According to the 2006 data, "cooking fires" was the leading cause of all residential fires with arson as the second leading cause. The survey asked adults what the leading cause of all fires within the state was and they reported that "cigarettes" was the leading cause, "arson" was second, and "electrical" was third followed by "cooking" in last place. This showed that years of fire prevention efforts to increase knowledge of cooking fires have not been successful. This again increases the need for frequent and consistent fire prevention messages to our public.
When you speak to the citizens of your community this year, let them know that the fire investigation is where majority of the information on our fire problem comes from. If a proper fire investigation is conducted and the findings are reported completely, you will be able to see the fire problem within your area and in the U.S.A. Also let them know that arson is one of the leading causes of all fires in residential occupancies and the leading cause of commercial property fires according to the USFA. But more importantly, let them know that arson is a concern for your fire department and that it is a great risk to the community.
We can make a difference if the fire service joins together to fight one of the biggest battles we have.
JERRY STREICH is a 20-year fire service veteran and currently serves as Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal in Minnesota. Jerry is a Certified Fire Investigator and experience and diverse training from the National Fire Academy, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the Division of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Streich is a Director for the Minnesota Chapter IAAI and Chairman of the Arson Awareness Committee. To read Jerry's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here. You can reach Jerry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.