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Texas Department of Insurance
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Fire Safety for Texas Youth

At the State Fire Marshal's Office, we don't put out fires, we work to keep them from ever happening. It's a tough job, and one that requires the help of schools and communities to be successful.

Fire-safety education, beginning at an early age, helps lessen risky behavior that could lead to a fire or injury. The State Fire Marshal's Office offers a variety of programs and services that promote fire-safe awareness and behavior among Texas' young people:

On the community level, the State Fire Marshal's Office recommends that schools report all fire-related incidents to their local fire department as part of a larger community effort to stop juvenile fire incidents.

Prompt and complete reporting assists in identifying inappropriate and unsafe uses of fire. It allows professional intervention, which includes educational training to prevent injury, loss of life and damage to property due to fire.

Students inappropriately use fire and fire tools for a variety of reasons. Most children have a natural curiosity about fire. However, because they lack fire safety skills and knowledge of fire behavior, this experimentation often results in fires with the highest death rate and dollar loss. Specialized fire safety training is successful treatment.

Some children, who have difficulty dealing with stress or are unable to cope with a crisis, may turn to fire as a way of expressing anger, confusion or fear. They also may set fires as a cry for help. For these kids treatment should address the firesetting behavior and the underlying stress or crisis.

Still others set fire to vandalize. These kids are usually adolescents who are strongly influenced by peers. Treatment will require that they take responsibility for their actions.

A very, very small number of children fall into the category referred to as psychopathological. These children suffer from severe mental illnesses. They are referred for psychotherapeutic services.

A fire department's intervention program handles each firesetting or fire start incident on an individual basis. Its staff can provide assessment, educational treatment and referral to additional service providers for children and families if indicated.

Most communities have adopted a fire code that requires the reporting of a fire, even though extinguished, to the fire department immediately. Communication between the school district and the fire department is vital to dealing appropriately with these critical issues.

If your school does not have guidelines for notifying the fire department of children misusing fire or possessing fire tools on campus, have your administrator contact the fire department or contact the State Fire Marshal's Office.

For more information, contact:

Last updated: 8/11/2023