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CFO Jeff Atwater Recognizes Arson Awareness Week

5/3/2011

TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater is encouraging Floridians to take time to recognize and honor their local firefighters during Arson Awareness Week, which continues through Saturday, May 7. 
 
“Every time a firefighter jumps on the fire truck to respond to an alarm, they knowingly risk their own lives to protect ours, and when it is an act of arson, someone knowingly puts them at risk,” said CFO Atwater.  “We owe them our deepest gratitude for their courageous service, and we can best do that by understanding how often arson occurs and reporting it when we suspect it.”
 
In 2010, the State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated 1,696 arson cases and made 505 arson-related arrests. This year, the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention, which the State Fire Marshal’s Office participates in, doubled the reward it offers for tips leading to an arson arrest and conviction from $2,500 to $5,000.
 
Arson Awareness Week is part of a nationwide initiative by the United States Fire Administration (USFA) partnering with, International Association of Arson Investigators, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), USAonWatch, National Association of State Fire Marshals, National Volunteer Fire Council, and the Insurance Committee for Arson Control to educate the public on the important role of community arson awareness and how it can and does play an important role preventing this dangerous crime.
 
Florida firefighters also use this week to fight another real danger, muscular dystrophy.  In weeks leading up to Arson Awareness Week, firefighters participate in their annual “Fill the Boot” campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  To date, the International Association of Firefighters has raised more than $435 million for the MDA, making them MDA’s largest source of funding in the United States. 
 
For more information about Arson Awareness Week 2011, visit the USFA website at www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/subjects/arson/arson_awareness.shtm.
 
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services including the Division of Insurance Fraud. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. CFO Atwater also serves as the State Fire Marshal.