Community Programs

Year-Round Activities
Our department is very active during the year giving tours and talks to area students either at the schools or at our fire department. In addition, we hold an open house every year during Fire Prevention Week in October. The department also takes part in the Kid Day Activities during National Baby Food Festival held in July of each year.

  1. FireMatch Program
  2. Exit Drills In The Home
The Newaygo County FireMatch program is dedicated to educating and counseling young firesetters, defined as children who endanger themselves or others by using fire inappropriately.

FireMatch Process
  1. A concerned person contacts their local fire department.
  2. Basic information is obtained:
    • Name of person making inquiry, telephone number and address
    • The child’s name, age, address, telephone number and parent or guardian’s name
    • A brief description of the child’s firesetting behavior
  3. The local fire department will set up an appointment with the FireMatch screener.
  4. The screener, a specially trained firefighter appointed by the FireMatch program, will schedule an interview with the child and parent or guardian. The screener will provide the fire safety education during this session.
  5. The screener consults with participating agencies to determine the most appropriate service for the child and assist the family in accessing those services.
Fire safety education is provided by a FireMatch screener and the fire department free of charge. Counseling is provided by community agencies. No family will be denied services due to an inability to pay.

Children living in Newaygo County up to the age of 16 years are eligible for this program.

Any concerned adult may recommend a child for the FireMatch program, including:
  • Community agencies
  • Fire departments
  • Medical personnel
  • Parents
  • Police departments
  • School personnel
The majority of firesetters are curious about fire and play with fire to learn about it. Other children start fires as a response to stress or upsetting events in their lives. For this small group of children, firesetting is a symptom of a more serious problem. Determining the reason for the firesetting behavior is the first step in providing appropriate intervention:
  • A Curiosity Firesetter is a child who experiments with fire as a way of exploring his/her environment. The child wants to experience the feel of fire and see how it looks and burns. The recommended treatment for the curiosity firesetter is fire education.
  • A Troubled Firesetter is a child who is often experiencing difficulties at home or at school. This child may set fires in reaction to a change in their environment such as a move, a death in the family, a divorce or new parents. Firesetting may be a way to get attention or express anger toward someone. These children frequently collect firesetting materials. The recommended treatment for the troubled firesetter is fire safety education and counseling services.
  • Teach very young children that fire is a tool we use to cook food or heat the house. It is not magic. It is dangerous and only for adults to use carefully (use the example of driving a car or using power tools).
  • Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of children. Even a 2-year old can easily work a cigarette lighter.
  • Have all children bring matches to you and reward or praise them for doing so.
  • If an older child is curious about matches, show him/her the proper and safe way to use them. Explain why it is important to use matches only when needed and with an adult present.
  • Set a good example. Aleays be careful with matches and fire.