Next week is National Arson Awareness Week, and this year’s theme, spearheaded by the U.S. Fire Administration and the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) is “School Arson—A Burning Subject.”
According to FEMA Regional Director John Pennington, the goals of this year’s Arson Awareness Week are to make communities aware of the school arson problem, and to engage citizens in joining the fight.
“Arson is one of the costliest crimes – we pay for it in costs that can’t be measured in dollars -in lives lost, thousands of physically and emotionally scarred survivors, and in gutted buildings that were once thriving centers of learning. We pay for it in insurance claims for emergency medical, law enforcement and fire service personnel injured in the line of duty,” said Pennington. “Firefighters across the country do the very best they can, but they can’t do it alone. Fighting arson effectively takes the entire community.”
Seventy-eight percent of school fires reportedly occur during the school week and 22 percent on weekends. Sixty-one percent of school structure fires and 70 percent of high school fires are caused by arson. Fifty-five percent of fires occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the hours students are most likely to be in school.
Fatalities from school fires are rare, but injuries per fire tend to be higher in school structure fires than non-residential structural fires.
Arson Awareness Week information is available from the U.S. Fire Administration (www.usfa.fema.gov) and the International Association of Arson Investigators Inc. (www.firearson.com).
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.