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					                            Juvenile Fire
                            Prevention Task Force
                            VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1                         WINTER 2004

                            Monroe County Juvenile Fire Prevention Task Force

                            Prevention and Education Are The Goals                                             BY FRED RION

Special points of           The purpose of this newsletter    to establish effective preven-     their practices to address these
interest:                   will be to inform and educate     tive measures when it comes        problems of youth as well as
                            professionals, parents and all    to children and the problem        provide a network of re-
· Safety & Prevention       parties who are interested in     of fire setting.                   sources in our community to
                            working with children and                                            work with children and fami-
                            families and some of the diffi-                                      lies.
· Treatment Resources in    cult issues facing that popula-   As our group has worked
                            tion today.                       together over the last 2 years,
  OUR Community
                                                              we have discovered that fire
                            This newsletter is being
· Up To Date Research                                         setting is one of many prob-
                            brought to you by the Monroe
                                                              lems and issues facing the
· Safety Tips               County Juvenile Fire Preven-
                                                              youth of our community. As
· Educational Information
                            tion Task Force and Monroe
                                                              we made this discovery, the
                            County Fire Bureau. The
                                                              various members of our
                            Task Force was formed in late
                                                              group, each with an expertise
                            2001. The Juvenile Fire Pre-
                                                              of their own has worked on
                            vention Task Force is a group
                                                              approaches to address various
                            of professionals and parents
                                                              issues from fire setting, bully-
                            from the community who are
                                                              ing and others.
                            committed to research and
                            education about the commu-
 Inside this
                            nity-wide problem of fire
 issue:                                                       With this newsletter we hope
                            prone children and their mis-
                                                              to share with our readers in-
                            use/abuse of fire. Our goal is
                                                              formation that they can use in
 Megan’s Law            2

 Child Health Plus      2
                            Infant/Child Passenger Safety Informational Class
                            Contributed by Roberta Ames / Monroe County Public Safety

 On-Line Course         2
                            ViaHealth offers an Infant/       cle. The class also provides       To register call
                            Child Passenger Safety Infor-     product safety information
 Juvenile Firesetting   3                                                                               1-877-922-LINK
                            mation Class each month at        and child walker and gate
                            Rochester General Hospital.       safety.
 Candle Safety          3   The class is taught by a certi-
                            fied Child Passenger Safety
 Crisis in Language     3   Technician and educates the       The cost of the course is $15
                            community on the importance       per couple. Individual insur-
 Cable Access Program   4   of proper installation of child   ance may cover some of the
                            passenger restraints in a vehi-   course cost.
PAGE 2 MONROE COUNTY                                                                      JUVENILE FIRE PREVENTION TASK FORCE

Megan’s Law                     Contributed by Deputy Daniel Lyon / Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

Megan’s Law was named after Megan                tion can only be done if convicted of cer-      For more specific information regarding
Kanka, a 7 year old who was victimized by        tain sex offenses. Only certain informa-        risk levels, a list of the offenses that re-
a sex offender in New Jersey in 1994. The        tion about the offender will be released to     quire reporting or other information about
law mandates all states to create a registry     the community based upon the risk level         Megan’s Law call 1-900-288-3838 or visit
of sex offenders for tracking purposes for       he/she is assigned. The local magistrate        www.criminaljustice.state.ny.us or visit the
local law enforcement agencies. In New           assigns the risk level after reviewing the      Monroe County Sheriff’s website at
York State this law is specifically called the   provisions outlined by the NYS Board of         www..monroecountysheriff.info.
Sex Offender’s Registration Act. The law         Sex Offender Examiners. The Risk Levels
covers the release of information on con-        range from 1-3 with 1 being the lowest risk
victed and released sex offenders. The           and 3 being the highest. Level 1 & 2 of-
release of the offenders personal informa-       fenders are required to register for a period
                                                 of 10 years and level 3 offenders must
                                                 register for a minimum of 10 years and are
                                                 obligated to report to law enforcement
                                                 every 90 days. Personal information on an
                                                 offender can only be given to what is con-
                                                 sidered a VULNERABLE POPULA-
                                                 TION, such as schools, day cares, etc.

Healthy Children Make Healthy Communities                                                 By M. Rick Page /Rush Henrietta

                      CHILD                      doctors’ offices; laboratory tests and          Customer Service Department at
                      HEALTH                     x-rays; eye care; speech and hearing
                                                                                                 585-546-3559 or 800-650-4359 or the
                      PLUS is New                services; dental care; prescription
                                                                                                 school nurse at your child’s school.
                      York’s free or             drugs; emergency medical care; inpa-
                      very low cost              tient hospital care; selected outpatient
                      health insurance           services; non-prescription drugs; dura-
                      for children               ble medical equipment; inpatient men-
                      from birth                 tal health; and alcohol and substance
                      through age 18,            abuse treatment.
                      who are not
                      covered by an-
                      other insurance            For more information regarding in-
plan. Benefits include well child                come guidelines and co-payments,
check-ups; immunizations; visits to              please call the Blue Cross Blue Shield

Juvenile Fire setting Course to be Offered On-Line
Monroe County Fire Bureau staff are              different modules and the learning will
in the process of developing the first           be asynchronous.
ever college level course to be offered
                                                 Also being looked at is the possibility
on the topic of Juvenile Fire setting.
                                                 of continuing education credits with
The course will be offered by Monroe             the ultimate goal of turning the course
Community College on line as part of             into a full semester course. For more
the League For Innovation in the                 information on Project Sail, visit
Community College/Project SAIL. At               www.league.org
present it appears the course will be a
12-15 hour on-line course broken into
 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1                                                                                                                  PAGE 3

 Is Juvenile Fire Setting a Problem?

 Unfortunately, not only is juvenile fire       ting concerns.                                   to assist the family to find the ongoing
 setting and fireplay a problem nation-                                                          services that they may need..
                                                So, why do children set fires? There
 wide, it is also a problem here in our
                                                are a number of reasons ranging from             Children misusing and abusing fire is a
 community. Nationally, over 65,000
                                                curiosity to anger, abuse/neglect to             serious and sometimes life threatening
 fires a year are started by children at a
                                                being victimized by a bully, and many            problem that should be dealt with
 cost of over $260 million in property
                                                others. Whatever the reason may be,              swiftly and appropriately.
 loss. Those are the fires that are re-
                                                each child who engages in such behav-
 ported. Research shows that it is                                                               If you have a child who has engaged in
                                                iors should be seen by a trained juve-
 more likely that children are responsi-                                                         the unsanctioned use of fire, no matter
                                                nile firesetter intervention specialist in
 ble for nearly 300 thousand fires a year                                                        how seemingly insignificant the event
                                                order to educate that child appropri-
 with a figure of over $2 billion in                                                             is, contact the Monroe County Fire
                                                ately on the dangers and consequences
 property loss. Locally in Monroe                                                                Bureau at 279-4050 to discuss the
                                                of their behavior. That officer will be
 County, between 500-600 children are                                                            matter. The service is FREE and all
                                                able to assess what that child’s motiva-
 seen yearly regarding juvenile fire set-                                                        information is kept confidential. (See
                                                tion for setting the fire is and be able
                                                                                                 program specific article on page 5).

   Candle Fires on the Rise                                (Condensed from NFPA report)

     A recent report from the Na-            (the most recent year for avail-         the candle or attempt to
     tional Fire Protection Agency           able statistics). Candle fires are       light them without adult         “… FIRES FROM
     cited that home fires from              more common around the holi-             supervision. For tips             CANDLES HAS
     candles has reached a 20-year           days, but many people also util-         on candle safety, con-           REACHED A     20-
     peak and that these fires have          ize candles year round, such as          tact the Monroe County           YEAR PEAK AND
     lead to 102 deaths and over             scented candles. The most com-           Fire Bureau at 279-4050            THESE FIRES
     1,400 injuries in 1999 alone.           mon problems are candles being           or visit NFPA on line at          HAVE LEAD TO
     The cost of those fires totaled         left unattended, abandoned, or           www.nfpa.org                    102 DEATHS AND
     $278 million in damage. The             inadequately controlled. Nearly
     number of candle fires has              25% of the time something was                                               OVER   1,400
     risen 20% from 1998 to 1999             left to close to the flame and                                             INJURIES,    …”
                                             often times, children play with

Youth & Fire: Everyone has a role; Do you know your part?                                                  By Paul Schwartzman

If we are going to be effective in pre-       promote community awareness and sensitiv-       have an influence on their communities. They
venting or appropriately intervening          ity to this concern. Teachers, Educators &      can establish policies to not sell unsafe materi-
with young people who have been in-           Daycare Providers have a unique under-          als to youth. Law Enforcement Agencies
volved with fireplay or fire setting be-      standing of youth development and can help      have the authority to investigate and help
                                              provide critical information to a broad range   young people be accountable for their behav-
havior, we need to have everyone un-
                                              of children to prevent fire mishaps before      ior. Mental Health Professionals help young
derstand their part. So, who are the          they happen. Parents are truly on the front
players and what is their part, check                                                         people and families understand what motivates
                                              line and can model fire safe behavior, create   behavior and learn skills to make safe life deci-
below to see if you see yourself. If not,     safe environments, teach respect for fire and   sions. Pediatricians can identify risk-taking
do not feel you do not have a role, add       supervise children to insure responsible be-    behaviors and have the trust of parents and
yourself to the list and help us to script    havior. The Media helps to inform the           children to educate and change behavior. Fi-
your part. Fire Service Professionals are     public, create awareness and disseminate        nally, Church Groups help youth and families
often the first to identify youth involvement important information about the issues that     develop moral standards and understand how
in fire as a first responder. They have the   threaten our children and how to keep them      their behavior impacts others.
respect of young and old and can help to      safe. Merchants & Business Associations
PAGE 4                                                                             JUVENILE FIRE PREVENTION TASK FORCE

Prevention Partner Profile
It was over 20 years ago that a volun-      ogy and work closely with law en-           officer with the Monroe County Fire
teer firefighter from the Town of           forcement and fire service regarding        Bureau. His is also an Emergency
Irondequoit began to realize that juve-     this problem.                               Management Consultant with Bow-
nile fire setting was a problem that                                                    Mac Industries, President of the Fin-
                                            John’s juvenile fire setting program
needed special attention. John Hall                                                     ger lakes Regional Burn Association
                                            was first utilized by the Irondequoit
began to look at the community prob-                                                    and is a retired fire marshal from the
                                            Police Department. Next, the Monroe
lem of juvenile fire setting and how to                                                 University of Rochester .
                                            County Sheriff’s Office sanctioned the
best approach it.
                                            program. Following that, the Monroe
 John began to research the issue of        County Fire Bureau picked up the
juvenile fire setting but found both        program as a major component of
locally and nationally, juvenile fire       their fire prevention efforts. John’s
setting was not something that was          efforts and insights have truly been
being addressed. Fireplay was being         the catalyst for other programs around
attributed to kids being kids. So, John     the country.
began to take courses in child psychol-
                                            John still works tirelessly as juvenile

Crisis in Language Development (Condensed From Original Report )

                       A recent study       different socioeconomic groups.             pears flat when compared to students
  “...   THE GROWTH    by Todd Risley,      Risely found that by the time children      from wealthier households.
       SLOPE OF        an education         from low-income households are 4
                                                                                        A summary of the research by Risely
                       researcher at        years old, they have been exposed to
  ACQUISITION FOR 4                                                                     and collaborator Betty Hart, a profes-
                       the University       nearly 40 million fewer words than
      YEAR-OLDS                                                                         sor at the University of Kansas was
                       of Alaska/           their more privileged peers. Also dis-
    APPEARS FLAT                                                                        featured in the Spring 2003 edition of
                       Anchorage &          covered was that the “extra” talk that
   WHEN COMPARED                                                                        American Educator and the article can
                       author of Mean-      more-advantaged children are exposed
  TO STUDENTS FROM                                                                      be found in the publications section of
                       ingful Differences   to is usually more complex, contains
      WEALTHIER                                                                         AFT Online at www.aft.org
                       in the Lives of      more vocabulary and is filled with
                       Young Children       more positive reinforcement. These
looked at the early vocabulary devel-       differences were found to be cumula-
opment in infants and toddlers. His         tive in that the growth slope of lan-
findings showed differences between         guage acquisition for 4 year-olds ap-

Safety Council of Upstate New York                                Contributed by Peter Mietus /Director of Safety Council

The Safety Council is back in Roches-       as the Monroe County Sheriff’s Of-          have questions, contact their Fairport
ter. The non-profit, non government         fice, American Society of Safety Engi-      office at (585) 223-3082 or visit them
regulated council has two offices, one      neers and OSHA to name a few.               online at www.safetycouncilny.org .
in E. Syracuse and the other in Fair-
                                            Recent Safety Council initiatives in-
                                            clude participating in a bike helmet
The Safety Council conducts classes         fitting at Rochester General Hospital,
and meets regarding a variety of safety     holding defensive driving classes and
issues, both relating to businesses and     featuring guest speakers at their
the general public. They have formed        monthly meetings. For more informa-
partnerships with such organizations        tion about the Safety Council or if you
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1                                                                                                                     PAGE 5

YOUTH EMERGENCY SERVICES AVAILABLE Contributed by Elizabeth Meeker, PsyD

Youth Emergency Services (YES) is                  The Mobile Crisis Team provides                be seen within 72 hours. Call the
a community collaborative providing                crisis assessment and intervention in          clinics directly to schedule an ap-
rapid access to comprehensive psy-                 the home, school or community. To              pointment.
chiatric emergency services for chil-              make a referral to the team call Life
                                                                                          Other services include emergency
dren and adolescents. YES is avail-                Line at 275-5151.
                                                                                          case management, Home Based Cri-
able to youth who experience serious
                                                   Crisis Specialists are located at five sis Intervention and residential crisis
emotional crisis such as suicidal and/
                                                   community mental health centers        beds. Community workshops on
or homicidal thoughts or gestures,
                                                   (Crestwood, Park Ridge Mental          suicide prevention, violence preven-
acute confusion, extreme agitation,
                                                   Health, Unity - Genesee St. Campus, tion, bullying and self-injury are also
self-destructive and high-risk behav-
                                                   Genesee Mental Health and Roches- available. For additional information
ior, and witness/victim of a traumatic
                                                   ter Mental Health). The Crisis Spe- on all YES services, please go to the
event. Services include crisis inter-
                                                   cialists provide short-term crisis     website at www.yesprogram.org or
vention, follow-up and referral.
                                                   counseling and linkage. Youth can contact Elizabeth Meeker, Psy.D.,
                                                                                          YES Program Manager at 613-7632.

Monroe County Fire Bureau’s Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program

There have been several articles devoted to        around him/her. Many children are curi-         officer will schedule a time to come to the
the topic of juvenile fire setting in this first   ous about fire. Curiosity is natural and        family’s home (at the family’s conven-
edition of the newsletter. The question            part of child development. It is how that       ience) to administer the education
then arises what to do if your child has           curiosity is acted upon that needs to be        program with the child(ren), assist the
engaged in fireplay or fire setting or you         addressed.                                      family to develop a fire safety plan, and
are a professional within the community                                                            assist in securing whatever ongoing ser-
                                                   Therefore, if a child is engaging in fire
working with a child who has been in-                                                              vices may be needed. In many situations,
                                                   setting behaviors (or has in the past), con-
volved with fireplay or fire setting behav-                                                        the education is enough to stop the behav-
                                                   tact the Monroe County Fire Bureau’s
iors?                                                                                              ior.
                                                   Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program.
It should be understood that all instances         The information shared with the Juvenile        If you have questions or would like to
of fireplay or fire setting should be viewed       Officer from the program will be kept           refer a child, contact Fred Rion at 279-
as needing immediate attention. This is            confidential and not shared with anyone         4050. And remember, the program is
not because there is something wrong with          unless authorized to do so by the parent.       FREE and CONFIDENTIAL.
the child, but rather the behavior is quite
                                                   Once a child is referred, a trained juvenile
dangerous to both the child and all those

Child Advocacy Center to open Spring ‘04                                                           Contributed by Mary Whittier

                              A new                approach in providing comprehensive             tim advocates can meet with the child in
                              resource for         investigative and treatment services to         one session as opposed to the child going
                              child sexual         children who have been sexually or physi-       to a variety of settings for multiple inter-
                              abuse vic-           cally abused,. The CAC model assists            views.
                              tims is              children by minimizing the number of
                                                                                                   This newly formed organization will be the
                              anticipated          times they have to talk about the abuse
                                                                                                   Bivona Child Advocacy Center, dedicated
                              to open this         scenario, and reducing the number of
                                                                                                   to Kathie and Lou Bivona, the local foun-
spring. A Child Advocacy Center (CAC)              times they must endure physical examina-
                                                                                                   ders of NCMEC/NY. For more informa-
will be housed with the National Center            tions. The interdisciplinary team of child
                                                                                                   tion, contact Mary Whittier, Director of
for Missing and Exploited Children/NY              protective services, law enforcement, the
                                                                                                   the Bivona CAC at 242-0900.
Branch at 275 Lake Avenue in downtown              District Attorney’s office, mental-health
Rochester. CAC’s utilize a one-stop shop           professionals, medical providers and vic-
      Monroe County Juvenile Fire Prevention Task Force

      c/o Monroe County Fire Bureau
      Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program
      1190 Scottsville Road / Suite 203
      Rochester, NY 14624
      Phone: 585-279-4050
      Fax: 585-279-4167
      Email: frion@monroecounty.gov

                                                         Although this newsletter is being distributed by
                                                         the Monroe County Fire Bureau, there are many
                                                         members of the Juvenile Fire Prevention Task
                                                         Force. All of those individuals have donated time
                                                         and resources to our Task Force in order to be
                                                         certain that the most accurate and critical
                                                         information is being shared with our community.
                                                         As Chairman of the Task Force, I would like to
                                                         thank all of you who have worked so hard over
                                                         the last 2 years and provided their expertise to
                                                         our project, not for recognition but because they
                                                         care about children and our community. I look
        W E’ RE     ON THE WEB            @              forward to working with all of you in the future.
     WWW. MONROECOUNTY. GOV                              Thank you most sincerely.

                                                         Fred Rion / Task Force Chairman

Cable Access Program to Air Soon

          The County Communica-                  “Juvenile Fire setting” and “The As-     gramming in the series that includes
tions Department and the Monroe                  set Approach.” Additionally, eight       other county departments and activi-
County Fire Bureau have revived                  public service announcements             ties. Phone 428-2380 or e-mail him
efforts to inform the public about               (PSA’s) will also begin airing on        at rnolan@monroecounty.gov.
departmental activities and issues by            juvenile safety topics such as school
filming a series of programs to be               bus safety, bike helmet safety, and
aired on the existing nine cable chan-           others.
nels across the county. The pro-
                                                           If you wish to suggest addi-
grams are produced by Monroe
                                                 tional program topics relating to Ju-
County with outstanding technical
                                                 venile Public Safety, please contact
support from Irondequoit Commu-
                                                 Fred Rion at the Monroe County Fire
nity Access Television (ICAT).
                                                 Bureau at 279-4053 or e-mail him at
          Several programs have been             frion@monroecounty.gov.
taped to date and are hosted by Juve-
                                                          You may also contact Bob
nile Fire Prevention Coordinator
                                                 Nolan in the Monroe County Com-
Fred Rion and emphasize Youth and
                                                 munications office for further infor-
Public Safety topics including
                                                 mation about additional planned pro-
“Bullying”, “Child Sexual Abuse”,