Arson Awareness Week1

KANKAKEE – May 7-13 is Arson Awareness Week with this year’s theme focusing on understanding and mitigating youth firesetting issues. Specifically this week, State Senator Patrick Joyce is emphasizing the importance of fire education for children.

“Fire education can save lives and prevent accidental fires from occurring,” said Joyce (D- Essex). “Our youth need to be aware of what to do in emergency situations like this, and House Bill 2372 would provide a valuable opportunity to guide and support children towards making responsible and life-saving decisions.”

Joyce sponsored House Bill 2372 this year, which would create positions of certified youth firesetter interventionists in the Division of Arson Investigation within the Office of the State Fire Marshal. House Bill 2372 passed the Senate last week and is now awaiting concurrence in the House.

According to the United States Fire Administration, youth firesetting is a problem throughout the United States and around the world. Fire misuse behaviors in children may be attributed to issues such as curiosity or experimentation, underlying struggles with impulse control, emotional regulation, social/interpersonal skills, childhood trauma, or other behavioral health conditions

“I encourage parents and other family members to stress the importance of not playing with matches and leaving lighters alone. Kids are curious and talking to them about why they shouldn’t play with these items can reduce the risk for an accidental fire that could impact more than just your family,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal James A. Rivera. “I also encourage departments to reach out to the OSFM if they need a Youth Firesetter Interventionist and have members attend our classes we offer to become Certified Interventionists.”

To request help from certified firesetter interventionists, you can call 1-844-689-7882 or visit the OSFM website at