Arson Awareness Week is May 5-11

April 30, 2013

By Staff

National Arson Awareness Week takes place May 5-11, and this year’s theme is, “Reduce Residential Arson.” The focus is on public attention to residential arson and in reducing the occurrence of the crime.

The U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System estimates 16,800 intentionally set fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States. Such fires result in an estimated 280 deaths, 775 injuries, and $593 million in property loss each year.

Residential arson facts:

  • Five percent of all residential building fires were intentionally set.
  • Lighters and heat from other open flame or smoking materials and matches were the leading sources of intentionally set fires in residential buildings
  • About 76 percent of intentionally set fires in residential buildings occurred in one- or two-family dwellings. An additional 19 percent of fires occurred in multifamily dwellings.
  • Forty-one percent of intentionally set residential fires occurred in vacant buildings.
  • Rubbish and waste; magazines, newspapers and writing paper; and uncontained flammable liquids or gas were the items most often first ignited in intentionally set fires in residential buildings.

Eastside Fire & Rescue’s Fire Prevention Bureau offers the following tips to help reduce arson opportunities:

  • Report suspicious activity near houses or other buildings to local police and support Neighborhood Watch programs.
  • Store matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children, preferably up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Keep doors and windows locked when a building is unoccupied.
  • Keep leaves, firewood, overgrown brush, shrubbery and other combustibles away from buildings. Most arson fires are started outdoors.

Learn more about what you can do to reduce residential arson fires on the U.S. Fire Administration site at www.usfa.fema.gov/aaw.

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