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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is pleased to recognize the week of May 6, 2012, as National Arson Awareness Week. This year's theme, as indicated by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), is “Prevent Youth Firesetting.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, “fires started by children playing accounted for an average of 56,300 fires with associated losses of 110 civilian deaths, 880 civilian injuries, and $286 million in direct property damage per year between 2005 and 2009.”
This week, Attorney General Van Hollen and the Wisconsin State Fire Marshal's Office are partnering with the USFA, the International Association of Arson Investigators, the Wisconsin Arson Insurance Council and local police and fire departments to help reduce the number of juvenile fires set in our communities.
“Sadly, our State Fire Marshal regularly sees the devastating impact of fire in communities across Wisconsin, the loss of property and sometimes, the loss of life,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “As Attorney General, I've made protecting our children a top priority through our law enforcement and outreach efforts and promoting fire safety is a natural extension of that mission.”
“Nationally, the FBI reports that juveniles accounted for almost 50 percent of arson arrests from 2005 to 2010,” Wisconsin State Fire Marshal Tina Virgil said. “Fires caused by children, whether accidentally or otherwise, often leave the children as their victims. As parents, guardians and caregivers, it's up to us to help educate our children and prevent possible harm to them and others.”
To learn more about National Arson Awareness Week and facts about youth firesetting, visit the following link:
If citizens have information about arson crimes in their community, they are encouraged to call law enforcement or Wisconsin's arson hotline. The hotline is sponsored by the Wisconsin Arson Insurance Council and is available 24 hours a day. Callers can remain anonymous. The toll-free number is 1-800-362-3005.
Also, remember to inspect your home for fire hazards and make sure to maintain working smoke alarms throughout the residence.
To learn more about the impact of youth firesetting in Wisconsin and to check out safety tips, visit the following link: