Arson Awareness Week in Michigan

Contact: Mario L. Morrow 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

May 1, 2008 - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has proclaimed May 4-10, 2008 as Arson Awareness Week in Michigan to increase awareness of the damage arson causes our communities. Deliberately set fires affect the entire community due to the costs of destruction of property creating loss of employment, loss of taxes and the cost of human lives.

During 2006, 31% of our fires are Arson or suspicious fires at a total of $229 million in direct property. The indirect costs to the community climb with increased insurance premiums, Firefighting, Emergency Medical Services and Law Enforcement costs, legal work and medical or mental health costs.

This year's theme focuses on novelty lighters and the danger these pose to our children. Toy like or novelty lighters have been responsible for injuries, deaths, and accidents across the nation. Children are attracted to novelty lighters because they look like toys, with visual effects, flashing lights, musical sounds, and toy like designs.

The fire service is well aware that most child-playing home fires are started with lighters or matches. Since 1994, the first year of the Consumer Product Safety Council's child-resistant lighter standard, these fires have consistently declined according to the National Fire Protection Association.

National Fire Incident Reporting for 2006 shows Michigan had 902 fires as the result of children playing. Of the fire service reports submitted, these fires caused injuries to nine citizens, two firefighters and death to three of our citizens.

"It is not enough to warn children of the dangers of these lighters. This legislation is necessary to protect children from the serious consequences of fire" said Andy Neumann, State Fire Marshal.

Additional information to share in your community is available at: http://www.theideabank.com/psa/NoveltyLightersTV.html

Read more Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth press releases