Successfully reported this slideshow.
Introduction
to Child &

Adolescent

{
Lisa Van Horn
Seattle Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division
SOS FIRES, Youth In...
The Problem
Fire and burns are the leading causes of unintentional home
injury death for 1 to 14 year olds, and the second...
The Problem
Over 50% of all arrests for arson in the United States involve
juveniles under the age of 18 (Office of Juveni...
The Problem
Property damage from juvenile-set structure fires was $328
million during 2006 (NFPA, 2009).

School fires acc...
Common Myths & Misunderstandings
 The bigger the fire, the more serious the firesetting.
 Juveniles who set fires are py...
Characteristics of Firesetting
Gender
 Mostly males (>75%)
 Increasing percentage
for females 13-17
years
Characteristics of Firesetting
Age
Any, but spikes at:
 Mid-late toddlerhood (3-5)—increased
cognitive curiosity, motor s...
Characteristics of Firesetting
Family Characteristics
Any, but greater likelihood of:
 Minimal problem-solving abilities....
Characteristics of Firesetting
Psychiatric Diagnosis (DSM-IV, APA 1994*)

Firesetting may occur more often in children wit...
A Note About Typology
No consistent “profile” has
been found of a child or
adolescent who sets fires.
It can be any child....
Firesetting Typologies

Curiosity
Expressive
Delinquent
Strategic
Pathological
Curiosity Firesetting
Characteristics





Often preschool and elementary age children.
The most common firesetting ty...
Curiosity Firesetting
Influencing Factors:
 Exposure to fire activity (caregivers may
smoke, use a fireplace, etc.)
 Acc...
Curiosity Firesetting
Behavior exhibited:
 Typically use matches or lighters
 Burn items easily found in the home
 Youn...
Seattle
Fire set by five year
old boy playing with
novelty lighter while
mother slept. Eight
people displaced.
Seattle
Double fatality
fire by five year
old boy playing
with lighter while
mother slept.
Seattle
Fire caused by teen
lighting fireworks
outside a family home
daycare.
Expressive Firesetting
Characteristics:
 All ages, but usually pre-teen or older
 All family types, ethnicity, socioecon...
Expressive Firesetting
Influencing Factors:
 Limited family support
and/or involvement
 Recent stress or crisis
 Access...
Expressive Firesetting
Behavior exhibited:






May be multiple, progressive firesetting
Often have little remorse
M...
Seattle
Bed fire set by young
boy assessed with
complex firesetting
behavior.
Seattle
House fire started by
14 year old girl with
gasoline in response to
family situation.
Seattle
School fires, seemingly minor, started by youths later
assessed as complex firesetters with significant
emotional ...
Delinquent Firesetting
Characteristics
 Usually teenaged
 Often carry a lighter at all
times for no good reason
 Fire m...
Delinquent Firesetting
Influencing Factors:
 Limited family support and/or involvement
 Often risk-takers or kids who co...
School dumpster fire
Flammable liquid fire
Seattle
Group of adolescent boys
shot a bottle rocket onto
neighbor’s front porch.
Seattle
Port-a-potty fire
Strategic Firesetting
Characteristics
 Usually teenaged
 May use fire to get even or to
attack someone—premeditated.
 U...
Seattle
Intentionally set
fire on porch of
targeted
household.
Seattle
Stolen vehicle fire. Likely
juvenile gang related.
Pathological Firesetting
Characteristics








Usually teenaged
Rare, with medical or neurological considerations...
What Works
to Stop
Firesetting?
Things we know that don’t stop firesetting
Seattle’s
Intervention
Model
Effective
Intervention
to stop firesetting behavior
IDENTIFY YOUTH
who show unsafe fire behavior
Perform an accurate
FIRE NEEDS ASSESSMENT
Involve a COMMUNITY NETWORK
of referral sources & service providers.
Provide quality
FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION.
Provide quality
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES
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
COMMON

FACTORS
addressed with fire safety education
Low or inaccurate
FIRE KNOWLEDGE
Lack of FIRE SAFETY information
Awareness of CONSEQUENCES
Responsible choice-making skills
FIRE SAFETY
EDUCATION
SHOULD BE
Appropriate for age &
developmental level
Do-able & targeted
to knowledge gaps
Relevant to the
learners

Culturally
competent
Focused on
improving fire safety
Provide the tools
to learn & practice
fire safety
CHALLENGE?
Lisa Van Horn
SOS Fires.org
lisajvanhorn@gmail.com
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting

455 views

Published on

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

Published in: Education, Health & Medicine
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Introduction to Child & Adolescent Firesetting

  1. 1. Introduction to Child & Adolescent { Lisa Van Horn Seattle Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division SOS FIRES, Youth Intervention Programs Firesetting
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 6. Characteristics of Firesetting Gender  Mostly males (>75%)  Increasing percentage for females 13-17 years
  7. 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. 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. 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. 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. 11. Firesetting Typologies Curiosity Expressive Delinquent Strategic Pathological
  12. 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. 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. 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. 15. Seattle Fire set by five year old boy playing with novelty lighter while mother slept. Eight people displaced.
  16. 16. Seattle Double fatality fire by five year old boy playing with lighter while mother slept.
  17. 17. Seattle Fire caused by teen lighting fireworks outside a family home daycare.
  18. 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. 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. 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. 21. Seattle Bed fire set by young boy assessed with complex firesetting behavior.
  22. 22. Seattle House fire started by 14 year old girl with gasoline in response to family situation.
  23. 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. 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. 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. 26. School dumpster fire
  27. 27. Flammable liquid fire
  28. 28. Seattle Group of adolescent boys shot a bottle rocket onto neighbor’s front porch.
  29. 29. Seattle Port-a-potty fire
  30. 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. 31. Seattle Intentionally set fire on porch of targeted household.
  32. 32. Seattle Stolen vehicle fire. Likely juvenile gang related.
  33. 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. 34. What Works to Stop Firesetting?
  35. 35. Things we know that don’t stop firesetting
  36. 36. Seattle’s Intervention Model
  37. 37. Effective Intervention to stop firesetting behavior
  38. 38. IDENTIFY YOUTH who show unsafe fire behavior
  39. 39. Perform an accurate FIRE NEEDS ASSESSMENT
  40. 40. Involve a COMMUNITY NETWORK of referral sources & service providers.
  41. 41. Provide quality FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION.
  42. 42. Provide quality BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES
  43. 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. 44. COMMON FACTORS addressed with fire safety education
  45. 45. Low or inaccurate FIRE KNOWLEDGE
  46. 46. Lack of FIRE SAFETY information
  47. 47. Awareness of CONSEQUENCES
  48. 48. Responsible choice-making skills
  49. 49. FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION SHOULD BE
  50. 50. Appropriate for age & developmental level
  51. 51. Do-able & targeted to knowledge gaps
  52. 52. Relevant to the learners Culturally competent
  53. 53. Focused on improving fire safety
  54. 54. Provide the tools to learn & practice fire safety
  55. 55. CHALLENGE?
  56. 56. Lisa Van Horn SOS Fires.org lisajvanhorn@gmail.com

×