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Detecting Arson - What the Fire Fighter Should Do

NCJ Number
C G King
Date Published
15 pages
This guide is designed to help fire service personnel integrate an arson awareness and reporting system into their firefighting responsibilities.
Proper implementation of this early arson awareness system will create an interdependence between firefighters and arson investigators that will result in improved methods of arson detection, higher quality investigations, improved arson arrest and prosecution rates, reduced property damage, and an increase in lives saved. Responsibility for early arson awareness and for an early arson awareness report should be assigned to the engine comnpany officer. The six major elements of a successful early arson awareness program include observations of the nature and extent of the fire, of weather conditions, of persons and automobiles, how entry was made and by whom, and of the building interior; and preservation of evidence. Arson investigators must be notified by fire service personnel as soon as suspicious circumstances are detected. Technical assistance sources, other resources, and a sample early arson awareness report are supplied.