Arson Awareness Week

Arson Awareness Week May 2-8, 2010

The Woodland Fire Department announces that the week of May 2-8,  2009 is National Arson Awareness Week (AAW) and that this year’s theme is Arson for Profit.  The U.S. Fire Administration has partnered up with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire Arms, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, and the International Association of Arson Investigators to support Arson Awareness Week.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the goal of this year’s AAW, May 2-8, is to focus public attention on arson for profit. By drawing people’s at­tention to the alarming statistics about arson for profit, we hope to expand the resources and support neces­sary to reduce this crime. There are many motives for arson - the crime of deliberately and maliciously set­ting fire. Arson for profit, or economic arson, is when businesses or individuals set fires to reduce financial loss, recoup initial investments, or dispose of depreci­ated assets usually for a payout from insurance com­panies

Arson for profit is insurance fraud, a criminal meth­od of obtaining money from a fire loss policy. The losses for arson are staggering! Arson fires do not always perform as planned. The blazes often leave clues that send the arsonists to jail for years. Arson fires also can spread fast, sometimes burning adja­cent properties and even killing or injuring innocent onlookers—and the arsonists themselves.

National Fire Protection Association figures (2005) estimate that the 323,900 intentional fires in their databanks resulted in 490 civilian fire deaths, 3 firefighter on-duty deaths, 1,500 civilian fire injuries, 7,600 firefighter on-duty injuries and caused over $1.1 billion in direct property damage. The Insurance Information Institute reports that arsonists destroyed nearly $900 million in insured property, and killed 295 civilians in 2007.

Arson for profit affects everyone through the loss of life, increased insurance premiums and related expenses for the fire and law enforcement professionals. Arson for profit can only be curtailed by a collaborative effort and cooperation of fire investigators, law enforcement, insurance professionals and the legal system. Arson investigative computer programs and increased training can assist the investigators. Following the financial statements can often be as important as the cause and origin evidence. The concerted effort being mounted against the costly crime of arson is showing results. According to the FBI, in 2007, arson offenses decreased 6.7 percent when compared with arson data reported in 2006. The NFPA reports the trends in intentional fires and associated losses have been downward since 1980.

The Woodland Fire Department investigates all arson fires and cooperates fully with insurance companies to reduce the incidence of arson-for-profit fires. With the cooperation and awareness of the community arson fires can be reduced.

For more information and tips on Arson Prevention and Arson Awareness Week please go to the USFA (, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (, InterFIRE ( and the City of Woodland ( ) or you may contact the Woodland Fire Department at (530) 661-5860.

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