What is Y-FIRE?
Youth Y-FIRE coalitions are geared to help boys and girls (up to age 17) that are involved in unsupervised, experimental, mischievous, or illegal use of fire.
Each year fire statistics for Kansas show hundreds of reported incidents - and many more incidents go unreported. Consider the following incidents from the 2001-2002 Kansas Fire Incident Reports:
- Two tragic house fires in one holiday weekend claimed the lives of two adults and five children. Both fires were caused by children playing with matches and candles.
- A rural central Kansas home was destroyed when a child playing with matches in his bedroom started a fire.
- A 7-year-old child who was playing with a cigarette and a lighter died when a camper he was in caught fire.
- A Kansas teen was sentenced for arson and tried as an adult after burning down an abandoned house on Halloween.
- Two girls, ages 10 and 11, were arrested and charged with aggravated arson after setting a fire in a trash can. Both girls were linked by police to three more intentionally set fires. One caused an estimated $5,000 in damages.
A number of resources are available through Y-FIRE coalitions to help promote fire safety. Among these are ideas and tips for fire prevention, home safety checklists, brochures, community awareness presentations, smoke detector education, and home exit drills.
Intervention for youths already known to have dangerous firesetting habits can take many forms. Because each community has different resources available to it, each Y-FIRE coalition will be different. Intervention can take the form of:
- Education - Firesafety Academies, Age-Appropriate Lesson Plans, and Peer Training Opportunities
- Juvenile Justice - Court Referral, Diversion Programs, Victim Offender Mediation, Teen Court Referral, Community Service, and Restitution Programs Mental Health - Referral to Counseling Services, Referral to Inpatient Treatment Centers, Case Conferences, and Training for Mental Health Professionals
Many resources are available to Y-FIRE Coalitions through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. These resources include brochures, a video library, a Youth Program Resource Kit, audio tapes for preschoolers, program development materials, and information and technical services. Lists of available resources.
Instruction is available both to juvenile firesetters and those who work to rehabilitate them. The Y-Fire Program is able to provide lesson ideas for Firesafety Academies, Y-FIRE Program Manuals, Train-The-Trainer workshops, seminars, conferences, community presentations, and several curriculum programs. These programs include Learn Not To Burn, Risk Watch (Injury Prevention Curriculum), Play Safe Be Safe (Firesafety Program), and the Junior Fire Marshal Program.
Youth Firesafety Program funding provided by the Kansas State Fire Marshal.