Firefighter tackles hot issue
YOUNG minds have always been curious, but this can sometimes lead to dangerous accidents – especially when it comes to fire.
But Warwick senior firefighter Mark Sullivan has been working to educate children about fire safety for the past decade and was recently recognised for his hard work.
Mr Sullivan has been a part of the Fight Fire Fascination (FFF) program which has helped more than 2500 families since 2000, supporting parents in their efforts to educate their children about fire.
“I was an initially a part of the program when it was introduced 11 years ago,” Mr Sullivan said.
“I just have a passion for anything that can help stop children from being hurt and this has been successful in doing that.”
Mr Sullivan said he joined the program after seeing it advertised but had to go through a rigorous selection process in order to be a part of it.
“We had to do things like be interviewed by a psychologist,” he said.
He also had to have specialist training.
At a recent FFF workshop Mr Sullivan, along with other FFF practitioners were presented with certificates in recognition of their service to the program.
The success rate of the FFF program has been overwhelming; with 98 per cent of participants saying they would recommend the program.
Ninety-one per cent of survey respondents said the FFF program stopped fire-setting behaviour in their child, and 49 per cent of these went on to say the program had also improved their child’s behaviour in other ways.
Specially trained QFRS officers worked directly with a child fascinated with fire and their family for about three visits. The program aimed to leave children with a positive learning experience from what was initially a negative experience.
Officers working within the FFF program used a solutions-focused approach which employed positive reinforcement, encouragement, goal setting, and learning fire safety skills in an interactive and safe environment.
They avoid using scare tactics such as showing pictures of burn victims and instead address the reason why a child may have lit a fire in the first place.
Mr Sullivan recommended the program for families who had found children playing with fire, talking about fire often or lighting toys on fire.
For more information about the FFF program visit www.fire.qld.gov.au