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The Burn Institute spotlights Youth Firesetter Prevention


Last updated 5/20/2020 at 5:17pm

SAN DIEGO – The Burn Institute of San Diego and Imperial counties cast a spotlight on Youth Firesetter Prevention during National Arson Awareness Week, May 3-9. This week is set aside each year to raise awareness about the seriousness of this crime and to help educate adults and children about the true cost of arson.

Susan Day, executive director of The Burn Institute, stressed the importance of fire and burn prevention education in the community.

“Early intervention is critical when a child is engaged in the dangerous behavior of setting fires,” Day said. “A child may be curious and experimenting with fire play, or there could be an underlying trauma that causes the youth to use fire with intent; either way, the consequences are life-threatening and a public hazard.”

Arson fires are preventable through education and awareness, such as the Burn Institute’s Youth Firesetter Intervention Program and Fire Safe Kid website.

The Burn Institute is committed to creating and maintaining a fire-safe community. Through education, staff can assist children who set fires or are at risk. They seek to empower youth and their families to make better decisions.

To request help from this program, call 858-541-2277 or visit

According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated 210,300 fires are intentionally set each year. Losses resulting from these fires included approximately 375 civilian deaths, 1,300 civilian injuries and $1 billion in direct property damage. The incidence of these fires typically peaks in March and April and again in July.

A few factors tend to influence firesetting in the youth.

Easy access to lighters and matches – In many homes where a child or adolescent was involved in starting a fire, they easily discovered the matches or lighter or knew exactly where to find them. If someone in the home smokes, they should always keep matches or lighter in their pocket or in other secure locations. Inform the child that they will be randomly checking their pockets, backpacks and rooms for matches and lighters.

Lack of supervision – Providing supervision is important. Parents are often shocked to learn their child was engaged in firesetting over a prolonged period of time.

Failure to practice fire safety – Young children, teens and parents often lack an understanding of the dangers associated with firesetting and safety rules about fire. Have clear rules rather than relying on vague threats or warnings.

Easy access to information on the internet – Technology has made explicit media available to youths about many dangerous and often illegal activities for them to replicate. 

For more information on the Burn Institute, visit

Submitted by the Burn Institute.


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