Listen to Radio New Zealand's journalist Sue Ingram as she investigate FAIP.
Sue interviews children, their family, psychologists, police, schools and FAIP members as she explores why children are involved in fire lighting and how FAIP helps children overcome this behaviour.
The New Zealand Fire Service is committed to reducing the incidence and consequence of fire.
Significant Fire Safety goals are to:
- Increase public awareness of the dangers of fire
- Employ the best methods for preventing and reducing the effects of fire
The FAIP programme is in accordance with the duties of the New Zealand Fire Service under Part II of the New Zealand Fire Service Act:
…"to promote fire safety, reduce the incidence of fire and the risk to life and property."
FAIP is a preventative strategy to deal proactively with the problem of fire setting by children and young persons. In New Zealand children and young persons are over represented among offenders. In 2009 63% of apprehensions were under 17 years old.
The Fire Service provides a specialist intervention programme for children and young persons who set fires. The aim of the programme is to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and millions of dollars of property damage caused by juvenile fire setting. It is not to make the client feel guilty, but to educate so they know the dangers of fire, the speed it spreads, and how easily accidents happen.
The programme content and delivery varies according to the age and maturity of the client.
A trained FAIP Practitioner usually visits the client’s home for the intervention. A critical part of the programme is developing trust. The practitioner helps both the client and parents become aware of fire safety issues. The intervention breaks the cycle of bad fire practises by using education material in the form of workbooks, photo books. DVDs, and firefighter experiences. The programme can also help the client to undergo a positive behavioural change.
Approximately 700 children and young people go through this programme each year.
Referrals are received from a variety of sources: e.g. parents/caregivers, schools, firefighters, Children’s Mental Health, Police Youth Aid, Justice department. The programme is delivered free of charge and participation is voluntary except where the child has been referred by Police or a court.
New Zealand law includes both intentional or reckless damage by fire as arson. FAIP experience shows that many fires started by young people were not with a malicious intent but often because of a lack of understanding of fire growth potential consequences of their actions. While the intent may be different the impact of their actions still has serious and at times fatal ramifications.