Youth Fire Prevention and Intervention Program

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Howard County, Md., MD

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About the Program

Category: Criminal Justice and Public Safety (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

Youth are responsible for a significant proportion of both accidental and intentional fires that occur each year in Howard County and throughout the United States. Our new Youth Fire Prevention and Intervention Program, which is coordinated by the Howard County Office of the Fire Marshal, is a program focusing on intervention and education designed to prevent and control youth fire-setting behavior. This is accomplished through the assistance of participating agencies, to refer, assess and ultimately educate the youth and their families. This method leads to the reduction of intentionally set fires that pose a threat to the public’s safety and property. The program was developed by reaching out to other jurisdictions around the United States, attending seminars, and networking with many different professionals. We are currently only one of two functioning Youth Fire programs in the state, the other being in Hagerstown, so our program receives children from several surrounding jurisdictions. The program went online in September of 2020 and has to date interacted with 17 youth; none of which have had to return for repeat activity.