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Articles of Interest

The articles listed are not necessarily the opinion of SOS FIRES. We present these to offer the most balanced perspective on youth firesetting behaviors we can.

  • National Youth Firesetting Database Project Update – The International Association of Fire Firefighters has secured grant funding to develop this much needed resource. The project is currently in “phase II” and this report provides a look at the progress to date and what the immediate future holds. Contact SOS FIRES for additional information (
  • Oregon Health Sciences University ADHD Research – This is a summary newspaper article on emerging research on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It discusses new subcategories within the diagnosis that is compelling information to consider.
  • How To Help Scouts With ADHD Succeed – by Kathy Seal – This article is a reprint from “Scouting” Magazine – January/February 2014. It Explains how adults can effectively work with youth (specifically in Scouting) to help them be successful.
  • Intervention With Games – by Karen Johnston LCSWR, Robert Gitelson LCSW, and Christine Krause Psy.D. – This article discusses a board game used for intervention and treatment of firesetting behavior. Games have been used in various ways over the past. Learn how these professionals developed their approach to this idea.
  • An Examination of Juvenile Firesetting and the Reasons Kids Set Fires – by Scott Burlin – This article examines the motivational characteristics of kids firesetting behaviors. It will explore and compare previous categorization of motivations using a population of firesetting youth in a noted program.
  • When Do Children Know Better? – by Don Porth – Consider the statement often uttered by parents, “…he knew better than to play with fire.” If the child knew better, they would not engage in the behavior. This article offers some reasons why children may not really know better.
  • A Tangled Web: Responders Struggle to Stop Juvenile Firesetting – by Dali Hoover – Reprinted from the professional journal “Every Second Counts,” this article highlights the opinions of professionals across the United States regarding the challenges of todays programming.
  • Lighter Sales Ordinance Example – by Harlan Lundstrom – A town in Minnesota has found a way to enact an ordinance limiting the sales of lighters to children. Is this a step your community could take? Is a ban on novelty lighters really enough?
  • Young People with Matches and Lighters: What Should We Call It? – by Paul Schwartzman – What terminology should be used to describe children who (mis)use fire? In some cases, the resulting definitions benefit information gathering on these youth. In other cases it limits the options available to children. Read this article and find out how to have your opinion heard.
  • You Can Prevent A Child’s First Fire – by Carolyn E. Kourofsky, Robert Crandall, and Robert Cole – Who is in the best position to prevent a child from playing with fire? How about the front line firefighter. The professionals at Fireproof Children Inc. believe this and have many years of experience to back up their opinion. This article shares important tools to help kids be safe.
  • There Are No Medals For Common Sense – by Vina Drennan – John Drennan, husband of Vina and New York City Fire Department Captain, died from burns sustained in a fire. Seeing that this could have been prevented, Mrs. Drennan has become an outspoken advocate for fire prevention programs, which must begin with the fire service. This article shares Mrs. Drennan’s perspective on this topic.
  • A False Sense of Security – by Paul Bahr – This thesis paper investigates the issues which contribute to young children accessing and using lighters. This Australian perspective demonstrates the global nature of the firesetting problem.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder and Firesetting: The Connection – by Carol Rea – ADD and firesetting behavior are often seen together. Is this really true or simply a myth. This article offers some perspective about the connections some have seen between these two circumstances.
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Firesetting – by Don Porth – ADHD and youth firesetting have come to be a complicated discussion. Little has been done to connect or disconnect the two concerns. Consider this article as you work with and consider the connection between these circumstances.
  • Lighters: The Fire Source of Choice – by R.H. (Rusty) Foerger – This article discusses the relationship of lighters to youth firesetting behavior. Just how much do lighters influence firesetting behavior? Consider the information in this article.
  • The Truth About Arson – by John Hall Jr. – This article is reprinted from the November/December 1998 edition of NFPA Journal. Explore this important issue about arson and how it relates to children. Particular note should be given to the age of the children discussed in this article. What age does constitute “arson?”
  • Is Your Program a MATCH for Firesetters? – by Rick Van Marter-Sanders – This article discusses the labels associated with firesetting behavior and the comprehensive management of the behavior from a treatment provider perspective.