Firewise intervention scheme | Oxfordshire County Council

Firewise intervention scheme

A scheme to help reduce the number of children starting fires.

The Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Firewise Intervention Scheme began in 1996. It was recognised that fires started by youths of all ages is a problem across the county. Whether the result of a curious child playing with matches, a child seeking attention, or the malicious act of a troubled teenager, every fire poses a danger to both lives and property.

The scheme aims to help educate youth who have already shown interest in fire or may be likely to. By understanding the circumstances which lead to children setting fires and then looking at the potential consequences of their actions, we aim to reduce the chances of children in Oxfordshire starting fires and causing injury to themselves and others.

The signs of fire setting

  • Small burn holes in carpets, charred paper in sinks and waste bins.
  • Matches or lighters hidden in youths' cupboards, drawers or under their beds.
  • An unusual fascination with fire.
  • Unknown fires in the home.

How the scheme works

If you have any concerns call our coordinator on 01865 842999. They will discuss your particular situation and assess what action should be taken.

It may be that a selection of literature is enough, in most cases a visit by our specially trained Firewise Advisors is deemed appropriate.

Firewise Advisors

The scheme is staffed by trained personnel from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and is run in conjunction with other agencies across Oxfordshire.

Each Firewise Advisor undergoes a specialist training course and receives regular refresher training.

What happens next

The Firewise Advisor will make an appointment to visit. The visit would normally take place in the home but arrangements can be made to meet at another location where the young person feels comfortable. The meeting will discuss the dangers and potential risks posed by fire. Two advisors who will use their personal experiences, photographs and videos to how the child the problems and consequences associated with playing with fire, will carry out the visit. The duration and number of the visits may vary depending on the circumstances and problems involved.

  • Make your home safe for children.
  • Never leave your child alone in the house.
  • Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Never assume toddlers or infants are incapable of lighting a match or lighter.
  • Explain fire is dangerous and only adults can deal with it - for older children teach the appropriate uses of fire, like candles on a cake, but only to be used under adult supervision.
  • Teach your children to 'Stop, Drop and Roll' if their clothes start to catch fire.

Fire safety checklist for the whole family

  • Install and maintain a working smoke alarm.
  • Discuss and implement a home escape plan.
  • In case of fire, Call 999, Get Out, Stay Out!

Firewise Coordinator, Christine Barefield
Tel: 01865 842999

Further information

For more fire safety information, please contact the Community Safety team:
Freephone: 08000 325999

Last reviewed
05 April 2017

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