The United States Fire Administration (USFA) announces that May 2 through 8 is Arson Awareness Week. This year’s theme is Community Arson Prevention.
According to the USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System data and the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated average of 316,600 intentional fires are reported to fire departments in the United States each year causing injuries to 7,825 firefighters and civilians. In 2006, ten firefighters died as a result of arson. In addition to needless injury and death, an estimated $1.1 billion in direct property loss occurs annually.
In conjunction with this event, FEMA has issued a 22-page booklet, Community Arson Prevention (PDF), which includes tips and resources for arson prevention including:
- 5 steps for starting a community watch program – pages 2 – 3
- Arson prevention tips for businesses – pages 3 – 4
- Arson prevention tips for churches – pages 4 – 5
- Arson prevention tips for schools – pages 6 – 9
- Wildfire prevention tips – page 13
- State & local initiatives – pages 10 – 17
- Links & Resources – page 20
Materials from prior years are also valuable. Last year, the Arson Awareness Week theme focused on Arson For Profit (PDF, 16 pages), covering such topics as vehicle arson, arson in abandoned buildings, property arson by those who have fallen behind on mortgages or boat payments, house flipping arson, arson to recoup monies from a failing business, arson to eliminate competitors or to take revenge.
In 2008, the focus was Toylike Lighters: Playing With Fire (PDF – 8 pages) focusing on the dangers of toy-like or novelty lighters in the hands of children.
In 2007, the focus was Vehicle Arson: Who Pays for This Crime? (PDF, 9 pages).