Fire Safety Education
According to the National Fire and Protection Association, fires started by youth accounted for an average of 49,300 fires with associated losses of 80 civilian deaths, 860 civilian injuries, and $235 million in direct property damage per year between 2007-2011. Fire safety education is effective in reducing recidivism. Educating as many youth as possible will reduce risk and expense for the community. A collaboration of fire, law enforcement, mental healthcare providers and social service agencies; NoFIRES is committed to providing a consistent, coordinated and appropriate response to youths under the age of 18, who set fires or engage in fire-related behavior.
The components of this approach include intervention, education and prevention, and referrals for clinical treatment and counseling and/or to service agencies.
How It Works
When there is a fire-related incident involving a youth, they are referred to the NoFIRES program. It is not required that charges be pending to participate in the program. NoFIRES is a referral-based program, and accepts referrals from the following sources:
- State and local police departments
- District Attorneys’ Offices
- Fire departments
- Court personnel
- Department of Children and Families
- Department of Mental Health
- Medical & Mental Health Providers
- Other social service agencies
- Parent/Guardian/Foster Parent
A screening interview of the youth and the youth’s family will be conducted and a determination will follow as to whether the child is an appropriate candidate for the program. In addition, a Life Safety Inspection is conducted in the home to ensure the safety of the family. If the child is determined to be suitable for the program, a fire safety educational intervention program will be recommended. Referrals may also be made to social services agencies and/or for clinical mental health counseling and treatment. The NoFIRES Fire Safety School usually consists of 3-5 classes which run approximately 2 hours each, depending on the program and needs of the child. The program focuses on preventing further fire-related incidents by encouraging the youth to adopt safe and healthy behaviors associated with fire.
The NoFIRES program is based on collaboration between different disciplines. Our strength is grounded in the participation of the following agencies:
Amherst Fire Department, Amherst Police Department, Amherst Regional Schools, Athol Fire Department, Chesterfield Fire Department, Clinical and Support Options, Department of Children & Families, Easthampton Fire Department, Easthampton Police Department, Franklin Clinical Liaison, Holyoke Fire Department, Granby Fire Department, Greenfield Fire Department, Greenfield Police Department, Montague Police Department, Northeast Center for Youth and Families, Northampton Fire
Department, Northampton Police Department, Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Springfield Fire Department, Turners Falls Fire Department, Ware Police Department, Massachusetts State Fire Marshall’s Office, and Massachusetts State Police.