SEATTLE, Wash. -- This week (April 30 - May 6) is National Arson Awareness Week, and the United States Fire Administration (USFA), a directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is asking all Americans to support their communities with a strong, unified stance in preventing arson. According to 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.
"Time and again, the lesson driven home from devastating disaster is that there is no substitute for pre-disaster mitigation and pre-disaster planning," said de Courcy. "The most effective way of combating any problem, including arson, is to prevent it, and that takes more than government agencies and government dollars. Local fire and police departments are well trained and ready, but when fire station doors go up or 911 lines ring, the battle to prevent that fire has been lost."
Washington State Fire Marshal Mary L. Corso agrees. "The real answer to reducing and preventing arson fires is community involvement," said Corso. "We must involve students, teachers, business leaders, parents, clergy, and civic organizations and action groups."
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. Contact your local fire department to learn more about making your home safer from fire.