In October 2001, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) adopted a resolution in support of National Arson Awareness week during their 108th Annual Conference. The resolution calls on all IACP members to support Arson Awareness Week and to promote awareness, understanding and prevention of arson crimes.
The goal of Arson Awareness Week is to focus public attention on severe national consequences of arson. By drawing people's attention to the costs of arson, the groups sponsoring the week hope to level the resources and support necessary to reduce or end this crime.
The goal is for first responders and firefighters to organize as many arson awareness activities in their communities as they can reasonably manage in an effort to raise citizen awareness of this problem. The following are a few activities that all communities could use to kick off National Arson Awareness Week:
- The mayor, city council, or both could issue an Arson Awareness Week Proclamation. A sample proclamation is included in a kit available for download from the USFA.
- Fire and police departments, where appropriate, could jointly release information on unsolved arsons and ask for the community's help in solving them. The local release could be done in a press conference, a call-in talk (radio or TV) show or any other highly visible event that will get good media coverage.
- Letters to the editor or editorials to the local newspaper are encouraged. Most newspapers have to print "Letters to the Editor."
- With this year's theme "Arson is NOT a Victimless Crime," emergency personnel may want to enlist the help of their local Shriner's Organization to help promote awareness of the forgotten victims of this crime. Consider having an arson victim as a spoke person, since first-hand information is very emotional and powerful.
- Send "Arson is NOT a Victimless Crime" posters to local newspapers, libraries, YMCAs and other public places. The posters are available from the IAAI Office by calling (314) 739-4224. Posters are free of charge, but a limited number are available so order early.
- Plan presentations during Arson Awareness Week at local schools.
- Enlist the help of other organizations to help distribute materials and promote awareness, i.e., Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, Boy Scouts and church groups.
The downloadable kit includes a sample proclamation request letter, a sample proclamation, a sample resolution, arson facts, speaking notes, a sample news release and editorial and tips about preparing for an interview and about being a good spokesperson.
To download the kit, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/fire-service/arson-aaw2.cfm.