OUR MISSION IS TO REDUCE THE FIRE SETTING ACTIVITIES OF YOUTH IN MIDDLESEX COUNTY
REFERRAL FOR TREATMENT
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED OR SUSPECT A CHILD IS SETTING FIRES ... CALL "FIREWATCH"
732-745-4049, 9 AM - 4 PM, MONDAY - FRIDAY
FIRE SETTING MYTHS
Myth: "It is normal for children to play with fire."
Fact: While curiosity about fire is common, fire play or setting is not, and it can be deadly.
Myth: "It is a phase that he will grow out of."
Fact: It is not a phase. You must deal with it immediately or it will continue.
Myth: "If you burn his hand, they will stop."
Fact: If you burn your child, they will be scarred, that's all. You must address the real reason for the fire before the child will stop.
WHO CAN MAKE A REFERRALTO THE FIREWATCH PROGRAM?
Parents or guardians, teachers, police, courts, child protection workers – anyone who is concerned about a child's fire setting.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE A REFERRAL IS MADE?
Fire service personnel affiliated with the FireWatch Program will explain the program, and then schedule an interview for both you and your child.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE INTERVIEW?
There are three types of fire setting, and a different strategy is used to stop each type. The interviewer's questions help identify which type, in order to make a good recommendation about education or counseling.
IS THIS INTERVIEWCONFIDENTIAL?
The information is shared only with those authorized in writing. No child becomes part of any law enforcement investigation because of FireWatch participation. However, a child who commits delinquent fire setting cannot be shielded from proper law enforcement investigation, and FireWatch information relevant to a specific investigation can be forwarded to the proper authorities.
WHO PROVIDES FOLLOW-UP HELP AFTER THE INTERVIEW?
If the interviewer recommends that the child receive education, the FireWatch Program provides it. If mental health counseling is recommended, you receive the names, addresses, and phone numbers of local counselors who understand the problem and provide the right help.
You Can Prevent Most Fire Setting:
1. Teach very young children that fire is a tool we use to cook food or heat the home. It is not magic. It is dangerous and only for adults to use carefully. (Use the example of driving a car or using power tools.)
2. Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of very young children. Even a two-year-old can easily work a cigarette lighter.
3. Have children bring matches to you and reward them or praise them when they do.
4. If an older child is curious about matches, show him the proper and safe way to use them. Explain why it is important to use matches only when needed and with an adult present.
5. Set a good example: always be careful with matches and fire. Keep your home fire safe and let your children help you.
Freeholder Blanquita B. Valenti, Chairperson
Melyssa Lewis, Director
Lori Dillon, Division Head
Wanda Dillon, Division Head, Division of Children's Services
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