What is the difference between the current Youth Set Fire program and Fire Hawks?
Fire Hawks was a brand name for a program that began in the 80’s utilizing a mentor to work with the youth involved in the firesetting. It was originally designed for single parent households in an effort to provide children with a positive role model. The program was originally oriented on the child’s behavior and now broadened to include the family and community. With changing needs and demographics of the children, families and communities, the program evolved with a focus on building a collaborations with community, regional services to be able to provide the best care for both youth and family. The new program meets the criteria outlined in the National Fire Protection Association (NFA) Standard 1035.
Who can start a program?
Anyone can start a program but positive motivation is not enough. Properly trained personnel deliver the highest quality services, know how to support children, youth and families from diverse cultures, and minimize liability to themselves and their service. The successful/effective interventionist manifest the following characteristics (specified by the NFA Standard 1035):
  1. Has received the Youth Set Fire Prevention and Intervention training developed by the National Fire Academy.
  2. Strong desire to work with fire setting children and youth, and families from diverse cultures.
  3. Excellent listening and communication skills necessary to deal effectively with children, youth and families, educate the community and work effectively with other partners.
  4. An understanding of fire safety, the ability to work with various stakeholders in the community and effective intuition and creativity.
  5. Basic understanding of child development, including how children learn and how to motivate clients for growth.
  6. Prior experience working with children gives the interventionist an advantage.
  7. Any criminal or child protective services involvement will not pose a risk to children involved in the program.
How do interested parties get the training?
The National Fire Academy (NFA) Youth Firesetting Prevention and Intervention training is offered through the Connecticut Fire Academy.  This training is also offered directly through the NFA and offered in most states. The curriculum follows the criteria outlined in the Fire and Life Safety Educator training based on NFA Standard 1035. Dates and details of the training can be found at the following site.
How many people are needed to have a program?
NFA identifies two components to the program. Individuals that work directly with the youth called the Interventionist and someone who provides the administrative oversight for the program. These functions can be completed by one person. All programs should have the following support to enhance sustainability of the program.
  1. Fire Department approval
  2. Support from Administration
  3. Funding
  4. Town/ Regional support
  5. Community Partnerships
  6. Location to meet with youth
  7. Infrastructure to collect data
  8. Administrative support
 If you are a Fire Marshal and don’t have a program who can you call?
Support is offered by contacting:
  • Brian Mello
    Coordinator of Juvenile Firesetting Program
    Connecticut Fire Academy

  • Ann Adams
    Program Director
    Connecticut Department of Children and Families