SEATTLE— Next week is National Arson Awareness Week, and this year’s theme is Community Arson Prevention. According to FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger, the goal of this year’s Arson Awareness Week is to focus attention on the horrific crime of arson, and provide communities with tools and strategies to combat arson in their neighborhoods, businesses, schools and places of worship.
“Arson robs communities of their most valuable assets—lives and property,” said Hunsinger. “Fighting arson effectively takes the entire community. Firefighters across the country do the very best they can, but they can’t do it alone.”
Steps that can reduce incidents of arson include:
• Contact your local fire or police department if you know or suspect an arson crime.
• Report suspicious activity near houses or other buildings. Support Neighborhood Watch programs.
• Keep leaves and flammable debris away from buildings. Don’t make it easy for an arsonist to start a fire or facilitate a fire’s spread to adjacent buildings.
• Keep matches and lighters out of reach of small children.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2008 Uniform Crime Reporting statistics showed that 14,011 law enforcement agencies reported 62,807 arsons. Arsons involving structures (residential, storage, public, etc.) accounted for 43.4 percent of the total number of arson offenses. Mobile property (cars, motorcycles, etc.) was involved in 28.9 percent of arsons, and other types of property (such as crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for 27.7 percent of reported arsons.
For more information, including a media kit for the 2010 Arson Awareness Week campaign, please visit the USFA’s Web site at www.usfa.dhs.gov.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.