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CFO and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater Recognizes Arson Awareness Week

5/7/2012

Contact: Alexis Lambert or Deborah Cox
(850) 413-2842
  
TALLAHASSEE—
Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today recognized May 6-12, 2012, as Arson Awareness Week. The theme of the week is Prevent Youth Fire Setting. Between 2005 and 2009, fires started by children accounted for an average of 56,300 fires, the loss of 110 civilian lives, 880 civilian injuries and $286 million in direct property damage per year in the United States.

“Arson is a serious crime that puts lives at risk. It is truly tragic when a juvenile chooses to commit arson or any other crime, forever changing his or her life’s course,” CFO Atwater said. “Raising awareness through initiatives like this helps prevent these crimes, helps juveniles understand the dangers of fire and stay on the path to becoming upstanding and productive citizens.”

In 2011, the State Fire Marshal’s Office made 316 arson-related arrests. Of those cases, 77 were criminal arson cases involving juveniles which resulted in 126 juvenile arrests.

Arson Awareness Week is part of a nationwide initiative by the United States Fire Administration (USFA) partnering with, the 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. The purpose is 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.

For more information about Arson Awareness Week 2012, visit the USFA website at http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/subjects/arson/arson_awareness.shtm. 
 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  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.