Volume 3 Number 51
December 18, 2006

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Representatives from nearly 60 fire safety agencies from 35 Florida counties gathered for a free one-day Juvenile Firesetter Skills Building Workshop provided by the State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, along with the National Association of State Fire Marshals and Fireproof Children, an educational group.

“The children of Florida are our most precious asset,” said State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher. “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect them from the dangers of fire, and providing training and resources to our fire safety personnel is an important part of that mission.”

The workshop, being held at the Florida State Fire College located at 11655 NW Gainesville Road in Ocala, is designed as a basic/entry level discussion to enhance and refresh the skills of experienced personnel and individuals who are not familiar with Juvenile Firesetter Programs. The workshop includes lectures, videos, role-playing and participant interaction with a focus on:

• Building a foundation of knowledge regarding children and fire
• Reviewing the components of a structured interview from start to finish
• Reviewing communication skills and interview strategies
• Developing additional skills for handling difficult interview situations
• Learning how to present age-appropriate fire education to children and their families
• Networking with fire service, law enforcement and community organizations to provide prevention and intervention services to children and their families

Last year, the State Fire Marshal’s office investigated 129 Florida fires that were started by juveniles ranging in age from 5 to 18 years, and those investigations led to 99 juvenile arrests.