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Archived News Release from 2008

For Immediate Release

Redwood City Joins with United States Fire Administration to Recognize 2008 Arson Awareness Week – May 4th - May 10th

Redwood City, CA - May 1 , 2008 - Each year, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) dedicates a week to promoting a national recognition, awareness, and understanding of one of our nation’s most dangerous and costly threats to people and property – arson. This year’s Arson Awareness theme is "Toy-like Lighters - Playing with Fire.”

Toy-like or novelty lighters are dangerous, particularly in the hands of children, and have been responsible for injuries, deaths and accidents across the nation. Children are attracted to novelty lighters because they look like toys. Many of these lighters look like animals, miniature cars, mobile phones, cameras, fishing lures, tape measures, drills, hammers, paint brushes, and other attractive items. Ironically there are even lighters that mimic a Dalmatian donning a fire helmet, a red fire truck, or a fire extinguisher.

National data shows that lighters play a role nearly equal to matches in residential child-play fires. When children set fires in the home, the most common area of fire origin is the bedroom, and the material ignited is often bedding, mattresses, or clothing.

Intentionally set fires are the major cause of dollar losses from fires and a leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. According to 2005 data, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates some 323,900 fires were intentionally set. In 2002, the NFPA estimates 13,900 child-playing structure fires were reported in the US, with associated losses of 210 deaths, 1,250 injuries, and $339 million in direct damages. Most child-playing home fires are started with lighters or matches.

 The community is urged to visit for information on “Toy-like Lighters-Playing with Fire.” The Redwood City Fire Department reminds the community that by working together with the City and with neighbors, everyone can help prevent arson of all types, and protect the safety of our community, property, and lives.

A great deal of information on home fire safety is available from the National Fire Prevention Association website, located at Here, there are guidelines for installing and maintaining smoke alarms, basic fire escape planning, tips for people living in apartment buildings, tips for older adults, and more. More information on how to make your home “fire-safe” can be obtained by contacting the Redwood City Fire Department at 650-780-7400 or visiting

Visit Redwood City’s award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Take a look at the variety of City webcams at, and subscribe to Redwood City’s email newsletter or other documents by visiting


Louis J. Vella
Administrative Chief/Fire Marshal


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