Tackling the issues behind fire setting

15 July 2021

Public, Community

When reports of fire setting among young people come in to Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), a specialist team is on hand to offer support and mentor to those involved, along with their families, at what can be a really difficult time. 

Whether they’re setting fires or showing a desire to do so, the KFRS firesetters team is there to understand the behaviour, educate them about the dangers and consequences, and ultimately keep them safe.

KFRS Firesetters Supervisor, Anna, said: “We spend a lot of time getting to know our young people, seeking to understand what’s brought them to us, why they’re doing what they’re doing, and then we tailor an intervention around that. We keep working with them until we feel we’ve educated them to a point where they know the dangers of firesetting, and are no longer deemed a risk to themselves and others.

“When we first meet our young people we don’t always understand immediately why they’re behaving the way that they are, but we find if you go in with compassion and an open mind, it helps us help them. 

“By providing a safe and neutral space for them to open up and express their thoughts and feelings, we’re able to really support them and their families effectively.”

Referrals or requests for help from the team usually come from professional agencies, or concerned parents or guardians. Following a referral, the team works to build a rapport with the young person and their family, before carrying out sessions and mentoring, tailored to the specific situation. This can be carried out at home, in a school, or in another safe environment. 

Anna added: “We will never approach a young person in a negative manner, and the focus is always on keeping them and the people around them safe. We are kind, compassionate and judgement free throughout.

“I’m so proud to do my job, it’s very rewarding and there are so many occasions where I feel I’ve made a difference to young people’s lives.”

For more information about accessing the support of the firesetters team email firesetters@kent.fire-uk.org. Alternatively, you can call 01622 692121 and ask for the firesetters intervention team.