CAL FIRE Announces Arson Awareness Week

Public urged to Report Suspicious Activity

CAL FIRE Investigator at work.

Sacramento –While encouraging wildfire preparedness this week, CAL FIRE is also reminding residents of the dangers posed by arson. CAL FIRE is pleased to join the United States Fire Administration (USFA) in announcing the theme for the 2013 Arson Awareness Week: Reducing Residential Arson. The goal for this year’s Arson Awareness Week, which takes place May 5-11, 2013, is to provide all residents with strategies to combat arson in their neighborhoods.

According to the USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) during 2008-2010, an estimated 16,800 intentionally set fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States. These fires result in an estimated 280 deaths, 775 injuries, and $593 million in property loss each year. The average dollar loss for an intentionally set fire in a residential building is $21,320. The fatality rate for intentionally set residential fires was more than twice that of other residential building fires.

“Arson fires rob neighborhoods and communities of valuable assets such as lives, property and natural resources”, stated CAL FIRE Assistant Deputy Director Clare Frank. “Residents can do a lot to prevent arson by safeguarding their homes and keeping a watchful eye on their neighborhood.”

What can I do to prevent my home against arson?

  • Illuminate exterior and entrances to your home.
  • Install motion-activated lights on all sides of the house. These are relatively inexpensive. Clear all obstructions. Trim or remove brush that blocks the view of a home from the street.
  • Install smoke alarms and fire sprinkler systems. The combination of smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers reduces the likelihood of death from a fire. This is the most effective fire loss prevention and reduction measurement. Keep doors and windows locked. A simple locked door could be the deterrent that saves a home from arson.
  • Clean your yard. Remove excess of piles of leaves or vegetation and clean around your house and garage to remove unused paper, trash, cans of paint or other materials.
  • Clean up vacant homes. Make sure to secure abandoned and vacant homes. Keep doors and windows locked or boarded up with plywood. Remove any abandoned vehicles. Make sure all utilities are disconnected.

Whether it is a wildland fire or a house fire, investigators need your help. The public is encouraged to call the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline, 1-800-468-4408, if suspicious activity is observed. Details, such as a description of suspicious people and vehicles are very helpful to investigators. Rewards of up to $10,000 are available for information leading to an arrest and conviction of persons responsible for committing the crime of arson within State jurisdiction.

For more information and resources for the 2013 Arson Awareness Week campaign, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/aaw.

 

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