Arson Awareness Week this year focuses on the importance of a collaborative effort between fire departments and other agencies to help reduce the occurrence of children playing with fire.
This year's theme -- "Prevent Youth Firesetting," which runs from May 6-12 -- encourages fire and emergency service departments, law enforcement, mental health, social services, schools and juvenile justice agencies to work together.
Fires started by children playing accounted for an average of 56,300 fires with associated losses of 110 civilian deaths, 880 civilian injuries, and $286 million in direct property damage per year between 2005 and 2009, according to the NFPA.
"Fire in the hands of children is devastating -- regardless of a child's age or motive," U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell Jr. said in a statement. "It is imperative that we do everything possible to prevent youth firesetting to protect the nation's most valuable resource, our children."
The USFA, International Association of Arson Investigators, Safe Kids USA, USAonWatch, the NVFC and the National Association of State Fire Marshals have teamed up to promote the initiative nationwide.
Resources for Fire Departments:
For more information on Arson Awareness Week, click here.