TAPP-C is a program that brings fire service and counseling professionals together to help families deal with children and teens involved in fire-play. The fire service educates children and their families about fire and helps in the development of good fire safety practices. Counseling professionals asses the risk of continued fire involvement and help children and their families deal with the issues that may add to fire setting behaviour. TAPP-C is free of charge and is available to children from 2-17 years of age.

How can I recognize if my child is at risk?

Children who exhibit any of the following characteristics may be involved in fire-play:

  • Matches or lighters are found among your child's belongings.
  • Your child is extremely interested in fire.
  • Matches or lighters go missing.
  • Smell of sulphur in your child's room.
  • Toys or other personal effects that appear melted or singed.

There are other identifying attributes that may or may not identify an at-risk child. These include an inexplicable need for privacy, being a “loner”, unusual fascination with fire trucks, or fire-related events.

Why do children do these things?

  • Curiosity – just to discover what happens. There are no cruel intentions.
  • Troubled children may act out their anger or frustration by setting fires.
  • Could be a cry for help from an abused child.
  • Older children may set fires due to peer pressure or as part of a gang activity.

How can I protect my child and family at home?

  • Make sure young children are always supervised.
  • Keep matches and lighters locked away where children cannot get them.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan.

Realize you are not alone. Many children have a fascination with fire. It is important to understand that while curiosity about fire is natural, fire-play can be dangerous. In fact, fire is a leading cause of death among children in the home. Unfortunately, many youngsters start the very fire that injures or kills themselves or others.