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Maryland State Fire Marshal

News Release Martin O’Malley Governor

William E. Barnard State Fire Marshal


PIKESVILLE, MD (May 3, 2012) – Governor Martin O’Malley along with the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the U. S. Fire Administration (USFA) have teamed up this year to promote arson awareness around Maryland. May 6 – 12, 2012 has been designated National Arson Awareness Week to raise consciousness of this most costly of all fires and illustrate the steps that are being taken to combat it. This year’s theme is: “Prevent Youth Firesetting.” According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fires started by children accounted for an average of 56,300 fires annually with an associated loss of 110 civilian deaths, 880 civilian injuries, and $286 million in direct property damage between years 2005 – 2009. In Maryland, during 2010, there were 430 arson arrests in the State. Juveniles under the age of 18 accounted for 167 of those arrests. Younger children are more likely to set fires in homes, while older children and teenagers are more likely to set fires outside. Lighters were the heat source in half (50 percent) of child-playing fires in homes. Juvenile Firesetter Programs offer intervention services to address behavior through the fire service, mental health programs, social services and the juvenile justice system. Page 1 of 3

State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard recommends: •

Never leave matches or lighters within reach of children. Keep matches and lighters out of reach in high, locked cabinets.

Praise your child for practicing responsible behavior and showing respect for fire.

“If we expect to effectively address juvenile firesetting behavior, we must first act responsibly when handling fire around our children,” stated Fire Marshal Barnard. “Additionally, we should teach children that fire is a tool, not a toy and to ask an adult if they have any questions about fire safety”.

(See attached Proclamation on page 3).


Media contact: Bruce D. Bouch, Deputy State Fire Marshal; 443-324-6876 The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering. For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto our website at: and/or follow us on Facebook under “Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal”.

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2012-05-03 Statewide Arson Awareness Week