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For Immediate Release                                                         

May 1, 2014

Media Contact
James Palisi
Fire Marshal, Redwood City
650.780.7457
Email

2014 National Arson Awareness Week Kicks Off May 4th
The Redwood City-San Carlos Fire Department joins the U.S. Fire Administration’s national campaign that will focus on vehicle arson – a combustible crime – for this year’s campaign

Redwood City, Calif. – The Redwood City-San Carlos Fire Department joins the 2014 annual campaign, National Arson Awareness Week. Led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration, this year’s campaign kicks off on May 4, 2014 and ends May 10, 2014. The campaign focuses on the combustible crime of vehicle arson – a prevalent form of arson throughout our region that puts first responders at risk, causes property losses in the millions, and harms our environment. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, from 2007-2011, local fire departments responded to an average of 20,400 intentionally set vehicle fires “resulting in an average of 32 civilian deaths, 67 civilian injuries, and $176 million in direct property damage.” It is a serious crime that plagues communities throughout our region.
 
The Redwood City-San Carlos Fire Department is using this national campaign to educate residents to partner with the Redwood City team to reduce the number of vehicle arson incidents in the community. While the Fire Department, Police Department and San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office partner to aggressively investigate all car fires, Redwood City and the U.S. Fire Administration advises residents to be aware of their environment and practice the following tips.

  • Report abandoned vehicles to the Redwood City Police Department by accessing Redwood City’s free smart phone app, myRWC, or by calling 650.780.7150.
  • Report any suspicious activity.
  • Report any fire – including fire from cars – whether fully extinguished or not and no matter how “small” you think it is.
  • Park your car in a well-lit area, and use a secure parking lot for extended periods.
  • Close all windows, remove the key from the ignition, and always lock doors, trunk and tailgate.
  • Use antitheft devices.
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight.
  • Use a recovery system, such as GPS.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, car arson motives range from revenge, to concealing another crime, to curiosity. The Administration also notes that “excitement-motivated” arsonists set fires to seek attention, while others use car arson for insurance fraud.

“Vehicle arsons do occur in our community. In 2013, 23 such fires occurred in our jurisdiction,” states Jim Palisi, Redwood City Fire Marshal. “The Redwood City-San Carlos Fire Department along with local law enforcement agencies is working diligently to collectively gather evidence and solve vehicle arson crimes. But we need help. Residents can help by being our ‘eyes and ears’ in the community and adopting simple practices to make their car less ‘attractive’ to arsonists.”

Please contact the Redwood City Fire Department at 650.780.7400 for additional education on the devastating effects of vehicle arson and ways to prevent it.

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