National Arson Awareness Week May 1-8, 1999

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Release date: 
May 4, 1999
Release Number: 
R10-99-22

Seattle, May 4, 1999 -- This week is National Arson Awareness Week, and this year's theme: "Target Arson -- Don't Get Burned," targets the second leading cause of death in the United States. U.S. Fire Administration statistics show that one out of every four fires is arson, accounting for some half million fires and $3 billion in direct property damage each year. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Director David L. de Courcy, calendar observances like Arson Awareness Week help cut through the cloud of messages bombarding each of us everyday, and focus for a moment, perhaps a life-saving moment, on arson prevention.

"The most effective way of combating any problem, including arson, is to prevent it, and that takes more than government agencies and government dollars," said de Courcy. "Local fire and police departments are well trained and ready to mount heroic efforts, but when the doors of the fire station goe up or the 911 lines ring, the battle to prevent that fire has been lost. The responsibility for stopping arson fires lies with the community -- with students, teachers, business leaders, parents, the clergy and civic organizations."

Community initiatives which have already helped drop arson statistics include boarding up abandoned buildings, cleaning up litter and debris from vacant properties, conducting arson prevention training programs in schools and community centers, and promoting arson awareness through public education campaigns and neighborhood watch rallies.

Detailed checklists, workbooks and fact sheets are available from local fire departments, or by calling the National Arson Prevention Clearinghouse at 1-888-603-3100, or by visiting the U.S. Fire Administration's website at: http://www.usfa.fema.gov.

Last Updated: 
July 19, 2012 - 23:02
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