Youth Fire Intervention Program

In partnership with the Mercy  Burn Unit and the Ozarks Counseling Center, the Springfield Fire Department can refer youth fire setters for a free counseling and intervention session to help prevent future fires or injuries.  Referrals can come from parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, public safety agencies, and through court systems.  This program provided assistance to 22 in 2020.


  • 75% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 experiment with fire.
  • The median age children begin experimenting with fire is 5.
  • 53% of all arson arrests are children.
  • For every 100 people who die in fires in the United States, 24 are killed because of children playing with fire.

    Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Girl holding long match

Prevention Tips

  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight.
  • Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children.
  • If your child expresses curiosity about fire, calmly but firmly explain that matches and lighters are tools for adults only.
  • Use only lighters designed with child-resistant features. Remember, child-resistant does not mean child proof.
  • Teach children to tell an adult if they see matches or lighters.
  • Never leave matches or lighters in a place where children may go without supervision.
  • If you suspect your child is intentionally setting fires or playing with fire, get help. (see below)
    Source: National Fire Protection Association