Coffee Break Bulletin

YFIRES: Helping communities understand youth firesetting behaviors

Posted: Sept. 5, 2017

This Coffee Break Bulletin discusses how using the Youth Firesetting Information Repository and Evaluation System (YFIRES) can help to improve understanding of youth firesetting behavior.

child playing with a lighter

If your fire department investigates youth firesetting, you need to register for the YFIRES. This intervention resource was created to collect data and encourage comprehensive reporting to better understand youth firesetting behavior. The International Association of Fire Fighters Charitable Foundation’s Burn Fund hosts YFIRES.

Youth firesetting incidents are under-reported, and because of that, not well understood. YFIRES seeks to address this by:

  • Providing a central repository for the collection, dissemination and reporting of data and program experiences generated by youth firesetting behaviors.
  • Serving as a resource for data and information related to youth-set fires.
  • Improving standardization of the data collected in order to seek solutions to this national issue.

How YFIRES defines “youth firesetting behavior”

  • Youth ages 0 to 17, if they have been involved with a firesetting incident, misused fire, or used fire without the supervision or permission of a responsible adult.
  • Fire use/misuse includes match or lighter use without the ignition of other items, or the ignition of explosive devices including, but not limited to, fireworks and chemical/reactive explosive devices.

YFIRES contains a National Data Set and a Local Case Management Set. The National Data Set is de-identified, contains no medical information, and is shared into the national repository with no risk of breaching the confidentiality of a case. It contains 20 data elements that are fundamental components for better understanding youth firesetting behaviors.

YFIRES also serves as a Local Case Management system. A remaining data set of approximately 155 data elements is used for storing confidential case information. These elements are optional and can be used completely or partially. The data set is controlled by and only visible to the individual program users, and it may contain some personal and health-related information voluntarily provided by users.

Youth firesetting intervention programs, both within and outside of the fire service, are welcomed to register for YFIRES.

Guides and video tutorials are available to help you learn about the system. The person initiating the registration becomes the “Program Administrator.” Each program can only have one program administrator, but a program administrator can assign “Program Users” and “Data Retrievers” who have different levels of access to case information.

Action steps for improving your understanding of youth firesetting behavior

  1. Register for YFIRES and use it as your data management system.
  2. Apply for National Fire Academy courses on youth firesetting prevention and intervention.

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