TN State Fire Marshal: Vehicle Arson is a Combustible Crime
NASHVILLE, TN – Every year, the U.S. Fire Administration and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office dedicate the first full week of May to raising awareness about arson and its impact on our communities. This year, Arson Awareness Week is May 4-10 and focuses on the problem of vehicle arson.
“Arson destroys more than buildings. It can devastate a community through the decline of the neighborhood with increased insurance premiums, loss of business revenue and a decrease in property values,” State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said. “The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office is dedicated to bringing attention to the problem and working to make Tennessee safer.”
“Arson continues to be a growing problem in Tennessee,” Bomb and Arson Section Director Dewey Woody said. “If you intentionally set fire to someone’s property, know that you will be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Combatting arson is a key priority for fire departments and law enforcement agencies across Tennessee. In 2013, the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System reported that arson was responsible for $7,711,453 in damage, seven deaths and 18 injuries, including three firefighter injuries.
The 2014 Arson Awareness Week theme is “Vehicle Arson - A Combustible Crime.” Vehicular arson is becoming more prevalent across the country. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that vehicle arson results in an average of 32 civilian deaths, 67 civilian injuries, and $176 million in direct property damage. From 2008-2010, 14 percent of all fires were vehicle fires. Of these fires, 7 percent were intentionally set.
Residents can support the efforts of state and local officials by taking the following steps to prevent vehicle arson:
· Park your car in a well-lit area.
· Use a secure parking lot for extended periods.
· Close all windows.
· Remove the key from the ignition.
· Always lock doors, trunk and tailgate.
· Use antitheft devices.
· Report abandoned cars to the police.
· Don’t leave valuables in plain sight.
· Use a recovery system, such as GPS or Lojack.
To learn more about Arson Awareness Week, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s website here: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/fireservice/prevention_education/strategies/arson/
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.