TAPP-C in Grey Bruce
The Arson Prevention Program for Children
Children's fascination with fire begins at an early age. Although curiosity about fire is natural, fire-play is downright dangerous. Playing with fire or setting fires can have devastating results, including the injury or death of the child responsible for the fire. The Arson Prevention Program for Children (TAPP-C) brings together fire service and counselling professionals to assist and support families with children and teens--ages 2 to 17--involved in fire-play. There is no charge for the services of TAPP-C.
What does fire-play include?:
- Playing with matches or lighters
- Playing with the stove, toaster or furnace
- Burning things such as toys, paper or garbage
- Starting a fire to destroy something or to hurt someone
Things to watch for:
- Lighters or matches go missing
- Matches or lighters are found among your child's belongings
- Burn marks on household items or your child's clothing or possessions
- Your child is overly interested in fire
Some Startling Facts:
- Fires are the leading cause of accidental deaths and injuries in the home.
- Fire-setting is a progressive behavior that can start at any age.
- Nationwide, children cause 50% of all structure fires.
- Children start 33% of all fatal fires in the home.
- Burns are the major cause of injuries and deaths among children.
- Teenagers are responsible for 50% of all arson arrests.
- 50% of all boys are involved in fire-setting to some degree sometime in their lifetime.
- Girls account for 10% of hardened fire-setters.
Firesetting presents a huge risk to children, their families and the community. A child's involvement with fire can start at any age and is often an indicator of other problems in the child's life. Fire-play can start out small and gradually escalate to larger and more serious fires that threaten the safety of the child and the family. Any fire involvement by a child should be dealt with IMMEDIATELY by the parents.
What is TAPP-C?:
TAPP-C is a program involving fire department and community agencies' professionals from across Ontario. TAPP-C provides strategies for effectively dealing with a child's matchplay or fire-play. The program also aims to understand the motivation behind the child's involvement with fire and to determine whether he/she is likely to continue this involvement.
The Goal of TAPP-C:
TAPP-C's goal is to reduce children's firesetting behaviour to ensure the safety of not only the children involved, but their families, too. Another goal is to reduce the number of fires set by young people and to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by those fires. Fire safety education and in-home fire-safety checks are offered by the local fire department.
How TAPP-C Works:
When required, the program provides assessment and treatment of the child from mental health professionals plus education in fire safety from trained fire safety personnel. TAPP-C not only assists the young firesetters, but also their families and caregivers through a raised awareness of the fire problem.
History and Success Rate:
For approximately 10 years, the TAPP-C Program has had a dramatic impact on fire loss statistics in many parts of the province. Surveys indicate that the repeat offender's rate or recidivism rate has dropped to almost zero in most cases. The Office of the Fire Marshal and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry are very encouraged by these results, and continue to actively promote and support the use of TAPP-C throughout Ontario.
In Grey and Bruce Counties...
In April 1998, TAPP-C was introduced to the two counties at an evening workshop presented by the Ontario Fire Marshals' Office and representatives of the Clarke Institute of Toronto. The attendees included possible stakeholders who could potentially come in contact with young firesetters. As a result, it was agreed by those in attendance that a mechanism was required to help identify and educate juvenile fire-setters and their families in Grey-Bruce.
In May 1998, the Counties of Bruce and Grey Steering Committee was formed. The committee is made up of representatives from the Fire and Police Services, Mental Health Agencies, Children's Aid Societies and both the Public and Separate School Boards of Education. The Steering Committee has worked on the development of a manual and staff training for those who will be using TAPP-C in the field. Part of the committee's mandate is to continue to meet on a regular basis to maintain the high level of quality service in the professional treatment of the program's users.
Protect your child from fire by following these safety tips:
Make sure young children are supervised by a responsible, mature person at all times.
Lock matches and lighters up where children can't reach them.
Install smoke alarms on all home levels and outside sleeping areas. Test them on a regular basis.
Create and rehearse a home fire escape route.
For More Help:
It takes only one match to seriously injure a person or destroy property. If your child has played with matches or fire, it is strongly recommended you contact one of the following agencies:
The Owen Sound Fire & Emergencies Department: 519-376-2512
Bruce Grey Children's Services: 519-371-4773
Children's Aid Society: 519-376-7893