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Fire Safety Support and Education

What is the Fire Safety Support and Education (FSSE)?

Fire related antisocial behaviour places a significant demand on the resources of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), other public services and communities.  These acts include deliberate fire setting, malicious actuation of fire alarm systems, hoax calls, hydrant abuse and attacks on personnel.

What is FSSE?

The SFRS work in partnership to deliver a Fire Safety Support and Education (FSSE) to those under the age of 18.  Through a programme of tailored interventions, FSSE offers a flexible approach to assist in the education of those who demonstrate an unsafe interest in fire or fire related anti-social behaviour.

Who is the Service for?

FSSE is a service for Children and Young people under the age of 18 who have demonstrated an interest in fire, involved in fire-related anti-social behaviour or deliberately set fires.

Who can refer

  • Education
  • Social work
  • Parents
  • Carers
  • Community Learning and Development Workers
  • Health
  • Police Scotland / Youth Justice and any member of the community

Get further Information for Partner Organisations.

Got concerns

Anyone who has a concern regarding a Child or Young Person and Firesetting should complete the FSSE referral form and send it to their local SFRS Community Action Team, alternatively it can be emailed to

The referring agency should seek consent from the person with parental responsibility for the Child or Young Person prior to the referral being made. For further information contact your local community action team.

What to expect

A trained Fire Safety Advisor or coordinator will make contact with parent or carer to arrange a visit with the child or young person. A meeting will usually take place in the home but can be delivered where the child feels most comfortable. Typically the SFRS Fire Safety Advisors will offer up to 3 sessions but depending on circumstances this may be reduced or extended based on an individual circumstances. A Home Fire Safety visit will be offered to the home of the Child or Young Person to ensure working smoke detectors are within the premises.

Signs to watch out for

Why do children and young people set fires?

Children and young people can experiment with fire out of curiosity. Deliberately setting fires or “playing” with fire can also be a form of expression of their emotions.  It is important children and young people are given the guidance, support and education to understand the dangers and wider implications fire can have and to prevent harm to themselves or others.

What is firesetting behaviour?

Research shows the majority of children and young people who set fires, do so out of curiosity, it is normal for them to be of an age or capacity where they might not fully understand the consequences.

Deliberate fire setting can be an example of expression of emotions, creating an outlet and a scenario where attention is needed.

Other forms of firesetting behaviour exist but all children and young people must be supported to prevent future firesetting.

Signs of Firesetting

  • Lighters or matches in the child of young person's room or belongings.
  • Unexplained fires in the home
  • Unexplained burn marks on carpets or clothing
  • Charred paper or melted objects in bin
  • The smell of smoke on the child/young persons clothes
  • A fascination with fire

What should you do if you suspect a child or young person is setting fires?

If you are concerned a child or young person may be deliberately setting fires, we can help. Our Fire Safety Support and Education is available to anyone under 18 years old who have shown signs or an interest in firesetting.

You can also follow some of our tips below.

  • Talk to the child or young person, explain the dangers of fire
  • Keep lighters and matched out of reach or children
  • Talk to your family about escape plans, ensure you know what to do if there is a fire
  • Book a Home Fire Safety Visit
  • Regularly check for signs of firesetting
  • Children can mimic adult's behaviour, ensure cooker spaces are left clear and children are not left alone with candles