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City of Omaha - Nebraska

Omaha Fire DepartmentOmaha, Nebraska

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To make a report or to receive additional information about this program, please contact our Public Education office at 402-444-3560.

Injuries, Fatalities, and Property Loss

Juvenile fire starting impacts a community in many ways; for example, according to the National Fire Protection Association, in 1998, it was estimated that fire set by children and juveniles resulted in 300 American deaths, another 3,000 injuries, and three hundred million dollars in property damage. In addition, millions of dollars of property are lost annually. Child fire starting is the leading cause of fire deaths among preschoolers. In fact, children start almost 42% of fires that kill children 5 and under.

Criminal Charges

Juvenile fire starting may be part of a pattern of criminal activity for the juvenile. Juveniles start 50% of all arson fires in our city and across the country.


Juvenile Fire Starter Education Program Overview


In an effort to reduce the number of juvenile fire starter incidents, the Omaha Fire Department will provide a Juvenile Fire Starter (JFS) Education Program for juveniles and their families seeking help.

The education program for those 8-18 years of age teaches the power of fire, consequences of playing with fire, fire prevention and how to survive a fire.

In addition, parents are provided information on building character in children, fire prevention and survival.

For children ages 3-7 the education program teaches fire safety based on The NFPA's The Learn Not To Burn Program. Parents are provided information on building character in children, fire prevention and survival.


Understanding Juvenile Fire Starters  


Curious Fire Starters

Many young children are fascinated by fire, but do not understand its destructive nature. These fire starters are usually between the ages of 1 and 8. Children set fires because of curiosity, or accidentally due to poor judgment. These fires are unplanned and started with matches or lighters that are readily available. Usually, there is an attempt by the juvenile to extinguish the fire or call for help. Feelings of guilt or remorse occur after the incident. Often, young children imitate adults who light cigarettes, candles, or fireplaces. Unfortunately, many fire starters lack parental supervision or education about fire safety.


Troubled Fire Starters

Mental or emotional disturbances can cause fire setting behavior. Many of these fire starters are boys and live in single parent homes with little adult supervision. One or more of the following problems may exist: physical illnesses, history of physical or sexual abuse, poor impulse control, and overwhelming feelings of anger. These children often set fires as a way to act out anger, frustration, and feelings of powerlessness.

Delinquent Fire Starters

These are youths usually in their teens with a history of starting fires. They set fires as acts of vandalism or for creating excitement and destroying property. Usually strongly influenced by their peers, they use fire to cause malicious mischief or rebel against authority. Abandoned buildings, open fields, and schools are common targets. Most of these fire starters have a history of antisocial behavior, lying, stealing, truancy, and drugs.

Pathological Fire Starters

These youths often have a long history of behavioral problems. Their symptoms usually fall into two major personality types labeled as "Impulsive Neurotic" and "Borderline Psychotic".


Safety Tips for Parents and Caregivers


When child's play becomes deadly: little kids setting fires NFPA data show that preschoolers are in greatest danger.

• Store all matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, up high, preferably in a locked cabinet.
• Use only child-resistant lighters, but remember they are not child-proof
• Never leave young children unattended.
• Never use lighters or matches as a source of amusement for children. They may imitate what you do.
• If you suspect your child is playing with fire or unduly fascinated with fire, get help immediately. Your local fire department, school, or community counseling agency can put you in touch with experts trained to help.
• Teach young children to tell an adult if they find matches or lighters, and teach school-age children to bring any matches or lighters to an adult.
• Teach kids to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch on fire.
• Teach young children when fire strikes, not to hide, but to get out of the house immediately.

News and Information

  • Fire Prevention Week - October 7-13, 2018

    2018-10-05 20:31:39

    Fire Prevention Week is October 7-13, 2018. The national theme for this year’s fire prevention week is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” The Omaha Fire Department performs Fire Prevention all year round and ou ...

  • 2018 National Night Out

    2018-05-30 14:55:43

      WHAT IS NATIONAL NIGHT OUT? National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out ...

  • Burn Ban in effect until 0700 on Thursday, May 3, 2018

    2018-05-01 20:13:13

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Burn Ban in effect until 0700 on Thursday, May 3, 2018.   The Omaha Fire Department would like to remind everyone that there will be high winds and threat of severe weather. Due to these atmospheric condit ...

  • Community Awareness for the Active Killer Threat Presen ...

    2018-04-05 14:08:11

      Community Awareness for the Active Killer Threat What should you do if you find yourself in a situation where there is an active killer threat? It's imperative that we as a community face this issue head on and be prepared.& ...

  • Tri County Fire Corps Exploring Program

    2018-02-06 20:13:26

      Tri-County Fire Corps Exploring Program - Discover a career through exploring! Learn the skills necessary for a career in firefighting through classroom instruction and hands on experiences. Training in areas such as CPR/AED, fire extinguis ...

  • Hood Suppression System Plan Requirements

    2017-02-01 17:43:23

    Please click here to access the Omaha Fire Department Hood Suppression Plan Requirements. 

  • Carbon Monoxide Safety Act Effective January 1, 2017

    2017-01-03 13:40:54

    “Quick Reference Notes for C.O. Alarms” Nebraska Legislation Bill 34 -Carbon Monoxide Safety Act Effective January 1, 2017                     &n ...

  • Omaha Fire receives Silver Award

    2016-06-16 14:54:02

    The Omaha Fire Department has received the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.  The American Heart ...

  • Fire Department attends 14th annual SAFE event

    2016-06-07 18:30:30

    The Omaha Fire Department attended the 14th Annual SAFE Event on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at the Omaha Kroc Center, 2825 Y Street. The free event, hosted by the Omaha Police Department, featured food, music, games and safety demonstrations. S ...

  • Rescue Task Force Training

    2016-02-26 15:40:42

    Rescue Task Force Training Omaha firefighters and paramedics recently trained alongside local law enforcement officers.  The implementation of the Rescue Task Force allows skillfully trained paramedics to enter the "hot zone" during an active e ...

  • Firefighters change battery and shovel walkway

    2016-01-26 16:29:51

    Firefighters are at work 24/7 always willing to serve members of our community.  Some go above and beyond. KMTV Channel 3 recently reported on such a story.

  • Training Division Conducts First Session of 2015 CPT

    2015-01-19 07:13:30

    The Omaha Fire Department’s Training Division conducts CPT, or Continuous Professional Training, annually from January to November. CPT is an opportunity to hone current skills, learn new skills, and engage in unique training scenarios. Three sessi ...