Juvenile Firesetting Prevention: Building Coalitions

Issue 1 and Volume 163.

BY FRANK McGARRY, ROBERT E. COLE, ROBERT CRANDALL, AND CAROLYN E. KOUROFSKY It was a different kind of training from the start. The workshop’s participants included not only fire service members but also social work and mental health professionals and representatives of a wide range of community organizations. In many cases, the state fire marshal had personally asked them to take part. Instead of just hearing a “how-to” lecture, they worked in small groups on case studies that challenged them to create solutions for preventing and dealing with juvenile firesetting. Rather than just hearing, “You should all work together,” participants found out they wanted to work together as groups, learning how other disciplines perceived the same issues and what resources and expertise they had to offer. One firefighter, frustrated with an uncooperative firesetter and family, felt his department had no option but to wait for the next fire. A social…

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