SOS FIRES: Youth Intervention Programs Technical Assistance Project (2001)

Brian Saylor, PhD, MPH
Gary Hughes, EdD


In an effort to shed light on the juvenile fire setting issue and provide an effective tool for prevention programs across North America, SOS FIRES has commissioned an analysis of the behavioral and demographic aspects of child fire setting to determine thinking errors made by children who have misused fire. Experiences currently documented in Portland, Oregon and Anchorage, Alaska support this data and show that child-set fires may account for as much as 10-15% of the total fires experienced by those communities.


The Institute for Health Studies provided technical assistance, including data entry and database and file management in support of this ongoing research project. This assistance was completed in June 2001.


The results of the Fire Stoppers Project are intended to provide valuable insight into the psychological, sociological, and environmental dynamics related to children who engage in fire setting. The results are also intended to provide a blueprint for the development of educational programs that should prevent much of the child fire setting behavior from occurring in the first place. SOS FIRES anticipates that these findings will become valuable tools for fire and life safety educators across North America.


An intended outcome will be a universal database that will include common data fields utilized by the collective project participants. This database will become available for any program looking to collect data for program evaluation or tracking purposes.