Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
United States Fire Administration and International Association
of Arson Investigators Announce Arson Awareness Week
(Frankfort, KY) - The United States Fire Administration (USFA), the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), the Kentucky State Arson Task Force, and the Kentucky State Police have teamed up to promote arson awareness around the country.
May 5-11, 2003 has been designated National Arson Awareness Week, to raise America´s consciousness of this most costly of all fires and the steps that are being taken to combat it. Governor Paul Patton has also declared this week Arson Awareness Week in Kentucky. This year´s theme is "Arson is NOT a victimless crime."
The USFA and the IAAI would like to educate the public on arson and also to get them involved in how they can help by reporting suspicious activities, seeking help for children involved in fire setting and reducing fire setting opportunities.
Each year there are over 500 civilian lives lost to arson fires. The property damaged from intentionally set fires is almost 2 billion dollars.
Steps that can be taken to reduce the incidents of arson:
- If you know or suspect that an arson crime has been committed, contract your local fire or police department.
- If you suspect a child is setting fires notify the proper authorities, it may not be "just a phase" they are going through. Keep matches and lighters out of reach and out of sight of young children.
- Report suspicious activity near houses or other buildings to the local police and support Neighborhood Watch programs.
- Keep leaves, firewood, overgrown brush and shrubbery and other combustibles away from buildings. Most arson fires are started outdoors. Don´t make it easy for an arsonist to start a fire or easy for an outdoor fire to spread to a building.
- Keep doors and windows locked when a building is unoccupied. But don´t use double cylinder deadbolt locks without keeping a key nearby, bars without quick release mechanisms, or other security provisions that could trap a person in a building with a deadly fire.
Remember: Arson is NOT a Victimless Crime!
For additional information on arson prevention, call the International Association of Arson Investigators, Inc. (314) 739-4224 or the FEMA National Arson Prevention Clearinghouse at 1-888-603-3100.
If you have information about persons involved in the crime of arson, contact the Kentucky State Arson Task Force´s Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON (1-800-272-7766). Callers may remain anonymous and all information is forwarded to law enforcement for investigation. Should the information provided lead to the arrest or indictment of the individuals named for the crime of arson, the caller may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.