ESR Level 1 - The 4 Day Course

cartoonkidandmatchThe Fire Service are naturally the best people to work with young people on the educational and fire safety aspects of challenging fire-setting behaviour in children. In our experience they tend to feel less sure about how to address the psychological and emotional reasons that may be driving the fire-setting. Indeed they sometimes feel ill equipped to look at these underlying factors.

In the four day workshop designed by Secure Base we start by making it very clear we are not trying to train anyone to become a counsellor – that would be impossible in only four days. Rather we focus on the idea of Advisors as being in a helping relationship with young people and their families. To assist them in this role we encourage them to develop some basic counselling and coaching skills – focussing, listening, body language awareness, empathic attunement, challenging and questioning.

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ESR Level 2 - 4 Day Course 'Complex Young Person Cases and Adult Work'

This programme is based on the successful series of workshops run on working with juvenile fire-setters, which have been delivered with 20 fire services across the country and on adult workshops delivered in the south east of England. There will, of course, be some similar motivating factors behind the adult firesetting as with juveniles. These will include the management and control of difficult feelings – fire being an effective way of externalising such feelings. In particular firesetting may be used as a vehicle to express anger, frustration, and revenge, seek attention or combat boredom.

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Refresher 2 Day ESR Course

The two day refresher course for working with young people deepens understanding and process for this work. This work is only suitable for advisors that have attended the 4 day young person’s course and has been on a number of visits and worked on live cases.

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The two courses ‘getting out there’ (Level 1) and ‘complex child cases and adult work’ (Level 2) can be considered a progression.


Each course builds on the previous, there is some overlap – we feel this is necessary and indeed advantageous. As the advisor builds their skill set and experience they may want to progress to more difficult cases and later adult work. We recommend that the advisor will have been working ‘live’ cases in a lead role for some time before they take more complex cases & adult work. 

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The School or Prison Visit


You will need to approach a secondary school (11-16 yrs.) for the young person’s 4 day Level 1 course. For the Level 2 course; complex child cases and adult work, you will need to approach a prison or young offender’s institution in your local area.

We would like the participation of 12 young people for the school visit. These children should be selected by the school based on them having some difficulties - perhaps socially and educationally. For the adult course we will need around six adult with some firesetting history.

The fire service ESR students will meet the young people/adults allocated by the school/prison on premises by way of a visit - usually this is Thursday late morning around 11-11.30. This works well in a classroom/two classrooms with the 'pairs spread out.

The exercise is for the ESR students to conduct a short 'conversational' session - around 30 minutes, on a one to one basis.

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