’t stop firesetting
    • 36. Seattle’s Intervention Model
    • 37. Effective Intervention to stop firesetting behavior
    • 38. IDENTIFY YOUTH who show unsafe fire behavior
    • 39. Perform an accurate FIRE NEEDS ASSESSMENT
    • 40. Involve a COMMUNITY NETWORK of referral sources & service providers.
    • 41. Provide quality FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION.
    • 42. Provide quality BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES
    • 43. Conduct follow-ups to TRACK RESULTS. 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 Recidivism Rate Assessments
    • 44. COMMON FACTORS addressed with fire safety education
    • 45. Low or inaccurate FIRE KNOWLEDGE
    • 46. Lack of FIRE SAFETY information
    • 47. Awareness of CONSEQUENCES
    • 48. Responsible choice-making skills
    • 49. FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION SHOULD BE
    • 50. Appropriate for age & developmental level
    • 51. Do-able & targeted to knowledge gaps
    • 52. Relevant to the learners Culturally competent
    • 53. Focused on improving fire safety
    • 54. Provide the tools to learn & practice fire safety
    • 55. CHALLENGE?
    • 56. Lisa Van Horn SOS Fires.org lisajvanhorn@gmail.com

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