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The Egg Harbor Township Police Department has a partnership with the Atlantic County Juvenile Fire Stoppers Program. This program is designed to educate youths about the dangers of fire setting, whether it is intentional or unintentional.
Interest in fire, for children is natural; setting fire is NOT. The element of fire is seen by children from an early age in life. They see fire mostly controlled, for positive and pleasurable uses. So it's natural for children as young as the age 2 to become fascinated with the glow and warmth of fire. They have little understanding of the properties and consequences of uncontrolled fire. Protecting them by keeping matches and lighters out of their reach each in a secured place is a crucial responsibility of parents and caregivers. Approximately three out of every four children experiment with fire with the use if matches and lighters. They also start fires by playing with candles, stoves, fireworks and cigarettes.
Several variations of the Fire Stoppers Program have been in existence since the mid 1980's. The program has developed to cover two-thirds of the State of New Jersey. The goals of the program are to understand fire play behavior, evaluate the risk of continuation and to implement interventions to reduce or eliminate juvenile fire play behavior.
The Egg Harbor Township Police Department employs a Diversion Program that can direct juveniles identified as fire setters into this program. This program can be of tremendous assistance in deterring any future fire setting through education and intervention. The program itself can be tailored to specific needs of the juvenile and typically holds one session per week for a six week period.
The program is administered under the coordination of Chief Thomas Bell of the Atlantic City Fire Prevention Bureau and can be reached at (609)347-5595.
Chief Thomas Bell
Atlantic City Fire Prevention Bureau